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The Battle of Britain

Narrated by: Al Murray
Length: 23 hrs and 25 mins
Categories: History, Europe
4.8 out of 5 stars (26 ratings)

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Publisher's Summary

Brought to you by Penguin.

This audio edition includes an exclusive Q&A between James Holland and Al Murray. 

'If Hitler fails to invade or destroy Britain, he has lost the war,' Churchill said in the summer of 1940. He was right. The Battle of Britain was a crucial turning point in the history of the Second World War. Had Britain's defences collapsed, Hitler would have dominated all of Europe and been able to turn his full attention east to the Soviet Union. 

The German invasion of France and the Low Countries in May 1940 was unlike any the world had ever seen. It hit with a force and aggression that no-one could counter and in just a few short weeks, all in their way crumbled under the force of the Nazi hammer blow. With France facing defeat and with British forces pressed back to the Channel, there were few who believed Britain could possibly survive. Soon, it seemed, Hitler would have all of Europe at his feet.

Yet Hitler's forces were not quite the Goliath they at first seemed, while her leadership lacked the single-minded purpose, vision and direction that had led to such success on land. Nor was Britain any David. Thanks to a sophisticated defensive system and the combined efforts of the RAF, Royal Navy as well as the mounting sense of collective defiance led by a new Prime Minister, Britain was not ready to roll over just yet.

From clashes between coastal convoys and Schnellboote in the Channel to astonishing last stands in Flanders and from the slaughter by the U-boats in the icy Atlantic to the dramatic aerial battles over England, The Battle of Britain tells this most epic of stories from all sides, drawing on extensive new research from around the world. In so doing, it paints a complete picture of that extraordinary summer - a time in which the fate of the world truly hung by a thread.

©2020 James Holland (P)2020 Penguin Audio

What listeners say about The Battle of Britain

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AMAZING - A must read for any war/warbird lover

As a war history lover (ex tourguide at Australian War Memorial), Spitfire lover and flying nerd (trainee pilot) this book ticked every box and more. It goes into amazing detail about the setting of WW2, the strategies, the technology, the manufacture and war effort, the training and interviews this amazing personal accounts and 30,000ft strategy. The author has an amazing skill of being able to sit you in the cockpit and even feel the addrenaline these amazing pilots would have felt. The descriptions of flying are truly amazing amd realistic. I can not recommend this book enough. On top of all this the narrator is by far my most favourite of any audio book Ive listened to..and that makes a massive difference. Its almost as if he has time travelled and is telling you his own accounts. I couldnt get enough and have started listening again. Well done gentleman.

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Al Murray is awesome - and the story is ok too!

Great look under the hood of an epic historic event. Bloody well read as well. They even squeeze in the operational, strategic and tactical discussion. Classic Murray and Holland! Get around it.

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  • Ian David Williamson
  • 20-05-2020

Not the usual Battle of Britain narrative.

When I bought this book I assumed it would be a new view of the air war over Britain in the summer of 1940. I was surprised when the book stared before the invasion of France. When the author started discussing Fall Gelb and building of U-Boats I almost gave it up. I didn't and I am very glad I persevered and I strongly recommend you do too. This is one of the few books I have read which puts into context the air battle and clearly shows that although The Few were rightly lauded for their achievements, the rest of the RAF, the RN, the Army and the much of the population were involved in the Battle for Britain. There are many books that give personal accounts of the pilots, some that give the strategic overview and tactics employed by both sides but there are few that encompass all aspects from both sides and give a clear picture of the Battle of Britain within the panorama of World War 2.

15 people found this helpful

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  • Anonymous User
  • 30-05-2020

A winning combination!

I was a bit skeptical when I first realized that this book was being narrated by someone who is described on the Internet as a comedian but it soon becomes apparent, especially when listening to the chat with James at the end that this is a winning combination of an exceptionally good writer with a committed and genuinely interested narrator. If you keep producing them I will keep buying them if this is anything to go by. Well done chaps!

6 people found this helpful

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  • Trevor Mitchell
  • 22-05-2020

A superbly narrated and fascinating audiobook

Al Murray's enthusiasm and affinity with this subject is evident throughout his narration of James Holland's fascinating, in depth account of the momentous events of 1940. His conversation with the author at the end is a real bonus too, making this one of the most enjoyable audiobooks in my collection. If you are looking for an in depth history, not just a description of the air battles, then I would highly recommend it. I was left with a clearer understanding of not just the Battle of Britain, but the important events leading up to it. The gripping personal accounts from either side give a vivid impression of what it was like to live through, from the perspective of everyone from the ordinary civilian up to the political and military leaders, as well as the soldiers, sailors and airmen. Superb!

4 people found this helpful

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  • neil
  • 22-05-2020

the battle of Britain By James Holland

it's the best I've ever heard,loved every second of it, James Holland at his best for sure

4 people found this helpful

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  • scrappy coco
  • 07-05-2020

Political diatribe been done to death

Pre ordered this several months ago. Sadly not what i was looking for The familiar run up too the second world war from aporox 1936 lots of info on Hitlers huge study and the planing of fhe 3rd Reich. Felt like a o level school history book on ww2. Very little to do with actual squadrons and pilots, plotters and all those who took part The book title is sadly misleading and very much civered time and time again. Very dissatisfied

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  • Craig
  • 28-06-2020

Utterly Superb

The book shows both sides, living the conflict from both British and German viewpoints. From pilots, political leaders and members of the public. A simple idea but a brilliant idea that drags you into the narrative. The detail is immense, the drama feels real and the overall feeling is that of just how lucky the entire world was, not just Britain, that we prevailed in 1940. The narrative swings from factual detail to hugely emotional moments. Al Murray the perfect foil. As Churchill said, never has so much........

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  • Nick Le Huray
  • 22-06-2020

Absolutely brilliant

Having read a lot about the Battle of Britain this was a great audio book and very engaging. As with all of James Holland's books it is fascinating. Al Murray is excellent narrator.

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  • Russ
  • 01-06-2020

Another stunner from Holland

A new look at the BOB, in a depth and breadth never before achieved. Starting with the German invasion on 10 May and ending in Nov 1940. The reading by Murray is so much better than Sackville's effort for the same author in Normandy 44. Murray understands the subject and doesn't go for the silly accents as Sackville did. Holland's style of a wide history with personal accounts from both sides with the usual chapter on the technical aspects and new material from deep research sheds new light on a oft examined subject, close to the heart of many a small boy from the late 1960's who had just seen the epic Battle of Britain at the cinema. Recommended. Burma next, in no little part thanks to the 10minutes at the end of the last chapter of this offering.

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  • Amazon Customer
  • 29-05-2020

The perfect combination

James Hollands writing and and Al Murrays reading It just works. Deeply researched and perfectly presented. Get this

2 people found this helpful

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  • Anonymous User
  • 25-05-2020

Superb!

Very interesting to fit the Battle of Britain into the overall situation at the time. Brilliantly read by Al Murray with his knowledge and interest of the subject really showing through. Thoroughly recommend, a superb book by James Holland. Only very minor comment would be there’s some confusion over positive and negative G in the narrative.

2 people found this helpful