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Leo McKinstry - Author

About the Author

Leo McKinstry writes regularly for the Daily Mail, Sunday Telegraph and Spectator. He has also written several books, including a study of the Labour Party and a bestselling biography of the footballing Charlton brothers. Born in Belfast he was educated in Ireland and at Cambridge University.

Featured books by Leo McKinstry

Operation Sealion How Britain Crushed the German War Machine's Dreams of Invasion in 1940

Operation Sealion How Britain Crushed the German War Machine's Dreams of Invasion in 1940

Author: Leo McKinstry Format: Hardback Release Date: 14/08/2014

In the summer of 1940, the Nazi war machine was at its zenith. France, Denmark, Norway and the Low Countries were all under occupation after a series of lightning military campaigns. Only Britain stood in the way of the complete triumph of Nazi tyranny. But for the first time in the war, Hitler did not prevail. The traditional narrative of 1940 holds that Britain was only saved from German conquest by the pluck of RAF Fighter Command during the Battle of Britain. The image of Dad's Army recruits training with broomsticks is a classic symbol of the nation's supposed desperation in the face of the threat from Operation Sealion, as the German plan for invasion was code-named. Yet as Leo McKinstry details, the British were far more ruthless and proficient than is usually recognised. The brilliance of the RAF was not an exception but part of a pattern of magnificent organisation. In almost every sphere of action, such as the destruction of the French naval fleet or the capture of German spies, Britain's approach reflected an uncompromising spirit of purpose and resolution. Using a wealth of primary materials from both British and German archives, Leo McKinstry provides a ground-breaking new assessment of the six fateful months in mid-1940, beginning with Winston Churchill's accession to power in May and culminating in Germany's abandonment of Operation Sealion.

Other books by Leo McKinstry

Rosebery Statesman in Turmoil

Rosebery Statesman in Turmoil

Author: Leo McKinstry Format: Paperback Release Date: 22/05/2017

Operation Sealion How Britain Crushed the German War Machine's Dreams of Invasion in 1940

Operation Sealion How Britain Crushed the German War Machine's Dreams of Invasion in 1940

Author: Leo McKinstry Format: Paperback / softback Release Date: 04/06/2015

'Superbly written and gripping' Daily Express The thrilling true account of Hitler's first defeat. In the summer of 1940, the Nazi war machine was at its zenith. France, Denmark, Norway and the Low Countries were all under occupation after a series of lightning military campaigns. Only Britain stood in the way of the complete triumph of Nazi tyranny. But for the first time in the war, Hitler did not prevail. The traditional narrative of 1940 holds that Britain was only saved from German conquest by the pluck of RAF Fighter Command during the Battle of Britain. The image of Dad's Army recruits training with broomsticks is a classic symbol of the nation's supposed desperation in the face of the threat from Operation Sealion, as the German plan for invasion was code-named. Yet as Leo McKinstry details, the British were far more ruthless and proficient than is usually recognised. The brilliance of the RAF was not an exception but part of a pattern of magnificent organisation. In almost every sphere of action, such as the destruction of the French naval fleet or the capture of German spies, Britain's approach reflected an uncompromising spirit of purpose and resolution. Using a wealth of primary materials from both British and German archives, Leo McKinstry provides a ground-breaking new assessment of the six fateful months in mid-1940, beginning with Winston Churchill's accession to power in May and culminating in Germany's abandonment of Operation Sealion.

Hurricane Victor of the Battle of Britain

Hurricane Victor of the Battle of Britain

Author: Leo McKinstry Format: Paperback / softback Release Date: 06/01/2011

In the summer of 1940 the fate of Europe hung in the balance. Victory in the forthcoming air battle would mean national survival; defeat would establish German tyranny. The Luftwaffe greatly outnumbered the RAF, but during the Battle of Britain it was the RAF that emerged triumphant, thanks to two key fighter planes, the Spitfire and the Hurricane. The Hurricane made up over half of Fighter Command's front-line strength, and its revolutionary design transformed the RAF's capabilities. Leo McKinstry tells the story of the remarkable plane from its designers to the first-hand testimonies of those brave pilots who flew it; he takes in the full military and political background but always keeps the human stories to the fore - to restore the Hawker Hurricane to its rightful place in history.

Lancaster The Second World War's Greatest Bomber

Lancaster The Second World War's Greatest Bomber

Author: Leo McKinstry Format: Paperback / softback Release Date: 10/06/2010

The Spitfire and the Lancaster were the two RAF weapons of victory in the Second World War, but the glamour of the fighter has tended to overshadow the performance of the heavy bomber. Yet without the Lancaster, Britain would never have been able to take the fight to the German homeland. Highlights the scale of the bomber's achievements, including the famous Dambusters attacks. With its vast bomb bay, ease of handling and surprising speed, the mighty Lancaster transformed the effectiveness of the Bomber Command. Whilst addressing the political controversy surrounding the bombing offensive against Germany, Leo McKinstry also weaves individual tales into this compelling narrative. Rich characters are brought to life, such as Roy Chadwick the designer, who taught himself engineering at night school and Sir Arthur Harris, the austere head of the Bomber Command. This is a rich saga, a story of triumph over disaster and the history of an iconic plane.

Jack and Bobby A Story of Brothers in Conflict

Jack and Bobby A Story of Brothers in Conflict

Author: Leo McKinstry Format: Paperback Release Date: 01/08/2009

The history of modern British football can largely be written through the stories of Jack and Bobby Charlton. Both were in the World Cup winning team of `66, and each has remained deeply involved in the game ever since. The book traces the parallel lives of Jack and Bobby Charlton, following them from their schooldays through to the present day. The brothers both played prominent roles in the finest hour of English football, the 1966 World Cup triumph. Each played for the dominant club of their era, and summed up the style of their respective teams. Bobby was at Manchester Utd during their glory days under Sir Matt Busby. He survived the Munich air crash and went on to become a fast, graceful attacker who set grounds alight with his power, speed and athleticism in a team that played free-flowing, attacking football. Jack came to professional football late, working in a coal mine before Leeds signed him. Don Revie's Leeds side was renowned for its uncompromising and physical style, and Jack was himself a tough, durable and aggressive defender, who once caused uproar by admitting he had a `black book' with a list of footballing enemies who he would target on the pitch. The two retired from football in the same year, and since, the contrast between them has been marked. Bobby's forays into management at Wigan and Preston were distinguished only by their brevity, while `Big Jack' took the Republic of Ireland team to an unprecendented level of success, reaching the quarter finals of the World Cup in 1994. Bobby has been a key figure in the ongoing success of Manchester United over the past decade, working on recruiting players and as an FA diplomat. But, despite their continued successes, the relationship between the two has been strained, sometimes barely even polite, and the book will investigate the reasons for this, including in-depth interviews with many of those the two have been in contact with over the years.

Spitfire Portrait of a Legend

Spitfire Portrait of a Legend

Author: Leo McKinstry Format: Paperback / softback Release Date: 29/05/2008

In June 1940, the German Army had brought the rest of Europe to its knees. 'Hitler knows that he will have to break us in this island or lose the war. If we can stand up to him, all Europe may be free and the life of the world will move forward into broad, sunlit uplands,' said Churchill. The future of Europe depended on Britain. A self-confident Herman Goering thought that it would be only a matter of weeks before his planes had forced Britain to surrender. The courage, resourcefulness and brilliant organisation of the RAF were to prove him wrong. By late September 1940, the RAF had proved invincible, thanks to the Vickers Supermarine Spitfire. It exceeded anything that any other air force possessed. RJ Mitchell, a shy and almost painfully modest engineer, was the genius behind the Spitfire. On the 5th March 1936, following its successful maiden flight, a legend was born. Prize-winning historian Leo McKinstry's vivid history of the Spitfire brings together a rich cast of characters and first hand testimonies. It is a tale full of drama and heroism, of glory and tragedy, with the main protagonist the remarkable plane that played a crucial role in saving Britain.

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