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The Grand Alliance: The Second World War, Volume 3 (Winston Churchill World War II Collection) Kindle Edition
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The fighting was truly global even when Britain fought alone, due to the resources of its Empire. The Blitz, the German air attacks on England continued, as did the countermeasures, but the possibilities that the Germans could pound England into submission had largely passed. Much of the fighting was in southeastern Europe and the Mediterranean. In general, Britain was still in retreat, as the Balkans and Greece fell. (The resistance in Greece may have played a crucial role in delaying Hitler's attack on the Soviet Union by a month, and thus, enabling Russia's "best ally," its winter, to stop the Germans at the gates of Moscow.) Crete also was lost to German airborne units. The action in North Africa see-sawed back and forth, with the British defeating the Italians, but were then pushed back by the Germans, who reached a high-water mark advance, and were routed in 1942. The 240 day siege of Tobruk notably occurred during this period. There were also maneuvers and fighting in Iraq and Syria. Churchill tells well a few of the uplifting British successes in the first half of 1941, including a chapter devoted to the sinking of the German battleship "Bismarck," and a rout of Italian forces in Abyssinia (Ethiopia), and the subsequent return of the Emperor, as well as successes in the Somalilands.
The second half of the book is rather oddly entitled "War Comes to America" but he commences with the German invasion of the Soviet Union. Much later he was famous for saying that the Red Army "tore the guts out of the Wehrmacht," but in 1941 it was nothing but a series of endless disasters and retreats. In the Kiev encirclement alone, the Russians lost 600,000 men. Churchill also devotes considerable effort to documenting the essential diplomatic efforts, and his meeting with Roosevelt, in order to supply the Russians, and keep them in the war. Only towards the very end of the book does he devote a chapter to Pearl Harbor, and America's entry. Churchill lays the groundwork for the British victories in North Africa, as well as the defeats in Malaya and Singapore, in 1942. Also, in 1942, the Battle for Midway signaled the shift to the dominance of air power in naval battles, but for the British, this was foreshadowed by the loss of the HMS Prince of Wales, one of the most modern battleships, and the HMS Repulse, in the South China Sea. The ships, unprotected by their own air power, were sunk by Japanese land-based aircraft.
As mentioned in reviews of earlier volumes, Churchill's work might not be the best place for an overall objective view of the war. It is long, with numerous original documents that may be of interest only to the specialist. What is also lacking is the behind the scenes views of the other allies, as well as the planning and motivation of the Axis powers. Still, Churchill was ideally suited to provide the British perspective, both diplomatically and militarily, and he does he quite well. There are some excellent maps, and numerous appendix with more detailed information on troop and material strengths. 5-stars.
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