To the Victor the Spoils
Sean Longden

To the Victor the Spoils

To the Victor the Spoils is a new and controversial study of the Second World War, covering the period between D-Day and VE Day. Concentrating on the day-to-day experiences of the British and Canadian troops involved in the campaign to liberate Europe, it is not a linear history of the battles during that period - instead its focus is on everyday life, portraying soldiers as individuals and illustrating their behaviour and experiences in a way relevant to modern readers. It is the first time many issues - such as soldiers’ sex lives - have been fully examined from a British perspective. The author has not been afraid to confront controversial issues. Coverage includes the crime wave unleashed on Europe by soldiers, and other acts of indiscipline such as the murder of unpopular officers. It also covers the topic of revenge and retribution by soldiers and the widespread killing of German prisoners by Allied soldiers. Other areas discussed include the use of brothels and the spread of VD, looting, and vandalism. The book sheds new light on the daily trials of the average soldier with fascinating and often humorous accounts of fear, fatigue, food, hygiene, recreation and alcohol.

Book Details:

  • Author: Sean Longden
  • Published Year: 2006
  • Rights Sold
    • UK: Arris
Sean Longden

Sean Longden

Born in Bedford in 1965, Sean Longden first became interested in history as a child listening to his grandfather’s tales of Gallipoli. He went on to study history at the School of Slavonic and East European studies, University of London. After graduation he worked in a number of photographic archives and press agencies. During this period he worked as a picture editor, indexer and caption writer.It was working with archives of World War Two photographs that sparked his interest in the period and inspired him to write books that look beyond basic military history and into the lives of ...
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Book Reviews

  • "If you like your history served "warts and all", the must-read is To the Victor the Spoils by Sean Longden (Arris). This is the sex'n'drugs'n'rock'n'roll of soldiering -mainly the sex -full of tales of fraternisation and careless coupling to mark the liberation. Longden's skill is to source his ribald tales well without denigrating the heroic efforts of the vast majority."
    The Times
  • "Perhaps inevitably, the best nuggets of new information or the most lucid tours d'horizon are found in two outstanding thematic histories. Sean Longden's To the Victor the Spoils (Arris, pounds 25, 390pp) is a useful corrective to the heroic and celebratory tone of some of the other books. It contains many downbeat, not to say depressing, chapters on what the ordinary soldier got up to when the officers' backs were turned: looting, burglary, rape and atrocity all figure largely, as do rivers of drink and scams and fiddles galore. One alarming statistic seems to show that one-third of all materiel produced for Overlord went missing. Longden's chapter on sex is an eye-opening sortie into rampant promiscuity and Eros enthroned, which should surely have been snapped up by the tabloids."
    The Independent
  • "This is not the usual war book and is all the more interesting to the general reader."
    Evening Times, Glasgow
  • "This is as down and dirty – and as real – as you can get."
    Colchester Evening Gazette