THE FRINGES OF POWER: DOWNING STREET DIARIES 1939-1955
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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.Read more ›