The British Soldier of the Second World War
ISBN: 978 0 7478 0741 4
Contributor: C. Peter Chen
Review Date: 3 Jun 2010
Perhaps because the British Army was not the first Allied force to see combat in WW2 (the Chinese Army had been fighting since Jul 1937) nor the first to fight in Europe (Polish Army, since Sep 1939), adding the fact that WW2 marked the dusk of the British Empire and the dawn of the American successor, the British soldier remained a somewhat under-written topic outside of the United Kingdom itself. This was unjust, of course, as through the battles in Norway, France, North Africa, Malaya, Burma, and back onto continental Europe, the British soldier had seen his share of both pride and shame, both victory and defeat, and in all cases a significant role in WW2.
That said, Peter Doyle's The British Soldier of the Second World War was too small to comprehensively address a topic as wide as the British soldier. Nevertheless, he did an excellent job in describing the uniform, the equipment, and the psyche of the WW2-era British soldier despite the book's size limitation. He told the story of the British soldier not only through text but also through a nice collection of photographs; I was not certain of the rarity of some of the photographs included, but I must say that I had not seen many of the them previously.
The author also included many "One Man's War" segments that told stories of individual British soldiers. They were welcome additions to the book as they stressed the focus of the book on the individual soldiers in the British Army during this period. One of such brief biographies was one of Private Leslie Doyle, whose experience in a German prisoner of war camp had been told in another of the author's books, Prisoner of War in Germany. Private Doyle's "One Man's War" entry in this book, like all the others, provided a face to what would be otherwise anonymous British Army.
Despite the small size and the cursory discussion on the topic, the book was still an enjoyable read. I would say that it would serve as a wonderful starting point to learn about the individual British soldier; for those who wished to dive a little bit deeper, however, this title might prove to be a little lacking.
Back to Main | Back to Book Reviews Index
Did you enjoy this article? Please consider supporting us on Patreon. Even $1 per month will go a long way! Thank you.
Share this article with your friends:
Stay updated with WW2DB:
A review copy or review sample of this product was provided by the publisher or vendor to WW2DB; opinions expressed in this review are not influenced by this fact.
- » 1,072 biographies
- » 331 events
- » 37,227 timeline entries
- » 1,057 ships
- » 334 aircraft models
- » 186 vehicle models
- » 347 weapon models
- » 105 historical documents
- » 210 facilities
- » 463 book reviews
- » 26,285 photos
- » 314 maps
Captain Henry P. Jim Crowe, Guadalcanal, 13 Jan 1943