by Brooke C. Stoddard
Washington: Potomac Books, 2011. Pp. xiii, 254.
Illus., notes, biblio., index. $29.95. ISBN: 978-1-59797-516-2
In World in the Balance, Brooke C. Stoddard,former editor of Military Heritage, takes a fresh look at the desperate months from Dunquerque and the Fall of France to the defeat of the Luftwaffe over Britain and Hitler’s decision to abandon Operation Sealion.
Although the story of “Their Finest Hour” has been told, and well told, before, its intricate complexities, high drama, and enormous importance are such that Stoddard is able break new ground by exploring some hitherto obscure aspects of the great crisis. He looks at secret negotiations among the English, French, Germans, Spanish, Italians, Poles, Irish, Soviets, and, of course, Americans, in various combinations, and provides a discussion of the long-term origins of radar, centralized air combat control, code-breaking, and other technologies and techniques that were vital to British success in the air war. Stoddard also gives us looks at many interesting people, from Churchill and Hitler, through some well-known secondary figures such as Jodl, Somerville, Darlan, Franco, and Dowding, to obscure inventors, bureaucrats, politicians, and warriors who contributed in many small ways to the overall outcome.
A good read for those interested in the war in Europe.