The Far East Campaign of 1941-5 is the new focus of Daniel Todman’s comprehensive history

To begin not at the beginning but at the end of the beginning. Or rather, to begin at another beginning, where Daniel Todman’s book ends. In January 1948, Clement Attlee’s foreign secretary, Ernest Bevin, told the Commons that ‘the free nations of western Europe must now draw more closely together’, for western Europe was not just a geographic entity but a global presence: If we are to preserve peace and our own safety at the same time we can only do so by the mobilisation of such moral and material force as will create confidence and energy in the West and inspire respect elsewhere, and this means that Britain cannot