Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Book I'm Reading: Winston Churchill's Their Finest Hour (September 26, 2012)

I've just finished Their Finest Hour, the second volume of Winston Churchill's six-volume history of WWII. Much of what I said about the first volume, The Gathering Storm, applies here. This, the next installment in Churchill's detailed chronicle of the war from the position of an insider, is again delivered in crisp, efficient prose and draws heavily on contemporary documents. In Their Finest Hour, Churchill takes us from his taking over as Prime Minister in May 1940 through January 1941. The main events in the period were the capitulation of France (which left Britain standing virtually alone against Hitler and Mussolini), the Battle of Britain, and the beginning of the Blitz--the mass bombing of London. The war in North Africa was just beginning to heat up as well. Once again, Churchill's epigraph sums up the book nicely: "How the British people held the fort alone till those who hitherto had been half blind were half ready." It's fascinating to read Churchill's many memos to President Roosevelt during this period, repeatedly urging a reluctant president to help. I'm now deep in Volume III, The Grand Alliance.

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