Thursday, 23 June 2011
Dunkirk - A History of World War 2 Ray Harris Junior
I am rapidly getting hooked on this podcast. As a Briton the story of Dunkirk is so familiar I did consider skipping this episode and the next one. I am glad I didn't. One misgiving I had was justified. I am not just British, I am from the south east corner of England and I know the area of north east France and Belgium quite well too. As I expected, a lot of place names came out in weird ways. But to be fair, that was only a minor gripe and I doubt it will bother many people. In fact it showed up something that Ray Harris does exceptionally well. Most of us listen to podcasts when we are driving or doing something else that leaves our minds free but our hands busy. So conveying geography is a bit of a problem. The usual solution is 'I've put a map on my website' - but of course you aren't on the website when you want to know where things are!
Although I have a bit of an advantage in knowing the terrain being discussed pretty well, I think Ray does a great job of describing where all the armies are and the significance of the movements. He couples that with integrating the political goings on and the individual roles of particular key players. It never becomes pure military history.
This all goes to capture the full drama of what was going on and to keep you on the edge of your seat even if like me you have heard the story quite often before. Highly recommended.