'This is the room from which I will direct the war,' Churchill declared, shortly after becoming Prime Minister in 1940. And he did just that, as the distinguished Churchill biographer Richard Holmes explains in the first history of the Cabinet War Rooms. It was from these cramped, uncongenial confines that Churchill turned a seemingly inevitable defeat at the hands of the Nazis into a famous victory. Yet he was not working deep in a distant forest or hidden in a walled-off suburb: he was in the very heart of the capital, within sight of Buckingham Palace and the Houses of Parliament. Built in 1938 as a temporary refuge in case of air raid attack, this secret bunker became a second home to Churchill - and to large numbers of military personnel and civil servants whose work until now has been largely unsung. Here was the Map Room that charted the advances and retreats of armies, the locations of warships and the often painful progress of the convoys that kept the nation supplied. Here the planners worked on future operations and the intelligence staff pondered the enemy's next moves. And all this work was known only to those who needed to know. Drawing on a fascinating range of original material, including new first-hand accounts of the people who lived there, Holmes reveals how and why the bunker and its war machine developed; how the inhabitants' lives were transformed; and how their work led to victory. Elegant and illuminating, Churchill's Bunker is a unique exploration of one of the most important sites in British history.