FIGHTING THE PEOPLE'S WAR, the British and Commonwealth armies and the Second World War

: Fennell (J.)

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932pp., illus., maps, paperback, Cambridge, 2019


A history of the 'citizen armies' of  the United Kingdom, South Africa, Australia, Canada, India and New Zealand in the Second World War.

"Indispensable for understanding both World War II and the modern British experience. Fennell's major contribution integrates three themes usually compartmentalized. Its base is the analysis of Britain's development of an army able to fight and win a global war. That costly achievement both fostered and depended on growing cohesion within the participating societies. Wartime cohesion and comradeship in turn brought classes together in the postwar 'quiet revolution' that ended the Empire and redefined the Commonwealth." Dennis Showalter, author of Hitler's Panzers: the lightning attacks that revolutionized warfare

"This is a hugely impressive, sweepingly ambitious book which brings together the military histories of all the British Commonwealth nations for the first time. It asks vital questions about the relationship between wartime experience, society, and politics in a unique transnational way. A remarkable and valuable achievement." Alan Allport, author of Browned Off and Bloody-Minded: the British soldier goes to war 1939-1945

Jonathan Fennell is Senior Lecturer at the Defence Studies Department at King's College, London. He is a Director of the Sir Michael Howard Centre for the History of War and Director and Co-Founder of the Second World War Research Group. He is the author of Combat and Morale in the North African Campaign.