What a gift Winston Churchill has given his and future generations. This is an absolutely unique perspective on World War II. Not only was Churchill i..Show More »n the middle of all major decisions made in Great Britain during the war (and was aware of most of the pre-war decisions), he also has a keen sense of history and perspective that only a few historians possess. He also has a mastery of the English language and a sublime wit that brings this already compelling story to life.
As far as this volume (1 of 3 published, 1 to go - hopefully) it is absolutely remarkable the sheer number of opportunities there were to prevent/delay this conflict that were missed or explicitly ignored. In the beginning of this volume, Churchill declares WWII should have been named "The Unnecessary War" and it is hard to argue with his thesis. But his insight into this entire process is terrific. I highly recommend this set of books for anyone interested in the War or a remarkable view into a great leader in a trying time.
Finally, just a quick note on abridgment. It is true this is an unabridged audio book of the first of four volumes, but the four volumes are a textual abridgment of Churchill's original set of six volumes (but at least Churchill was apparently the one who did that abridgement). I have the original set of six and I am able to follow along with the audiobook. I end up reading the sections that were left out in the evenings and to me they are very interesting. Those sections left out are insightful and do add to the overall tapestry of the story.
It does not make this version any less worthwhile, though. As others have noted, the narrator sounds like Churchill (or at least like I imagine Churchill would sound like) which adds to the overall experience.
A personal account, told with feeling and verve, of the details of the fall of France, the Battle of Britan and the Battle of the Atlantic. The devil ..Show More »is in the details as is the delight when you read Churchill. As good as 1776.
You are there with Churchill as he asks the French generals in his poor French, "Where is your strategic reserve?", which the French might have used to counter the initial German end run around the Maginot Line. Duh, they had none(!)
you are by his side as he and his war cabinet plans to repel the invasion, which he increasingly feels will never take place. You are there as he and his cabinet make decisions about Greece, North Africa, and the French Navy, and deal with the various outcomes of those decisions.
A tour de force from an author who still deserves to be best selling. The spirit of the man comes through, which along with the spirit of Great Britain and America, will, one hopes, never die. Uh, a good read.
During this third volume of the four volume set Churchill continues his wonderful (if occasionally self-serving) narrative. This volume roughly covers..Show More » the time period of late 1941 through early/mid 1943. This was a rough period for Britain and the military engagements during this period almost always go against the Allies. Though at the end of this volume the tide of war has definitely turned and would usher in a period of practically unbroken victories.
Any casual Churchill fan knows of his affection for the United States. But it was still very interesting to hear first hand his reaction to Pearl Harbor and the official entrance of the US into the War. At that point, as he tells it, he felt the War was won - he was jubilant - it was just a matter of time. His regard for Roosevelt was just shy of worship.
It was also very interesting to see his dealings with the Russians as they shifted sides to the Allies and began immediately insisting on a second front in the West. Churchill alternates between extreme patience and unconcealed exasperation at Stalin's single-mindedness here all the while conveniently forgetting he was Hitler's ally less than a year before.
He has a masterful wit and I literally laughed out loud several times during the narrative.
A must for any fan of military history and World War II.
This is the concluding volume in Winston Churchill's incomparable history of World War II. As in his previous three volumes it provides remarkable ins..Show More »ight 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.