Dunkirk Evacuation Operation Dynamo – Nine Days That Saved an Army

Dunkirk Evacuation Operation Dynamo – Nine Days That Saved an Army

John Grehan & Alexander Nicholl
ARRSE Rating
3 Mushroom Heads
Dunkirk is a campaign which has been so well covered it’s hard to know what new there is to write about it within the realms of sanity and reality. Indeed, I have seven books specifically about Dunkirk on my shelves, with at least double that number covering it in passing. This book is part of the well established “Images of War” series, giving a pictorial record of the Army on the beaches, the Naval and civilian ships, and in part the air component between 26th May and 3rd June 1940. It’s a 10” by 8” paperback printed on good quality paper, contains over 400 pictures in its166 pages, generally three pictures on each to page spread. The collection of black and white photos are each notarised with fairly informative captions of varying length between a line and several paragraphs.

Starting with a brief introduction setting the scene, there follows a chapter for each of the nine days of the evacuation, rounded off with a chapter on the aftermath. Whilst there are a number of well-known, and in some cases iconic photographs included, there are also a remarkable number which I’ve never seen before, particularly regarding the ships lost (some actually showing them sinking). It’s an impressive collection of images.

Unfortunately there are also a few howlers. In the introduction, the authors have muddled pictures of Generals Gort and Alan Brook; admittedly they don’t look dissimilar, but even so, in a photo history book that’s a very basic no-no. Also interspersed with the actual photos are several stills from the 1958 film, which whilst quite realistic, add nothing to the historical record. It would be easy to confuse historical images with the cinematography, and this does the authors no credit. Despite these faux pas, overall this is a well assembled pictorial record of a critical operation with a wide and original selection of pictures, and is worth getting hold of. At a cover price of £15.99, you really need to be an enthusiast though.

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