Those of us born after the end of WWII have no idea just how close we were to losing, especially in the early weeks and months. Michael Dobbs captures this perfectly interweaving the capricious US Ambassador, the too clever politicians and the ordinary men who just got on with the job with the astonishing mix that was Winston Churchill. I found it compelling reading for the subject matter but also for the pace and depth of character which Dobbs gives to his readers.
There is a scene of the greatest possible depth on the beach at Dunkirk where the father of one of the main characters has gone over with one of the little boats; he is a priest who has lost his way. He finds it in the need for spiritual support that shouts out from the thousands of stranded soldiers. It is Sunday and he begins to say prayers and lead hymns at the behest of those around him. 'Can we take Communion' one of them asked. Henry Chichester at first objected that he had no bread or wine, but then hunted round for what there was: cognac and chocolate. He rediscovered his faith by seeing the faith others placed in him.