Engage the Enemy More Closely: The Royal Navy in the Second World War

Correlli Barnett, Author
Correlli Barnett, Author W. W. Norton & Company $39.95 (1052p) ISBN 978-0-393-02918-5
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This masterful, engrossing work tells of the British Royal Navy's operations and command decisions throughout ``the hardest war of its four centuries of history.'' Barnett's analytical narrative devotes attention to Prime Minister Winston Churchill's efforts during the early years ``to keep the war ablaze so that America would believe Britain's cause worth backing.'' Barnett shows how, after the U.S. entered the war, the Western Allies developed and carried out their grand strategy in such a manner that sea power became ``the midwife of victory on land.'' Barnett ( The Desert Generals ) is controversially critical, however, of Churchill's direct intervention in naval campaigns, his pursuit of ``strategic fantasies'' such as the 1940 Norway campaign and his concentration on the Mediterranean as a theater of operations. This is a first-rate history of the war from a perspective unfamiliar to American readers; it also introduces important wartime British military leaders such as Admiral B. H. Ramsay, who commanded the 1940 Dunkirk evacuation and the Allied naval force in the 1944 D-day landings. Photos. (June)
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