Andrew Stewart. A Very British Experience: Coalition, Defence and Strategy in the Second World War. Eastbourne: Sussex Academic Press, 2012. ix + 247 pp. Illustrations. $74.95 (cloth), ISBN 978-1-84519-439-0.
Reviewed by Douglas Delaney (Royal Military College of Canada)
Published on H-War (March, 2013)
Commissioned by Margaret Sankey
Episodes in British Strategy, 1939-1945
A Very British Experience: Coalition, Defence and Strategy in the Second World War is a fascinating collection of essays from an author well versed in the strategies (and grand strategy) of Britain and its empire during the great global struggle of 1939-45. In chapters dealing with the British Empire Air Training Scheme, the preparations for home defense, the East African Campaign of 1940-41, British generalship in the Western Desert, the rocky relationship with Australia during the Japanese Southeast Asian offensives of 1941-42, the difficulties of the alliance with the United Sates, the political repercussions of the June 1942 fall of Tobruk, and the Royal Navy’s expedient development of a naval base at Mombasa during 1942, Andrew Stewart teases out four prominent themes: the importance of coalitions in British grand strategy, the prominence of Africa in the overall British war effort, the 1940 decision to fight on, and the centrality of Winston Churchill in all strategic undertakings. Ctd....
Attrition, the strategy that dares not speak its name.