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4.3 out of 5 stars
The Second World War, Volume 2: Their Finest Hour
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on 13 June 2013
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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on 13 November 2013
For someone who was born when the Second world War had finished by a few years, this is a wonderful insight into Churchill's role as leader of the British and Commonwealth countries, and it's relationship with the US. The man wrote so many letters and memos to President Roosevelt, armed forces chief and Ministers of State, it is a wonder that the great man didn't die of exhaustion before the conflict was over. So far, on that score, it is a great book.

However, this e-book had one big flaw, which almost spoilt my reading of it. How an ebook is prepared and published, I'm not sure. Presumably the an original copy is scanned by a machine and transferred into a format that can publish it via the Internet. In this book, and I haven't finished it yet, the pages are littered with errors, to the point that it stops your flow as you have to sit there and work out what the word should be. To give an example; the word 'Une' cropped up. Eventually, I realised that the word that should be there was 'line'. The capital 'U' was in fact, 'li'.

It may seem to be a petty complaint, but these types of errors are there in great numbers. The worst I've come across in the ebooks that I've read so far.
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
on 3 August 2012
This is a classic, a great book by a great man and essential reading for anyone even remotely interested in modern European history. Getting a copy for the Kindle should have been a delight but sadly my enjoyment is being spoiled by appalling proof reading. It is not enough to just scan the book in, someone has to go through it and apply a bit of common sense. I am averaging about one glaring error every couple of pages and it is getting very irritating.

And don't get me started about the quality of the maps. Not at all sure about this Kindle thing......

Please don't let this review stop you from reading the book, just be aware that you are probably going to enjoy it much more in hard copy.

N
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on 18 February 2013
Having read 'The Gathering Storm', and noted a few typographical and typesetting errors I had hope that 'Their Finest Hour' would have benefitted from a closer proof-reading exercise by either the publisher or Amazon. My hopes were dashed.

The quality of the writing, the story told and the insight given to anyone interested in the political and structural workings of Government at this crucial time of the World War remains good; however, what would have otherwise been a smooth, enjoyable read through of the events were continually foiled by the need to determine specific words, phrases and emphases as a result of errors both in spelling and typographical translation.

Having not read the paper version of this book, I cannot know for sure, but I speculate that neither Mr Churchill, nor the original publisher would have allowed the manuscript into public circulation without a closer scrutiny of its quality.

Now I really hope Volume 3 is subject to a magnifying glass! Must do better Amazon.
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on 5 October 2013
Churchill was regarded as something of a warmonger in the 30's. He was fully aware of this of course, and this book, written around 1949, reveals his side of the debate. How, from his 1st WW experience and before, he was highly attuned to growing signs of rearmament in Hitler's Germany, signs which fell on cloth ears in Parliament which was full of pacifist MPs, mostly anxious to get returned in the 1936 general election and not wanting to appear to support arming and another war, so soon after the end of WW1. The British government's approach, which temporarily avoided rearmament and conscription, was to allow the League of Nations to deal with Hitler, but in the event this clearly didn't work.
Composed in a rather gushing 19th century style of English, which sounds a little foreign to 21st century ears, Churchill tells a riveting story. This book that can easily be read in a few days.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on 1 April 2013
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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on 8 November 2012
This and all Churchill's books are essential for anyone studying this conflict. Not the last word as it records the views and experiences of one person from his own aspect, so may leave out things which the author would rather not draw too much attention to, and may be incomplete in other directions. It needs to be read along with other accounts. The primary sources included are of the greatest value. The book answers many questions - did Hitler really intend to invade Britain, and if he did, when did he give up the intention to do so? What conditions had to be met for Operation Sealion to be feasible? These important issues are addressed.
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18 of 23 people found the following review helpful
on 7 October 2007
It's not often you get a history of a war written by a statesman who was a major player in it; basically, there's this and anything written by Julius Caesar. Churchill is a considerably more prolix writer than Caesar, but he also had a better sense of humour.

This and the second volume of Churchill's history (not so much an authoritative history as a six-volume memoir of How I Fought The War) are probably the most gripping books, covering as they do the crucial period after the fall of France in which Britain was alone against the Nazis. Churchill's lifelong problem as a politician was that he was inclined to over-dramatise the events in which he was concerned, but during 1940, events finally got as big and as important as he was naturally inclined to believe them to be. And, it must be said, he delivered. He was the man for the hour, even if he wasn't as brilliant a military leader as he liked to think he was (like Hitler he was inclined to micro-manage, but he never fell into the trap of losing all faith in his generals). His speeches in particular helped to galvanise a mood and articulate a sense of defiance, such that even if you disagreed with him you found it hard to say so. And he was always wisely conscious of the vital importance of wooing Roosevelt. He himself said that when he learned of the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor, he went to sleep happy and content in the knowledge that there was now no longer any chance that the Germans and Japanese could win - Britain and America together would be unbeatable.

He was right about that. He wasn't always entirely accurate in his retelling of events. Probably the most riveting story in the whole series is his account of how he came to be Prime Minister in the first place, and his version of events has been authoritatively challenged; in retelling it here, Churchill made himself out to be less sure than he really had been that he would be offered the position. This version is more dramatic, but the truth would have been nice. Still, it's a good read.
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on 28 October 2014
Having read a number of histories of this period I had never read Churchill's own account. I purchased the kindle version for taking on holiday. Of course it is biased being Churchill's own account and written while he was still an active politician. It was fascination to understand his thinking and to realise even more how prescient he had been in the 1930s. An excellent book, I will certainly read the other volumes (I am halfway through volume 2 at the moment).
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on 26 September 2013
For any student of history; for anyone with an interest in the prelude to World War II or for anyone who wishes to know what it is to be a leader I urge you to read this book.

I must add that the book is not always easy and that it contains a great deal of fact. It is not a beach or airplane read for everyone but it is a book that everyone (and in particular out political representatives) should or MUST read!
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