‘Dunkirk’ by A.D. Divine

Genre: Military History

A.D. Divine was the commander of one of the ‘Little Ships’ that was so crucial to the evacuation of Dunkirk. David Divine is also the journalist and writer to tell more about the patriotic legend of Dunkirk than any other writer- writing both non fiction and fictionalized versions of the event.

Of the 338 000 people who were rescued during the Dunkirk evacuation, the Little Ships was responsible for saving 90 000.

Divine was concerned that the history of Dunkirk would be based only on the Admiralty logs- those of the destroyers and minesweepers. The Little Ships seldom had time to fill out their logs as they rushed back and forth across the Channel, but Divine was determined that the part they played would not be forgotten.

So, together with J.D. Casswell, K.C., he gathered together the accounts of the voyages of the Little Ships, creating an oral history of the nine days of the evacuation.

The history of Dunkirk can retold as a tragedy or as a triumph. Churchill, when addressing the House of Commons somehow managed to described it as both. It’s interesting to gage what sort of journalist Divine is, for he was frightfully patriotic described as ‘one of the great generations of journalists from the outer reaches of the British Empire’ but also earned a reputation for giving credit where credit was due.

In his book, Divine says that there is in the story of the British retreat at Dunkirk a saga of heroism and self-denial that will one day receive its full meed of praise. Divine’s story was inspiration for the Christopher Nolan 2017 film, it provided true-life stories for the film.

There has been a lot of media attention about Dunkirk recently due to the Christopher Nolan film and also the recent film ‘The Darkest Hour’ starring Gary Oldman. This book is a good introduction into this part of history but do be mindful…it can drag on!


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