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on 29 June 2000
When this series of books by Churchill on the war was condensed into one affordable volume, my first response was to buy it. I found it to be a highly skilled piece of work by a man who set a new standard in literary excellence. For his work Churchill was awarded the Nobel Prize for Literature, it is well deserved.
The book is split into six basic sections covering the various stages of the war. What was added to the abridged version is an account of the years after the end of the war untill 1957. This shows his thoughts on the General Election defeat and of course his 'iron curtain speech' that proved highly unpopular because it proved highly accurate.
The book also leaves us in no doubt as to Churchill's feelings on taking the Premiership, and more interestingly on the period leading up to the war. Not only are the nineteen thirties traced in the run up to his depiction of the war but this book starts in 1919. Historians today would see this as common sense, but at the time this shows Winston Churchill lead a path that others were to follow; in his mistrust of Hitler, his calls for re-armament and his prediction of the Cold War.
A great book by a great man!
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on 10 February 2001
It is the first time that I have read a book by Churchill, but it will not be the last. A clear author whose prose is superb, now I do understand perfectly why he was given the nobel prize for literature. It is an excellent account of the WWII written by one of its main characters. It is specially interesting his ability to foresee what the consequences of the invasion of Eastern Europe by the Soviets would be. This work is a must if you want to be knowleadgeable about WWII. However, I do not share Mr. Churchill's opinions about the Spanish Civil War.
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on 25 January 2013
As with all memoirs, they have a tendency to be self-serving. Churchill's is no different. Though, as ever, the story of this man is well told. His accounts of his own political feelings and struggles, within his own government as well as with Allies, are very interesting aspect covered in this work. Churchill's contributions and his handling of Stalin and Roosevelt were masterful, and his far-sighted mind was able to see the dire threat posed by both the Nazi-Fascist alliance and the COM intern, long before anyone else seemed to. His relationship with the United States, carefully cultivated, encouraged the Americans to see Britain as a cause worth helping. The Lend-lease and Convoy support were essential before their entry into the war.

However, he is disingenuous over his military commands and decision making abilities. Churchill was the ultimate ameuter strategist. The Royal Navy and British Army paid for his naivety in Norway in 1940, when, ironically, his disastrous campaign and the blame for it was deflected onto Chamberlain - the man Churchill would replace less than a month later.

A masterful manipulator - and opportunist (as Hitler was) Churchill manoeuvred himself into the Premiership 'hot seat'. From there his interference in military affairs was most unwelcome. His campaigns in Crete and Greece in 1941, over which he had considerable influence, were a disaster also. While he understood the political context of military strategy, he was debilitating unable to understand how to execute it.

His reputation had slumped by 1942 to such an extent his position was under threat. But the new generation of British commanders were resistant to his meddling, and the victories in Burma in late 1942, in North Africa, followed by the Atlantic in May 1943 removed the threat. As Hitler began to interfere more and more, Churchill withdrew, and with it British battlefield performance increased. Nevertheless, he continued to interfere in military strategy, leading to the failed Dodecanese Campaign, one of the last German success of the war.

Not much of his failings make into his memoirs.

His Mediterranean strategy, though ineffective without Normandy - which he was utterly opposed but forced into by the Americans - facilitated the victory on the Western Front(s), and kept Italy firmly rooted in the camp of NATO at the end of the war. I was one of his stand-out achievements.

Churchill's real contribution to the war effort came at the home front as well as his ability to deal with the Allied heads. Improving morale and hardening resolve prepared the nation for the long struggle ahead. That was his legacy; a titanic and mesmerising orator who could galvanise a nation.
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on 15 March 2003
If you want to know how something happened, the best way to find out is to ask someone who was there. Similarly, the 6 volume history of WW2 written by the only Allied leader involved throughout, provides the best insight to the biggest event of the 20th century and a background of the repercussions it had for world peace and political balance for the rest of the century, especially the Cold War.
Despite it being over 1000 pages long I was concerned that as an abridged version I would be missing out on war detail by reading it rather than the complete version. Not true, the main thing missing is operational detail which is not hugely missed as part of the narrative.
As well as describing the highs and lows, victories and defeats during the war, Churchill talks in candid detail of his relationship with other leaders around the world especially FDR who he clearly had such a wonderful relationship with. His confidence and leadership qualities are evident throughout the book and the overall style of writing (what some might describe as stuff) is perfect, really making you feel that you are there.
He is also not afraid to describe his concerns for the future to the 20th century, describing concerns relating to Kashmir, the Cold War and the Middle East making the reader wonder whether this was written in more current times.
On the lighter side the book provides a surprising insight to Churchill the man - his love of painting, classic literature, and apparently leading the country from his bed!
All in all, a great read (and if anyone has school essays to write relating to WW2 there is no greater reference book)
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on 15 December 2013
We should never forget if not for hime things would not be as they are it should be used as a teaching tool
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on 5 May 2015
Simply excellent in every way !
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on 19 January 2016
made a very giid present
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on 5 January 2015
very good book good read
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on 6 May 2015
Great read
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on 16 October 2014
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