This is the concluding volume in Winston Churchill's incomparable history of World War II. As in his previous three volumes it provides remarkable insight and an unparalleled "you are there" view of the events. It is an absolute must-read for anyone that has had the pleasure of completing the previous books.
However, it suffers in comparison to the other books. This first-person view of history worked incredibly well in the first three volumes because Churchill was, quite literally, in the middle of much of the significant action and decisions from 1938 to 1942. His insight, speeches, decisions, and influence on diplomacy literally made history and changed the course of the war. Having a front-row seat to that power and thought process is a treat.
However, starting in 1943 and certainly in 1944 the United States and the Soviet Union became the primary players on the Allied side and Great Britain (and thus Churchill), exhausted and smaller than the others, became a junior partner. Churchill had less and less influence in the conduct of the war and it is not surprising he was greatly frustrated by it, though he certainly knew that only through the combined efforts of the USA and USSR could complete victory be achieved.
In this volume he spends most of his time on things he had direct impact over (which were smaller scale) or talking about his frustrations about not being able to prosecute the war as he saw fit. For example, we hear much more about a small invasion of Italy he tried to coordinate than we do about D-Day. And we hear practically nothing about the treatment of Jews or concentration camps.
But Churchill really comes through in the end as he chronicles the Soviet transformation in 1944/5 from ally to adversary. And there is an epilogue where he discusses the transformations of the geopolitical situation from 1945 to 1957 that is remarkable in its anticipation of many of the issues we continue to face.
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