"Dunkirk, Retreat to Victory" by Maj.Gen. Julian Thompson

Discussion in '1940' started by CROONAERT, Jul 10, 2008.


    CROONAERT Ipsissimus

    Just bought this with the intention of it being part of my "holiday reading" in a few weeks time.

    Couldn't resist a peek at the chapters covering my specific interest - wish I hadn't bothered now...at just a glance, I noticed facts at total odds with primary sources, the occasional "strange" reference, units placed in the wrong places at the wrong times, over-simplification of events and glaring omissions of unit actions and movements leading to a slightly disjointed picture of events. (Also, it has the "rather run of the mill" maps which I find a little boring now - the same ones (albeit with minor differences) appear again and again in other publications. None have enough detail!)

    What worries me is that, if such events occur in the chapter that I do know quite a bit about, how do I take the chapters where my knowledge is lesser?

    Anyone else read it, and what did you think?

  2. airborne medic

    airborne medic Very Senior Member


    Who's published it? I know Mr Thompson's done a few books in conjunction with the IWM.....regret not seen it yet.....his book on the Parachute Regiment in WW2 was fairly accurate if it helps....but I think the main problem these days is that most books are not proof read for facts just the 'English'......
  3. Rich Payne

    Rich Payne Rivet Counter Patron 1940 Obsessive


    CROONAERT Ipsissimus

    Who's published it?

    Sidgwick & Jackson.


    CROONAERT Ipsissimus

  6. Owen

    Owen -- --- -.. MOD

    I saw it in Smiths a few weeks ago, picked it up, looked at it for all of 5 seconds and put it back.
    Nothing about it grabbed my attention.
  7. Tom Canning

    Tom Canning WW2 Veteran WW2 Veteran

    Croonaert -
    doesn't surprise me as many - not most - American books lately are written with Hollywood in mind as that is where the big money is - bought a book by a well publicised Canadian author on the Gothic Line to find it was a 'lift' of mainly the Official Report on the campaign in Italy - maps an' all - but went purple at the fictionalised version of the death of both my Troop leader and Tank commanders - called the author and gave him both barrels - and he promised to re write on the second printing - fat chance of that !
  8. Harry Ree

    Harry Ree Very Senior Member

    History is not like any mathematical equation.No one has yet to challenge the proving of say,the Pythagoras Theorem.History is different,"the past is a foreign country"and not everyone is comfortable with the unearthing of the facts of the matter and the emergence of truth.

    History is always subject to review depending on the agenda of the individual "historian" and the availability of new information and the varing political perspectives.History, therefore has been defined, quiet rightly, in my opinion as "an argument without end"

    The individual can test the recording of history from their own experiences.Often a veteran will recall that his experience of the battlefield or an engagement was entirely different to that recorded by "brand personalities" and on a personal level it is easy to remember the account of the passage of business being somewhat different to to what the person experienced. I should also say that official accounts can also be challenged by those who were there.

    Official histories are the account of past events which should be acknowleged as being near the truth.However as all facets of communication,including those outside military history, those who commissioned these accounts are seldom portrayed in poor light.

    Distortion for entertainment is the enemy of history and truth. Some may look back to the wartime film showing US forces winning the war in Burma.There are countless others which can be brought to mind and are confusing to people who take the communication on face value.

    Regarding "brand personalities" writing history, I'm afraid my first assessment is what I personally feel about the person.If the brand is known to be reliable then I will look further but a publication which has a number of reviewers should normally give a good insight to the quality of the history being covered or dare I say it, rewritten.

    Regarding the defeat at Dunkirk and that at Singapore,I do not think that there has been an Official History published by any British Government.

    CROONAERT Ipsissimus

    History is always subject to review depending on the agenda of the individual "historian" and the availability of new information and the varing political perspectives..

    But I don't think it's any particular view or "agenda" that has affected this particular book. There are very basic factual errors which are factual beyond dispute - for example, one particular unit which is mentioned as being under fire in France at the end of May 1940 was actually in Hong Kong at the time - and it's that which bothers me. Personally, I like to read varying views on history because it's doing just that that aids me in making my own mind up about what happened. The problem here, I think, is that history hasn't come under any particular new review - it's just old hat with new errors!:D


Share This Page