This volume of Churchill's history of the Second World War recounts the events of 1941 surrounding America's entry into the War, Hitler's march on Russia, and the alliance between Britain and America.
"After the first forty days we were alone," writes Churchill. This edition is part two of Churchill's own abridgement of his original six-volume history of the Second World War.
Please note: This book was originally published in six volumes:
1. The Gathering Storm
2. Their Finest Hour
3. The Grand Alliance
4. The Hinge of Fate
5. Closing the Ring
6. Triumph and Tragedy
Churchill then condensed these into four volumes, which have since been released as one, rather hefty, publication. This is an unabridged recording of Churchill's condensed volume, broken up into four parts, as follows:
1. Milestone to Disaster
3. The Grand Alliance
4. Triumph and Tragedy
©1990 The Estate of Winston Churchill; (P)2014 Audible, Inc.
I love hearing Christian Rodska read. I feel like I am hearing Churchill speak. Listening I feel I am sitting at the table with the people who made great things happening. I see the past like it is happening right now. The story is so personal. When Churchill recounts the ships sunk and number of plans shot down there is an awareness of every life that was lost. The story is a big story told in a very big way.
The third volume in the abridged collection of Churchill’s history of the Second World War (confusingly the third volume in the unabridged series goes by the same title) follows Great Britain out of the time of their isolation in the war. From 1939 until the Germans turned their sights on Russia in 1942, England was the sole force providing continual harassment to Hitler’s swelling dominion. While many other countries were friendly and supportive to the cause, there had yet to be formed an allied front against the Axis countries – except in the Atlantic where the US had already committed to help clear shipping lanes near their own shores. With grit and ferocity of will, England stood the onslaught of the German’s might and lasted. There indomitableness was rewarded when, in 1942, both Russia and the US finally entered the war as full allies. In this, Churchill knew that the war was won.
You will never read a war history quite like Churchill’s retelling of these six, almost seven, long years of struggle. No “man at the top” as it were has written about the minutiae of what it takes from day to day to keep a country focussed toward a common goal. Churchill is both witty and serious about his responsibilities. The reader always feels as if the Prime Minister has a sincere empathy with the men that lay down their lives for freedom’s sake. And yet, Churchill was a shrewd if relatively straightforward politician. He pulls and cajoles the Russians to come to the aid of the Western powers. Stalin is supremely concerned about his own nation, yet this warmhearted Brit maneuvers the cold steely Russian into joint operations. The United States military see themselves as foremost in the world, but Churchill guides them to his points of attack. With an unbelievable aplomb, we get to look in on how a historical giant orders the players of worldwide strategy into a successful defense against Hitler’s schemes.
As a good American schoolboy, I was taught how the US came to save Britain’s bacon when we finally entered the European field. This is true – to an extent. What I never knew was how much had been prepared by the continual strategy of the British Army, Navy, and Royal Air Force. The had the ideas; they needed manpower. And the USA could not provide this at first. It took much longer for the war effort stateside to gear up than one might think. Even though America essentially entered into the war on Pearl Harbor day in 1941. The main focus was toward naval operations against Japan. It was only a small percentage of US troops that made it into the European theater before D-Day in June of 1944. Once the US became an active participant, hardly a defeat was handed to the Allied forces in the west, but this was due to the exceedingly important battle plan developed for years by Great Britain.
My grandfather served in North Africa – where the majority of the action of this book takes place. I don’t know a lot about his service as he passed away in my youth. He was an mechanic in support of air based action. It’s amazing that so many operations of vital importance happened off the continent where the supposed heart of the struggle lay. It’s as if Olympian engineers of war decided to fight somewhere that wouldn’t mess up their civilization. But it did, hundreds of thousands of men lost their lives in North Africa. The many battles of Tobruk and Benghazi, the struggle for Egypt, the swift offensive on Tunis. These are magnificent and costly battlefields that most will never walk because they are so far from our cultured world. Churchill does his best to humanize every campaign, but the scars of the war were greater than most perceive. There may not be a finer set of histories for this time, but come knowing it’s not the view that the average man had.
6.5 stars out of 10
The clearness of the language and his willingness to take responsibility for failure and share success make Winston Churchill a true leader and devoted statesman. His ability to articulate the importance of personal relationships to make decisions is a template for our political leaders
Self-employed autodidact. Recipient of an unconventional education. Be a "Generalist" and never have a dull moment!
To have such a readable and fascinating first-hand account of the highest levels of command during the war that defined the 20th century and set the stage for our own time is a treasure. If by forgetting history we are doomed to repeat it, this account is nothing short of a call to arms against fate itself. Read it.
I recommend reading a good bio of Winston Churchill before hand it will make this series all the more enjoyable as you will have the pleasure of his thinking within a familiar context.
The entire war as seen through the eyes of Winston Churchhill. A mesmerizing account, thorough and personal.The best book on World War II that I have read.
This four-volume set is absolutely riveting, and one of the best war accounts I've read. Not only is it historically accurate, it contains details only recountable by the British Prime Minister at the time of the war. This set is an absolute gem, and Christian Rodska, the man who reads it, sounds very Churchill-esque, so one has the impression that one is hearing it read by Churchill himself.
Faced with mindless duty, when an audio book player slips into a rear pocket and mini buds pop into ears, old is made new again.
History shows Churchill to be one of the greatest orators of war since Abraham Lincoln. He is also a fine writer. “…The Grand Alliance” is a fascinating first-hand account of an English Prime Minister/First Lord of the Admiralty’s perception of the great events of World War II. During the war years, Winston Churchill became the equivalent of a U. S. President and Secretary of Defense rolled into one. Winston Churchill, like Julius Caesar, William Shakespeare, Abraham Lincoln, and Franklin Roosevelt join a list of extraordinary men.
This is an extraordinary history of WWII because it is written by a principal participant. Subsequent historians have clarified and expanded Churchill’s observations. The perspective of time seems to have been kind to Churchill’s memory of events.
Science geek, science fiction writer and reader, generalized policy wonk.
This review really could cover the whole four-part series. With no hyperbole, I can say that this was an eye-opening view of the point on which the whole 20th century pivoted. Churchill was a phenomenally gifted writer and having access to his insights and involvement gave me a view into WW II that was surprising, enlightening and very entertaining. One is struck by the prescience of Churchill's insights into both the Nazi regime and the Stalinist regime. I was also struck, particularly in Alone (the volume immediately preceding this) the level at which Britain really was by itself and one cannot help but come away with a renewed admiration for this island and her remarkable people.
I have devoured the entire series and will definitely return to these volumes in the future. Yes, there are places where the narrative seems a bit self-serving on the part of Churchill but he is also able to point the finger at himself when he read things incorrectly or made a judgment that, in light of what happened, he might have thought better of so it isn't really obnoxious.
Christian Rodska hits precisely the right place between sounding like a passable Churchill while not seeming like he is trying to imitate him. At several points over the course of the books, I had to remind myself that while the words were Churchill's the voice was not.
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