A vivid and incisive portrait of Winston Churchill during wartime from acclaimed historian Max Hastings, Winston's War captures the full range of Churchills endlessly fascinating character. At once brilliant and infuriating, self-important and courageous, Hastings' Churchill comes brashly to life as never before.
Beginning in 1940, when popular demand elevated Churchill to the role of prime minister, and concluding with the end of the war, Hastings shows us Churchill at his most intrepid and essential, when, by sheer force of will, he kept Britain from collapsing in the face of what looked like certain defeat. Later, we see his significance ebb as the United States enters the war and the Soviets turn the tide on the Eastern Front. But Churchill, Hastings reminds us, knew as well as anyone that the war would be dominated by others, and he managed his relationships with the other Allied leaders strategically, so as to maintain Britain's influence and limit Stalin's gains.
At the same time, Churchill faced political peril at home, a situation for which he himself was largely to blame. Hastings shows how Churchill nearly squandered the miraculous escape of the British troops at Dunkirk and failed to address fundamental flaws in the British Army. His tactical inaptitude and departmental meddling won him few friends in the military, and by 1942, many were calling for him to cede operational control. Nevertheless, Churchill managed to exude a public confidence that brought the nation through the bitter war.
Hastings rejects the traditional Churchill hagiography while still managing to capture what he calls Churchills appetite for the fray. Certain to be a classic, Winston's War is a riveting profile of one of the greatest leaders of the twentieth century.
©2010 Max Hastings (P)2010 Random House
"Military historian Hastings adds to his illustrious reputation with this magnificent analysis of Winston Churchill's years of greatness." (Publishers Weekly)
This excellent work by historian Sir Max Hastings gives a much more balanced approach to British involvment in World War II than does Winston Churchill's series covering the same period. Hastings obviously considers Winston the great leader he was but he also brings out some of "the warts". Churchill's mistakes in judgement were numerous but not well defined in his work. Hastings shows a number of Churchill's bad ideas for exactly what they were.
This is an excellent book to read after the "Second World War" series by Churchill which is also presented on Audible. (Except the last volume which has to come from Audible UK). I highly recommend this book for both its educational and entertainment value. Anything by Hastings is usually very good.
Avid reader until vision impairment set in. Now an avid listener!
This book fills in details absent in general histories of WW 2, taking the point of view of the British concerning their participation in the war. The book draws on primary sources that reflect the thoughts and feelings of British people from all walks of life, but the main focus is on Winston Churchill, the extraordinary prime minister who, through the elegance of his rhetoric, his cunning
intelligence, and an indomitable will, shepherded his people through years of defeat to reach an ultimate victory. To me, the most interesting parts of the book detail Churchill's attempts to persuade a reluctant Franklin Roosevelt to commit American resources to the war. The author is honest about the unpreparedness of the British military to fight the disciplined Nazi forces, and Churchill's many futile attempts to coax Roosevelt onboard. Churchill's diplomatic and social relationships with other powerful Americans are described in an equally candid way and give insight into Britain's strained relationship with the US at the time. This is a first rate history that is also brilliantly narrated by Robin Sachs, who does a credible job of Churchill's stentorian delivery.
I have read many books and Churchill and by Churchill. Winston's War is exceptional, and shows how and why Churchill was the essential man, anhistorically exceptional, yet imperfect leader. A visionary and an anachronism of Imperial Britian, creative and right in saving us from the Nazis, yet repleat with hairbrain and dubious ideas, but he held out and plugged the dike when defeating Hitler seem near impossible, except to him. A story of will, courage, leadership, and greatness, warts and all. We owe Churchill, big time.
This is an excellent history and highly recommended to anyone with an interest in the 2nd world war. The narrator is outstanding and the book flows. I could not ” put it down”.
I have listen to books all about HItler and wanted to get a balance so this Churchill booked helped balance my feeling regarding history for WW II - Churchill was quite a guy.
Max Hastings has produced an insightful record of Churchill's time during WWII that transcends both the hagiography and harping of other historians. Churchill emerges as a real human being facing difficult decisions.Compelling and revealing.
Unless you like hearing a cheezy Winston Churchill imitation for hours on end, skip this one. I'm a huge Max Hastings fan but listening to the narrator try to talk like Churchill was just awful.
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