Dunkirk: The Complete Story of the First Step in the Defeat of Hitler

Norman Gelb, Author
Norman Gelb, Author William Morrow & Company $22.95 (352p) ISBN 978-0-688-07793-8
Reviewed on: 09/01/1989
Release date: 09/01/1989
In May of 1940, in the midst of World War II, the Germans very nearly destroyed the British Expeditionary Force stationed at the French port of Dunkirk--and probably would have succeeded had Hitler, worried about lengthening supply lines, not called a temporary halt on the morning of May 24. This fortuitous event became popularly known as the first ``miracle'' of Dunkirk. Following it in quick succession was the second ``miracle'': an impromptu, heroic effort called Operation Dynamo, in which a motley armada of pleasure steamers, coal barges, fishing boats, yachts and motorboats was marshalled and, in a 10-day ferrying feat back and forth across the English Channel, brought home some 350,000 soldiers who most likely would have been captured or killed when the Germans eventually closed in with ground troops and air forces. The story of the rescue is told in vivid detail by Gelb ( The Berlin Wall ), who also provides the political and strategic contexts of this major turning point in the war. Photos. (Sept.)
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