Imagine you are staying in a luxury hotel in the Lake District of northern England in the middle of winter. You have just enjoyed an excellent dinner, and have now repaired to the lounge where you are enjoying coffee and brandy in over-stuffed chairs by a roaring fire. Your charming and entertaining dinner host now tells you the story of his experience, and those of the principle characters in England during 1940 and the start of World War II.
That is Michael Korda’s book in a nutshell.
Alone, is a superb example of narrative history at its best. It is written by a professional who has written 19 books, some of them best sellers, and has published thousands more. For 48 years he worked as an editor for Simon and Schuster ending up as Editor in Chief.
Most authors who write narrative history do so from their own perspective. Not so Korda. He came from an unashamed privileged background, but his work encompasses all classes and conditions in a non-judgmental appraisal. He is generous in his praise and honest in his critique. Nobody is left out. From the infantry soldier to the Cabinet Minister from the aircraft engine fitters to Kings, all are included.
Tough little Britain standing alone against the martial might of Nazi Germany is a well-worn story, but Korda tells it from a new perspective and I highly recommend it be read at least once – and maybe read again.