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The Most Dangerous Enemy: Introduction

April 3, 2011

I am currently reading Stephen Bungay’s history of the Battle of Britain, The Most Dangerous Enemy. I plan on doing a chapter-by-chapter review of the book.

I had picked up this book on sale, and even before I begun reading, I had heard some unkind words on it from the well respected war-game designer Lee Brimmicombe-Wood.

I am reading this book with an open mind, so I will see if Lee’s harsh words are called for. Currently I have reached chapter 10, and Lee seems to have a point.

The introduction sees Stephen Bungay setting out his goals for the book. He contrasts the style of the early histories of the Battle of Britain, with their myths of Britain’s lonely stand, saved by the valor of the few, with later debunkers who in his opinion swing the other way. Mr. Bungay promises to stick to the facts and let a narrative form on its own.

These last remarks filled me with dread, as it seems that despite his insistence on facts, Mr. Bungay is set on creating a narrative. This does not bode well. That he ends the introduction by promising us that the  history of the Battle of Britain will affirm some Western values does nothing to decrease this mounting dread.

As said, I’ve read a bit ahead already, but I hope to post my chapter reviews fast enough to catch up, especially as I don’t think to get a lot of reading done the coming week

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