We all know that the time before we were born was a golden age when men were manlier, women lovelier, civilisation more civilised, culture more edifying, values more valued and so on. But what if it isn’t actually true?
What if, say, it turned out that Winston Churchill was damn near as slippery and unprincipled a politician as David Cameron? What if the Battle of Britain wasn’t actually won by ‘the Few’ — and wasn’t even primarily a fighter battle anyway? What if, damn it, the famously long hot summer of 1940 was in fact mostly overcast with just a hot bit right at the end in September? What if our radar technology really wasn’t that early or special? What if that famous Low cartoon — ‘Very well then, alone’ — was a joke, given that, even before America joined the party, we had an empire of 500 million on our side?
This is the problem I’m having reading The Many Not The Few, Richard North’s revisionist history of the Battle of Britain.
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