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THE FRINGES OF POWER: DOWNING STREET DIARIES 1939-1955

5.0 out of 5 stars 2 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Paperback
  • Publisher: PHOENIX (2005)
  • ASIN: B001ZUPLNU
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 6,994,321 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Format: Hardcover
John Colville was a man blessed with good fortune. Born to a well-connected upper-class family, he excelled in school and capped his academic career with a first in history at Trinity College Cambridge. Fascinated by current events, he passed the Foreign Office entrance exam on the first try and was posted to the Middle East before returning home just prior to the outbreak of the Second World War. A little more than a month after the start of hostilities, he was seconded to 10 Downing Street as an assistant private secretary, an assignment that gave him a privileged vantage point from which to witness events.

Colville's decision to keep a diary predated his posting, reflecting his desire to capture his impressions about the war that he experienced. His transfer to the office of the Prime Minister, however, transformed it into a priceless firsthand account of British politics during the war. It is the first part of the diary, covering Colville's observations from September 1939 until his transfer to the RAF in October 1941, that is the highlight of the book, yet the later sections covering his return to Downing Street in 1943-5 and again in Churchill's postwar ministry are also enjoyable for their insights. Winston Churchill is naturally at the heart of these diaries, and though Colville edited his diaries for publication he let stand many of his comments from that time no matter how inaccurate and embarrassing they must have seemed later. This only enhances their value, allowing the reader to see Colville's evolving attitude towards him, which begins with concerns for Churchill's "ineffective, and indeed harmful" (p.108) efforts as First Lord before coming to respect and admire him as Prime Minister.
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Format: Hardcover
colville john rupert 1915 1987. was churchill private secretary during ww2. those diaries are unique and are a must for churchillans.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)

Amazon.com: 5.0 out of 5 stars 1 review
5.0 out of 5 stars is this the revised edition? 27 Sept. 2013
By robin - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover
Probably as good as, if not better than Chips Channon's diaries.An absolute must for anyone who both appreciates good writing and is interested in the period.
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