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The Second World War, Volume 1: The Gathering Storm [Paperback]

Winston S. Churchill
4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (30 customer reviews)

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Product details

  • Paperback: 724 pages
  • Publisher: Houghton Mifflin (Trade); Reissue edition (9 May 1986)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 039541055X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0395410554
  • Product Dimensions: 19.6 x 12.9 x 4.6 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (30 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 2,144,787 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Product Description


Studies the events from 1919-1939, stressing the allied errors that led to World War II and analyzes the first months of the war.

Inside This Book (Learn More)
First Sentence
AFTER the end of the World War of 1914 there was a deep conviction and almost universal hope that peace would reign in the world. Read the first page
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Front Cover | Copyright | Table of Contents | Excerpt | Index | Back Cover
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Customer Reviews

4.7 out of 5 stars
4.7 out of 5 stars
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
10 of 11 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The memoir by the WW2 leader who saw it all 12 May 2012
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The Gathering Storm is the first book in Churchill's six volume history of WW2.

For a while this was the definitive history of WW2: no longer. Churchill had to keep some things secret (such as Ultra and Bletchley Park) when he wrote this, so there are gaps. But it is the only personal account by any of the 'Big Five' leaders in that war and as such it's still a very important source for anyone reading up on this area of history.

In this first volume, Churchill covers the Interwar years from his own viewpoint. He became convinced very early on that Germany was set on a path that could end in another World War. While it's common to portray him as 'a voice crying in the wilderness', his access to high level government information (shown in this volume) makes it obvious that many of the political leaders and civil servants had a much higher regard for him and his views than they could afford to publicly express.

The second part covers the early war months, where Churchill was in charge of the Admiralty and the sea war - the most active theatre of operations in the 'Phoney War' period. The volume ends when Chamberlain's government falls and Churchill becomes Prime Minister.

As well as being an M.P., Churchill was in the 1920's and 1930's a well-regarded writer and popular historian. While his style is of his time, the book is both logically presented and very well written. It also contains a large amount of Churchill's own letters and memoranda, so it's full of primary source material.

I do have one minor niggle with the Kindle edition: the proof reading wasn't very good. There are more than a few typographic errors - which at times became a bit irritating.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Read and learn 13 Jun 2013
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I really enjoyed this as an intro into the remaining books. Lots of things I thought I knew turn out to be ‘not quite right’ and the decisions which now seem ridiculous are more understandable when seen from Churchill and his contemporaries view at the time.
I saw one review saying that it was so distorted that he couldn’t recommend student of the period to read it. I disagree as long as it’s seen as one source of information and not gospel (true for anything you’re ever told by anyone).
I found the language used, of the time, was fascinating as it some of the viewpoints (prejudices) which we don’t tolerate now.
I now have the second in the series and look forward to the PMs view of the Battle of Britain. See what else I thought I knew……
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Churchill's account of the inter-war years 1 April 2013
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Churchill's writing is very easy on the eye. Throughout the 30s he was a doom merchant whose predictions proved to be sound. His informed account of allied disagreement and appeasement in the face of Hitler's aggression graphically describes the collective folly of the victors of Versailles.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars "The Unnecessary War." 30 Nov 2011
By John P. Jones III TOP 500 REVIEWER
It is now more than 70 years since the outbreak of fighting in Europe that was to become the Second World War. The United States was to eventually participate, with the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor serving as the shocking catalyst. Since WWII, the USA has fought numerous other wars, all too often sordid and inconclusive. And an almost certain nostalgia has developed in regards to WW II, expressed by the phrase: "The Last Good War." Certainly the good and the evil seemed to be more clearly defined; and the entire nation participated, not the very slender percentage in subsequent wars. So, it is all the more striking that the one man generally recognized for rallying the British people in their period alone, during the Battle of Britain, told President Roosevelt, when asked what he thought the name for the war should be: The Unnecessary War. This is the central point Churchill makes in his preface to volume one of his six volume, authoritative history of the war.

The dust had barely settled, and all the bridges and destroyed buildings had not been reconstructed when Churchill wrote and had published this monumental work in 1948. Hardly a cloistered academic, he was a "man of action," and as he also says in the preface, ideally placed, uniquely, given his high governmental positions, to produce such a work (he was First Lord of the Admiralty during much of WW I, and Prime Minister during WW II.) He was able to be both a prolific writer (he has produced several other multi-volume works) as well as holding very demanding jobs, by relentlessly dictating his works to a battery of secretaries. Obviously, they edited and proofed the text, with the result being most commendable.

In "The Gathering Storm" Churchill covers the period from the end of WW I, to the invasion of France.
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4.0 out of 5 stars A fascinating insider's account of great events 14 May 2014
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A long read but worth it. Although rather self congratulatory the inside view of great events which shaped our history is fascinating.
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5.0 out of 5 stars The World Crisis. 7 May 2014
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A real eye opener on how not to behave when an obvious threat appears on the world stage.The British and French
tried to ignore it whilst Hitler and his gang gobbled up other countries and got away with it.The few would never have
been so few if we had armed ourselves properly and faced up to reality. Fascinating and well written,Churchill's famous
book deserves to be read.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Brilliant, as expected 27 Mar 2014
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Should there be doubt that Churchill writes as well as he speaks, this should dispel it. His voice rings from the page.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Good value
Published 18 days ago by tel1
5.0 out of 5 stars The Gathering Storm
I would certainly recommend this product to my pal of 60 years standing.
It was as stated by seller
No complaints.
Published 5 months ago by burra sahib
4.0 out of 5 stars The Gathering Storm by W S Churchill
Any excellent read my impression of this great man is Will we ever see the likes of him again. A man for the time who had unbelievable confidence in his destiny
Published 5 months ago by Terry Heslop
5.0 out of 5 stars Magnificent read
Churchill proves to have been as great a prophet as he became a War leader in this magnificent volume. Read more
Published 6 months ago by Geoff Lord
5.0 out of 5 stars The Gathering Storm (Winston Churchill World War II Collection)
Not a short work, but worthwhile reading as gives insightful anecdotes and meaningful pre-war summary of political situation during 1930's. Read more
Published 8 months ago by optom301
5.0 out of 5 stars We could do with another politician like him
If you want to know about the interwar years in Great Britain and what led to the the Second World War then this book at least gives the reader an insight from one perspective.
Published 9 months ago by Mr. D. Rydings
4.0 out of 5 stars very good read
The Gathering Storm (Winston Churchill World War II Collection, is a very interesting historical book, it documents the frustration Churchill went through during his time out of... Read more
Published 9 months ago by John Russell Henderson
4.0 out of 5 stars history book
I thought this a good book and enjoyed the historical information that passed at the time. Its easy to be critical 50 years or so later
Published 10 months ago by gothursogo
5.0 out of 5 stars A good read
It's well worth the read, History is my favourite subject so it is not surprising this caught my eye. Good read and good value for money!.
Published 10 months ago by Chris Pearson
4.0 out of 5 stars You need grit to stay with it
An interesting read but heavy going when you are nearly 70, trying to remember who is who. Winston Churchill certainly had a good memory.
Published 10 months ago by Patsy C.
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