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Churchill. The Greatest Briton Unmasked Paperback – 30 Oct 2009


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Product details

  • Paperback: 400 pages
  • Publisher: David & Charles (30 Oct. 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0715328530
  • ISBN-13: 978-0715328538
  • Product Dimensions: 14 x 2.3 x 21 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 3.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (20 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 26,400 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
  • See Complete Table of Contents

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Product Description

Review

'Nigel Knight lays siege with well-informed gusto to the legend of Winston Churchill' - Martin Bell --Martin Bell

About the Author

Nigel Knight is a lecturer in British Government at the University of Cambridge and in Economics and Politics at Magdalene College, Cambridge. He is the author of Governing Britain Since 1945, and has also worked in national politics, both advising and writing policy

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Customer Reviews

3.7 out of 5 stars

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

20 of 25 people found the following review helpful By Tristan Martin VINE VOICE on 15 Sept. 2010
Format: Hardcover
Nigel Knight has written a radical revisionist analysis of Winston Churchill that stands in stark contrast to the man Churchill biographer Roy Jenkins described as, "...the greatest human being ever to occupy 10 Downing Street." It is, of course, for the reader to decide whose judgement is closer to the facts. What seems apparent, however, is that the reverential status that Churchill is accorded in contemporary society is at odds with how Churchill's peers actually viewed the man. Perhaps, therefore, we should interpret Knight's version of history more as an attempt to set the record straight, to deconstruct the myths surrounding the most aristocratic Prime Minister of the twentieth century.

Knight's premise is essentially that, in essence, Churchill had a negative net impact on Great Briton. Churchill masterminded the Gallipoli campaign of the First World War that was a bloody waste of lives which achieved nothing of substance. In the interwar period, Churchill actually argued for cuts in Britain's defence spending, despite the obvious rise of Nazism in Europe and fascism in the far east. That during the Second World War, Churchill promoted a dispersionary strategy that drew forces away from where they could do most damage to Hitler's war machine and instead focused on peripheral areas of the conflict that had no consequence on whether Hitler would be defeated (Norway, North Africa, the Balkans, Dieppe, Italy).

These chapters and many more besides, are supported by plentiful documentary evidence, as well as contemporaneous accounts of Generals' frustrated by Churchill's unhelpful interfering, politicians' descriptions of his blinkered obstinacy on futile pet obsessions, diplomats' aghast at both his boisterousness and also his lack of detailed knowledge.
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10 of 13 people found the following review helpful By N. Knight on 13 Dec. 2008
Format: Hardcover
SUNDAY EXPRESS November 23, 2008
Shattering myths of Churchill the hero

MOST HISTORIANS writing today would rather be caught dead than be associated with the "Great Men in History" school and yet, as the current crisis is reminding us, leadership does matter.

No person better symbolises leadership qualities than Winston Churchill. In his sharply provocative new book, Nigel Knight seeks to pull down Churchill from his pedestal as the greatest Briton of the 20th century. From Gallipoli in 1915 to the end of his premiership in 1955, Churchill's career is exposed here as a study in failure. Whether it is military matters, diplomacy or the economy, Churchill invariably has "poor judgment", is stubborn, self-indulgent and "irrational".

Worse, according to Knight, he lacked strategic vision. He found it difficult to see the war as a single theatre of action where operations at one front inevitably impinged elsewhere. Here the book follows closely General Alan Brooke, the chief of the imperial general staff, whose war diaries, published in 2001, are quoted at great length. Churchill has long been known as a master at rewriting history, putting himself in a good light and shifting blame to others. What is new is the book's comprehensive demolition of Churchill. This may be good debating strategy but for a book it is not without problems. The argument is drummed home with such vehemence that the reader almost develops a sense of sympathy for the flailing hero.

The lack of balance especially shows in the pages on Munich and the origins of the Second World War. As Knight realises, Churchill's greatness in the popular mind hinges on his prophetic warnings about Hitler's aggression and the failure of Chamberlain's appeasement policy.
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13 of 18 people found the following review helpful By Joy Inboden on 28 Oct. 2008
Format: Hardcover
At last, after the countless rose-tinted versions of Churchill's political career, Nigel Knight has given us a unbiased appraisal of his record. The inconvenient truth of his mis-judgements and the damage he did to Britain is finally exposed in this excellent new book. I found it not only well-written but consistently illuminating - and an essential read for anyone interested in 'The Greatest Briton'. Congratulations, Mr Knight, on your brave and fascinating book.
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15 of 21 people found the following review helpful By Mrs. Judith M. Baker on 26 Aug. 2009
Format: Hardcover
As one of the generation who grew up with the image of Churchill as the great man who had single-handedly saved our country from invasion, I started reading this book with a degree of scepticism. How dare Nigel Knight presume to pick holes in our nation's favourite hero? But I quickly discovered the in-depth research that Knight has put into this book has unearthed a wealth of evidence that shows Churchill to have been incompetent and arrogant at best, and at worst a potential danger to our country. The publicity that has made him an adored national treasure seems to have been ill-founded. As an historical work Knight's book is faultless in its detail and references, but it is also highly readable book for anyone who has an interest in the personalities that have shaped our history. I would recommend it highly to both historians and non-academic readers.
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7 of 10 people found the following review helpful By M. Harper on 6 April 2009
Format: Hardcover
This is a useful work of reference for anyone who is compiling any sort of work on the career of the great Winston and wishes to avoid the hagiographical approach which is the bane of so many other accounts. Churchill made his mistakes and they are ruthlessly exposed here. To gain balance, I would extend my bibliography beyond this volume but this deals with Churchill's career in a useful chronological form and so individual incidents are easy to find. A very worthwhile addition to the collection of anyone interested in this topic.
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