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Finest Years: Churchill as Warlord 1940–45

Max Hastings.
Publisher Harper  
Format paperback
Product Dimensions 9.1 x 6 x 1.6 inches
ISBN 9780007371594
Pages/Publication Date 664/2009
Daedalus Item Code 32310
This item is not available.
A celebrated British war correspondent and the author of the Somerset Maugham Award–winning Bomber Command, Max Hastings here adds to the voluminous shelf of Winston Churchill books with a superb assessment that could replace a great number of them. In 1940, the nation rallied behind Churchill in an extraordinary fashion. But thereafter, argues Hastings, there was a deep divide between what Churchill wanted from the British people and their army, and what they were capable of delivering. It is little understood how low his popularity fell in 1942, amid an unbroken succession of battlefield defeats, when even some of his closest colleagues joined a clamor for him to abandon his role directing the war machine. Hastings describes the "second Dunkirk" in 1940, when Churchill's impulsiveness threatened to lose Britain almost as many troops in northwest France as had been saved from the beaches; his wooing of the Americans; and struggles with the Russians. British wartime unity was increasingly tarnished by workers' unrest, with many strikes in mines and key industries. By looking at Churchill from the outside in, through the eyes of British soldiers, civilians and newspapers, and also those of Russians and Americans, Hastings provides new perspectives on the greatest Englishman.

"It is phenomenally difficult to unearth fresh stories and anecdotes about a man as widely and deeply covered historically as Winston Churchill, yet Hastings succeeds again and again.... None can fail to admire his archival tenacity and sheer authorial reach."—Daily Telegraph (London)

"A magnificent achievement ... one of those rare books that create in the reader a palpable feeling of the excitement, fear, frustration, grief, dread, all-too-occasional elation, and numbing fatigue of those critical days."—NYReview of Books

"Scrupulously fair and often deeply moving.... Hastings excels with all his character portraits, which brilliantly illuminate the key relationships, especially with Roosevelt and Stalin. Hastings is truly a master of strategy and high command."—Mail on Sunday (London)

"Hastings presents [Churchill] ... as a ruthless, brandy-gulping Tory with the fire and the guts to beat Hitler.... In a crowded field, this is one of the best books ever written about Churchill."—Sunday Times (London)

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