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Winston’s War Paperback – 4 Jul 2011

4.4 out of 5 stars 49 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Paperback: 704 pages
  • Publisher: HarperCollins; New Ed edition (4 July 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0006498000
  • ISBN-13: 978-0006498001
  • Product Dimensions: 11.1 x 3.7 x 17.8 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (49 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 246,061 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Product description

Review

‘Michael Dobbs’ latest novel is a vividly realised record of the events surrounding the great Briton’s remarkable rise. An intriguing tale of espionage and treason … a work to enthral. This novel never ceases to be compelling.’
Stephanie Cross, Daily Mail

‘Churchill is a brooding presence … as riveting as Francis Urquhart. Dobbs’ novel is astonishingly historically accurate. He certainly knows where all the skeletons are hidden and where every body is buried. He manages to give a vivid impression of the seamier side of politics in the year that immediately preceded the outbreak of war … compelling.’
Anthony Howard, The Times

‘Dobbs has done a brilliant job in evoking the drama and despair of Britain hovering on the edge of the abyss.’
Sunday Express

‘Michael Dobbs weaves a fascinating tale of conspiracy, blackmail and treachery … This page-turning, meaty, densely textured wartime thriller unblinkingly dissects the wealthy oligarchy that nearly ruined Britain and throws a very new light on Burgess and his place in history.’
Myles McWeeney, Irish Independent

From the Publisher

The story of Churchill’s return to power and the part played by the man who would later be revealed as a Soviet spy provide the inspiration for a fascinating novel that sheds new light on one of the most remarkable periods of British history. As well as being one of the country’s most successful novelists, Michael Dobbs is an increasingly prominent media figure. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Customer Reviews

4.4 out of 5 stars
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Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover
As Churchill's growling tones lift off the page, you are immediately engaged with this remarkable book. Dobb's skill with dialogue is supreme. He inhabits this book with some pretty rum people. You recoil as you get a string whiff of the stale tobacco and whisky that seem to permeate the KGB agent, Guy Burgess - yet you can only marvel at his Machiavellian mind. Joseph Kennedy's evil is palpable. It reads like a fly-on-the-wall documentary, as Dobbs gives colour, flesh and vitality to long dead monochrome players. Like the Trumpers' barber, you eavesdrop on history. Would all such historical books be so true to life. I commend it to other readers.
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Format: Paperback
I approached this book with some trepidition but was pleasantly surprised. The characters stand out as very real, it's as if Mr Dodds was a bystander on all the important conversations and goings on leading to the outbreak of WW2.
I would recommend to anyone who has a passing interest in the subject matter
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By A Customer on 9 Sept. 2003
Format: Paperback
The House of Cards man excels himself yet again. Winston's War gives a fascinating fly on the wall insight into the behind the scenes intrigue taking place in the corridors of power in the 20 months leading up to May 1940. I was compelled to have the "Chronicle of the 20th Century" open in front of me to check facts and dates and it was absolutely spot on in every detail.
When this novel is turned into a mini-series, as it surely must be, it will be the 21st century's equivalent of the Forsyte Saga in the 1960's.
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Format: Paperback
Unfortunately I read this novel in parallel with "Eminent Churchillians" by Andrew Roberts, and I was left with the strong suspicion at times that Roberts' chapter on the Tory Party was almost being cut-and-pasted into the Dobbs book.
The anachronistic dialogue irritates (did high civil servants in the 1930's really use the f-word continuously?), but the explanation of the Churchill succession to the Premiership is certainly ingenious. The minor characters seem rather to lose their way, and to be tidied up at the end almost as after-thoughts. Dobbs might have skipped some of them and given us a bit more insight into the minds of Joe Kennedy and Beaverbrook, who are presnted as one-dimensional ogres. Cleverly, JFK appears in a non-speaking part.
Guy Burgess emerges as more interesting than I had expected, but Dobbs has actually attributed some of the stories surrounding Tom Driburg (also a cameo appearance) to Burgess himself - a bit lazy, really.
It's a bit like "Jesus of Nazareth" in a way, because we all know how the story ends before we finish the first page. So full marks to Dobbs for keeping us engaged to the end.
But please don't imagine that reading this book gives you any special insight into Appeasement, Norway and the Fall of Chamberlain - it's good fiction for the beach, quite well researched, but modern history it ain't.
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Format: Paperback
My wife (who has encouraged me to read more in the last few years than I have ever done before, bless her), picked up an unread copy of this in a local charity shop. She thought it might appeal to me...oh boy, was she right! Is it a blend of history and fiction? Is some or all of the history 'bent' to suit the author's own needs and/or his personal view of Churchill? Who cares - it's just a darned good read and most definitely THE best novel that I read in 2003.
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Format: Paperback
This is not a serious academic paper about the life and career of a great British Prime Minister. Using a grotesque paint, and a language understood today, Michael Dobbs shows some of the events leading to Winston Churchill taking over the Government, events about which not much known and which survived more as myths rather than official biography. I think this approach works. Even if, in real life, Guy Burgess, a "Cambridge Five" KGB agent, might not have been so explicit about his sexuality or even if the late King, the Queen Elizabeth II's father, was not such a believer in pacifying Hitler, Dobbs's exagarations are not lies and are well researched. The book reminds the reader that Churchill was a lonely figure in British politics for a long time, disliked by the establishment, and that it took the help of some unlikely creatures, such as Burgess, to make him what he is understood to be by most people today. Overall, an excellent book and, in my opinion, the best Michael Dobbs produced so far (I read them all). It is historic, in places very funny, highly intelligent without becoming pompous and presents ideal material for re-writing it for big screen.
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Format: Hardcover
Weaving fiction and fact in a riveting fashion Winston's War offers entertaining and piercing insights into not only the Greatest Briton but political life in Britain as the country plunged towards war. A must read book in every sense.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
As a fan of Michael Dobbs' work and of Winston Churchill it was a pleasant surprise to come across this historical novel that meets the two worlds.
The book is the first of a series, that takes it under itself to speculate as to Churchill's inner world, conflicts and conversations, while portraying very accurate historical set of events, through parallel plot lines of "common" people and their part in the daily events.

Thus we learn about Mac the barber (who hears all the Whitehall gossip as a fly on the wall) and his affair with the Westminster prostitute Carol, we also hear of army Sergeant Jerry White who partakes in the so called "phony" war the early years of WW2 with the British doomed campaign in the Scandinavians, and his relationship with postmistress Sue, who will play a prominent role later with Churchill's rise to power.
We also get a glimpse of the household of Joe Kennedy, american ambassador and great appeaser, his niece's fictional affair with Churchill's most loyal guy Bracken, and even get a glimpse to the inner court of George VI.
The major story line is of course Churchill and his rise from political exile to greatness, through the unlikely help of one Guy Burgess, the MI5 agent and newsmen, to be known later as a notorious spy to the soviet union.

The story is written very well, and without spoiling too much of the action, i was very much taken by the political conversation, even more than by the fiction story-line of the "common" people.. at first i thought the connection of Burgess/Churchill was too much, but it grows on you, and you actually learn to like Burgess and even relate to his motives, which in retrospective, I still don't understand why Dobbs had done this ... maybe just to spice things a bit.
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