Here is the many-faceted, world-historically significant story of Britain at war. In looking closely at the military and political dimensions of the conflict's first crucial years, Alan Allport tackles pressing questions such as whether the war could have been avoided, how it could have been lost, how well the British lived up to their own values, and ultimately, what difference the war made to the fate of the nation. In answering these questions, he reexamines our assumptions and paints a vivid portrait of the ways in which the Second World War transformed British culture and society. This bracing account draws on a lively cast of characters--from the political and military leaders who made the decisions, to the ordinary citizens who lived through them--in a comprehensible and compelling single history of forty-six million people. A sweeping and groundbreaking epic, Britain at Bay gives us a fresh look at the opening years of the war, and illuminates the integral moments that, for better or for worse, made Britain what it is today.