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It is fortunate for us as readers that Winston Churchill not only had the qualities of a writer, but that he also found the time to put them to such good effect. Many a retired politician has written his personal memoirs-few of them have ever done so quite as completely. In the war, Churchill used secretaries to help him cover the multitude of daily tasks he needed to get through and afterwards, when living at Chartwell, his home in Kent, he kept up the practise of using an amanuensis instead of writing himself. This allowed him to get far more work done, since he could literally do it with his eyes closed. Nevertheless, we may feel sure that the text is his own. Proud man that he surely was, there is little chance that he indulged anyone in much editing. When we see his virtually unedited copy sent from the field from India, the Sudan and South Africa at the end of the last century, we can feel sure that by the 1950s, he was a competent composer of text indeed. "Closing the Ring" is the story of the climax of the Second World War. Although he refused to admit it, Hitler probably knew deep down what everybody else could see very clearly after Stalingrad. The once mighty armies of the Third Reich were being forced to withdraw; some of the best divisions had by then been so savaged that little remained. Berlin was being mercilessly ground down to rubble by legions of British and American heavy bombers that ended up attacking their targets almost unopposed. It was the time when madness reigned in the Fuhrerbunker and when the Allies could see the fruit of their careful planning starting to ripen. Churchill was at once rewarded by the knowledge that he had been right in thinking America invincible, and at the same time he was sadly aware that an era was passing and the British Empire was fading away in front of his eyes. This is a long sustained narrative, written by a man in full command of his enormous personal resources. In addition, Churchill had access to a vast quantity of documentation concerning the period, because he had written much of that too! Frankly, this is an admirable work of history, told with a writer's gift for spinning a yarn and I enjoyed every word of it.
32 of 34 people found the following review helpful
As I've written elsewhere, this edition of this wonderful series is badly produced for the Kindle by the use of a optical scanner that errs often. The producers did not even apply a spellchecker, which would have caught some significant percentage of the errors.
13 of 13 people found the following review helpful
Churchill writes narrative as well as he gives speeches. The fascinating thing about this volume is the not yet recognized decline of Great Britain and its empire by Churchill. Even though Britain played a big role in the war it is slowly being moved to the margins. This was apparent during the Tehran conference when Roosevelt refused to meet in private with Chruchill because he was concerned it would look like the Anglo-Americans were conspiring. Great reading.
However, this scanned version of Churchill's history is chock full of misspelled words. Couldn't someone at least proof read it before putting it out there in digital form?
12 of 12 people found the following review helpful
As with the other volumes in his monumental history, Churchill's language is sparkling and, from a literary standpoint, practically genius. The man really knows how to turn a phrase, to use the English language to its best advantage. As literature, this book is wonderful, and I recommend it highly. As history, it may be less important. Everyone acknowledges the work's idiosyncracies; it's Churchill's view, not a balanced attempt to cover the whole war. To be fair to WSC, he knew what it was, and made no pretense about it. But, after the USA came on to the European scene in mid-1943, Britain's position of authority declined, so there's less for Churchill to describe or represent. He's reduced to saying innumberable times "We were forced to accept our Ally's view." The reader, especially one who has read the first four books, can tell that he's no longer so engaged by the magnitude of events. He covers a year here in only 2/3 the space it took him in any previous volume. Maybe he's just exhausted, but whatever the reason, *Closing the Ring* lacks the grandiose-ness of the previous entries.
Book is very well written and is a must for true WWII history buffs. Possibly a little too detailed at times. The Appendix section is a must read for a true history buff. Many of the tables and charts are not readable on my Kindle.