on 7 August 2013
The Challenge of War by Martin Gilbert is a very good book dealing with Churchill's administration of the Admiralty in the early part of World War One through the disastrous Gallipoli expedition and his subsequent fall from grace and time in the trenches right through to the formation of Lloyd George's coalition government and his apparent marginalisation. The book itself is very well-written, informative and detailed and even though it is by a different author is remarkably similar in both style and substance to the previous volume of this biography. (I know that Martin Gilbert was already involved when the first two volumes were produced but it is still pretty remarkable for there to be little if any change when one author takes over from someone else.) The Churchill who emerges in the early part of this volume is an energetic and lively statesman who vigorously pursues the war effort but has his glittering career cut short by the Gallipoli campaign which he rightly or wrongly is single ousted for. By the end of the book the Churchill who appears is a changed man who at times seems to be brow-beaten by his marginalisation from the highest echelons of British politics but is vigorously trying to defend his reputation, and partly due to his experiences in the trenches is immensely critical of how the war is being run. All in all a very good book.