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Churchill's Bunker: The Secret Headquarters at the Heart of Britain's Victory (Imperial War Museum) Hardcover – 4 Jun 2009


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Product details

  • Hardcover: 224 pages
  • Publisher: Profile Books; First Edition edition (4 Jun. 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1846682258
  • ISBN-13: 978-1846682254
  • Product Dimensions: 14.4 x 2.7 x 22.2 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (12 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 498,600 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Richard Holmes was one of Britain's most successful historians and television presenters. Author of the best-selling Tommy, Redcoat and Wellington: The Iron Duke, he has also written and presented television series for the BBC. As well as serving in the TA, he taught military history at Sandhurst and, latterly, as Professor of Military and Security Studies at Cranfield University and the Royal Military College of Science. Richard Holmes died suddenly on 30 April 2011 from pneumonia, aged 65.

Product Description

Review

A superb book ... Holmes vividly recaptures what it was like to work in Churchill's bunker, the fabulous highs and dispiriting lows ... Holmes has written a book that serves both as a guide to the fascinating Cabinet War Rooms and also as a fitting memorial to the men and women who worked so hard down there over six gruelling years of war. (Andrew Roberts Observer 2009-06-14)

Scholarly but accessible ... [Holmes] keeps things lively and colourful ... with his personal portraiture of Churchill the man, whose penchant for Pol Roger Champagne late-night ramblings and bedside briefings are all there. (Daniel Bentley Press Association)

A worthy and evocative addition to the ever-growing mountain of Churchilliana. (Vernon Bogdanor Financial Times)

Intriguing (Christopher Silvester Daily Express 2009-06-19)

Richard Holmes's Churchill's Bunker is a bright and fascinating new book devoted to where and how Churchill often lived and ruled during the first years of the war. Bright, because it illuminates, literally, the underground warren of sunless rooms where Churchill's staff functioned below blackened London streets. Fascinating, because both the origins and the conditions of this subterranean headquarters, as well as Churchill's presence in and absence from it, were not at all simple. (John Lukacs, author of Five Days in London)

Loads of people will love this book ... it is imbued with Richard Holmes's passion for the period. (Margaret Forster)

A fascinating and invaluable insight into the secret catacombs under Whitehall where Winston Churchill planned British war strategy, spoke to President Roosevelt through scrambler telephone, and broadcast his inspirational messages of defiance to Nazism. (Andrew Roberts, author of Masters and Commanders)

With this vivid and compelling combination of grand strategy and human detail Richard Holmes brings to life a very British and surprisingly effective war-time government, and the improvised bunker in which it operated. (Professor Sir Lawrence Freedman)

Review

`Intriguing' - Christopher Silvester, Daily Express

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Front Cover | Copyright | Table of Contents | Excerpt | Index | Back Cover
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Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

14 of 14 people found the following review helpful By B. P. Webb on 11 July 2009
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This is must for all historians, London tourists interested by this super piece of our history as well as scholars of Churchill. I use some of Richard Holmes work as reference for my lectures and workshops on effective leadership recommending his books to my delegates and I have used the London 'bunker' as a venue for a management learning event. That was an incredible experience and Richard Holmes has tapped in to the life and rhythm of the location during those crucial years. A really superb account and another excellent piece of work from this great historian.
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10 of 10 people found the following review helpful By W. Dewberry on 29 July 2009
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Having taken pupils around the "Bunker" on numerous occasions this book offers a further insight to that period of history that has only fairly recently been public. The War Rooms, and indeed the Tunnels of Dover Castle, help visualise the enormous spread of a World War and our 'darkest Hour'. There is also a sentiment of nostalgia and a 'toe dip' into a National pride that today we only see on the big occasion - often sport. The Nostalgia is a by-product of the book knowing my parents lived through this and, as I age, the fact it was only 10 years before I was born.
Richard Holmes is always readable and, as with all his books, a historians friend, bringing an era shape, form and as it is reality.
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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful By R. Moore VINE VOICE on 26 July 2009
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
If you are interested in the last war, Winston Churchill and the history of this country and how we remained British and free, then please read this book, and get your children to read it, as they are sadly lacking in the recent history of this once great country of ours,and its great leaders. I lived through it all as a small child, and only now realise just what went on..and how very very lucky we were.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Neutral VINE VOICE on 8 Aug. 2010
Format: Hardcover
Richard Holmes has written an excellent book about Churchill's secret headquarters in the very heart of London. The bunker was only opened to the public towards the end of the last century and its most notable characteristic was its compact nature. Unlike his arch enemy Hitler, Churchill did not take major strategic decisions away from the capital city but did so fully aware of the danger that flew overhead, not least because he would walk round St James's Park at night when the bombs were falling. On one occasion a fragment from an anti-aircraft shell hit a policemen who was standing close to him.

The Cabinet War Rooms were completed just before the outbreak of war but were not bomb proof. A direct hit could have removed Britain's high command at one fell swoop. The idea of bringing the political and military command together arose from the experience of the Lloyd George War Cabinet in the First World War and the recognition of the likely importance of bombing in the conflict with Germany. The Phoney War (sometimes known as the bore war) provided time to draw up contingency plans in the event of invasion. In London, as in other large cities, children were evacuated but often returned of their own volition. Cabinet government continued under Chamberlain who did not resign until May 1940 when the government's majority in the House of Commons was halved on a debate over the disastrous campaign in Norway. "It is one of the ironies of history that Churchill, who bore considerable responsibility for the Norwegian campaign, should have benefited from profound discontent with its failure."

The initial history of the Second World War was written by Churchill himself and for all his greatness he had a massive ego.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By mangilli-climpson m on 10 July 2011
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Why another book on the Greatest Briton of all time during the Second World War? First, it is Imperial War Museum's attempt to attract visitors to the memorable Cabinet War Rooms (CWR), better known as the "Bunker" or the "Hole", in Whitehall, centred on the Map Room, the site where for almost five years, from September 1940, from the shame of virtual defeat after Dunkirk and the destruction of the Blitz, to the long awaited victory, Winston Churchill and others, took the most important decisions. Secondly, it is penned by the very popular military historian of Cranfield University, and television presenter, the recently (since April 2011) much missed Brig (TA) Richard Holmes, CBE.

Using secondary sources readers will keep up with the latest theories and nuances about the great man over the last twenty years (Best 2001 Churchill: A Study in Greatness, Jenkins 2002Churchill: A Biography, and the Alanbrooke War DiariesAlanbrooke War Diaries 1939-1945: Field Marshall Lord Alanbrooke) since the classic multi-volume work by Martin Gilbert, including the revisionist ideas of Charmley and Self that, despite appeasement, Chamberlain was preparing for War, and Churchill had not entered the Cabinet because he was unable to work well with others, and between 1939-40 he was creating more difficulties and conflict than was good.
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