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The definitive, Nobel Prize–winning history of World War II, universally acknowledged as a magnificent historical reconstruction and an enduring work of literature

 

From Britain''s darkest and finest hour to the great alliance and ultimate victory, the Second World War remains the most pivotal event of the twentieth century. Winston Churchill was not only the war''s greatest leader, he was the free world''s singularly eloquent voice of defiance in the face of Nazi tyranny, and it''s that voice that animates this six-volume history. Remarkable both for its sweep and for its sense of personal involvement, it begins with The Gathering Storm; moves on to Their Finest Hour, The Grand Alliance, The Hinge of Fate, and Closing the Ring; and concludes with Triumph and Tragedy.

Amazon.com Review

"After the end of the World War of 1914 there was a deep conviction and almost universal hope that peace would reign in the world. This heart''s desire of all the peoples could easily have been gained by steadfastness in righteous convictions, and by reasonable common sense and prudence."
But we all know that''s not what happened. As Britain''s prime minister for most of the Second World War, Winston Churchill--whose career had to that point already encompassed the roles of military historian and civil servant with a proficiency in both that few others could claim--had a unique perspective on the conflict, and as soon as he left office in 1945, he began to set that perspective down on paper. To measure the importance of The Second World War, it is worth remembering that there are no parallel accounts from either of the other Allied leaders, Roosevelt and Stalin. We have in this multivolume work an account that contains both comprehensive sweep and intimate detail. Almost anybody who compiles a list of such works ranks it highly among the nonfiction books of the 20th century.

In the opening volume, The Gathering Storm, Churchill tracks the erosion of the shaky peace brokered at the end of the First World War, followed by the rise to power of Adolf Hitler and the Nazis and their gradual spread from beyond Germany''s borders to most of the European continent. Churchill foresaw the coming crisis and made his opinion known quite clearly throughout the latter ''30s, and this book concludes on a vindicating note, with his appointment in May 1940 as prime minister, after which he recalls that "I felt as if I were walking with destiny, and that all my past life had been but a preparation for this hour and for this trial."

Their Finest Hour concerns itself with 1940. France falls, and England is left to face the German menace alone. Soon London is under siege from the air--and Churchill has a few stories of his own experiences during the Blitz to share--but they persevere to the end of what Churchill calls "the most splendid, as it was the most deadly, year in our long English and British history." They press on in The Grand Alliance, liberating Ethiopia from the Italians and lending support to Greece. Then, when Hitler reneges on his non-aggression pact with the Soviet Union (the very signing of which had proved Stalin and his commissars "the most completely outwitted bunglers of the Second World War"), the Allied team begins to coalesce. The bombing of Pearl Harbor by the Japanese makes the participation of the United States in the war official, and this is of "the greatest joy" to Churchill: "How long the war would last or in what fashion it would end no man could tell, nor did I at that moment care. Once again in our long island history we should emerge, however mauled or mutilated, safe and victorious."

But as the fourth volume, The Hinge of Fate, reveals, success would not happen overnight. The Japanese military still held strong positions in the Pacific theater, and Rommel''s tank corps were on the offensive in Africa. After a string of military defeats, Churchill''s opponents in Parliament introduced a motion for a censure vote; this was handily defeated, and victory secured in Africa, then Italy. By this time, Churchill had met separately with both Roosevelt and Stalin; the second half of volume 5, Closing the Ring, brings the three of them together for the first time at the November 1943 conference in Teheran. This book closes on the eve of D-day: "All the ships were at sea. We had the mastery of the oceans and of the air. The Hitler tyranny was doomed."

And so, in the concluding volume, Triumph and Tragedy, the Allies push across Europe and take the fight to Berlin. President Roosevelt''s death shortly before final victory against Germany affected Churchill deeply, "as if I had been struck a physical blow," and he would later regret not attending the funeral and meeting Harry Truman then, instead of at the Potsdam conference after Germany''s defeat. Churchill himself would not be there for the conclusion to the war against Japan; in July of 1945, a general election in Britain brought in a Labor government (or, as he refers to them, "Socialists"), and he resigned immediately, for "the verdict of the electors had been so overwhelmingly expressed that I did not wish to remain even for an hour responsible for their affairs."

About the Author

Winston S. Churchill (1874-1965) has been called by historians "the man of the twentieth century." Prime Minister of Great Britain (1940-1945), Churchill won the Nobel prize for literature in 1953.

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4.7 out of 54.7 out of 5
210 global ratings

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Top reviews from the United States

Robert J Greenwalt Jr
2.0 out of 5 starsVerified Purchase
Bad printing
Reviewed in the United States on May 16, 2018
The first volume was printed incorrectly. Page 265 was followed by page 296 -- 31 missing pages of text! Horrible quality control
47 people found this helpful
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K. J
5.0 out of 5 starsVerified Purchase
Love Winston Churchill
Reviewed in the United States on July 13, 2015
Great collection. The nickname Lion is so well suited for this man. Amazing historical. This is how we should conduct politics now in certain areas now. History does repeat itself. Out political Leaders now should read this themselves. I never get tired of reading anything... See more
Great collection. The nickname Lion is so well suited for this man. Amazing historical. This is how we should conduct politics now in certain areas now. History does repeat itself. Out political Leaders now should read this themselves. I never get tired of reading anything about Winston Churchill.
Britain was blessed to have someone like this during those time.
16 people found this helpful
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Jeff Kaminski
5.0 out of 5 starsVerified Purchase
Incredible history
Reviewed in the United States on January 31, 2019
Extremely well written, engaging, detailed, and insightful. Slanted slightly toward the British view, as one would naturally expect, but on the whole very balanced and incredibly informative. Churchill had a gift for leadership and for writing, and both of those strengths... See more
Extremely well written, engaging, detailed, and insightful. Slanted slightly toward the British view, as one would naturally expect, but on the whole very balanced and incredibly informative. Churchill had a gift for leadership and for writing, and both of those strengths are on full display in these volumes.
3 people found this helpful
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Felipe Posada
5.0 out of 5 starsVerified Purchase
It has an affordable price although a paperback gets great deterioration as it is being read
Reviewed in the United States on March 13, 2018
It is a must have piece of history written by one of the most important characters of WWII. It has an affordable price although a paperback gets great deterioration as it is being read, after few readers go through its pages, it gets derelict. None the less, I will... See more
It is a must have piece of history written by one of the most important characters of WWII. It has an affordable price although a paperback gets great deterioration as it is being read, after few readers go through its pages, it gets derelict.
None the less, I will take extra care when reading, it is a good bargain.
4 people found this helpful
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Steve Arrigo
3.0 out of 5 starsVerified Purchase
Not for people who wear glasses
Reviewed in the United States on September 26, 2018
Tibet print is hard to see even with my readers
3 people found this helpful
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FLP
5.0 out of 5 starsVerified Purchase
Inspiring writer!
Reviewed in the United States on May 22, 2018
What a man! What a writer! England was so very fortunate to have Churchhill during WWII!
5 people found this helpful
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Paul D. Lunde
5.0 out of 5 starsVerified Purchase
Good set of books.
Reviewed in the United States on April 7, 2019
I am in the process of reading Churchill''s set of books on World War II. I have finished reading Vol. 1 and am now reading Vol. 2. This set is about 1/2 the cost of the original set.
2 people found this helpful
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Melissa M
5.0 out of 5 starsVerified Purchase
Great Read
Reviewed in the United States on February 15, 2020
Excellent account of the British contribution to the war as told by their leader. I will definitely read more written by Sir Winston Churchill. Unfortunately, the printing isn’t sharp and words are occasionally difficult to make out. That is not a reflection of the... See more
Excellent account of the British contribution to the war as told by their leader. I will definitely read more written by Sir Winston Churchill. Unfortunately, the printing isn’t sharp and words are occasionally difficult to make out. That is not a reflection of the book’s excellent contents.
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Aaron McLoughlin
5.0 out of 5 starsVerified Purchase
Five Stars
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on October 4, 2015
Excellent first hand account of WWII. Most of what I learned in school seems to be wrong.
Excellent first hand account of WWII. Most of what I learned in school seems to be wrong.
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Amazon Customer
5.0 out of 5 starsVerified Purchase
A great read!
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on March 23, 2018
Great condition. Just as described
Great condition. Just as described
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Luis M Castellvi
4.0 out of 5 starsVerified Purchase
Actor de privilegio, visión parcial
Reviewed in Spain on May 21, 2020
Churchill fue una personalidad notabilísima del s XX y esta obra reúne elementos únicos de su privilegiada posición durante la Segunda Guerra Mundial. Y en esa posición precisamente está su mayor virtud y su peor defecto. Los operativos de la contienda en los que participó...See more
Churchill fue una personalidad notabilísima del s XX y esta obra reúne elementos únicos de su privilegiada posición durante la Segunda Guerra Mundial. Y en esa posición precisamente está su mayor virtud y su peor defecto. Los operativos de la contienda en los que participó son descritos minuciosamente (en ocasiones, con demasiado detalle para una obra general como debería ser esta). Su correspondencia con Roosevelt, Stalin, Eisenhower y sus relaciones con De Gaulle presentan especial interés. Sin embargo, estos seis tomos tocan de puntillas la guerra del Pacífico en la que tuvo una participación menos activa comparada con su protagonismo en Europa y Africa, no cubren suficientemente la represión a los judíos y tratan diversas episodios de la guerra de forma muy desigual: dedicar prácticamente la misma extensión al dia D que a la batalla de Luzón en Filipinas es sólo un ejemplo. Churchill escribe y muy bien sobre lo que vivió directamente, silencia lo que no le interesa se divulgue y casi ignora donde no intervino. Pese a todo, esta obra es de obligada consulta para historiadores y aficionados. Gracias, Winston!.
Churchill fue una personalidad notabilísima del s XX y esta obra reúne elementos únicos de su privilegiada posición durante la Segunda Guerra Mundial. Y en esa posición precisamente está su mayor virtud y su peor defecto. Los operativos de la contienda en los que participó son descritos minuciosamente (en ocasiones, con demasiado detalle para una obra general como debería ser esta). Su correspondencia con Roosevelt, Stalin, Eisenhower y sus relaciones con De Gaulle presentan especial interés. Sin embargo, estos seis tomos tocan de puntillas la guerra del Pacífico en la que tuvo una participación menos activa comparada con su protagonismo en Europa y Africa, no cubren suficientemente la represión a los judíos y tratan diversas episodios de la guerra de forma muy desigual: dedicar prácticamente la misma extensión al dia D que a la batalla de Luzón en Filipinas es sólo un ejemplo. Churchill escribe y muy bien sobre lo que vivió directamente, silencia lo que no le interesa se divulgue y casi ignora donde no intervino. Pese a todo, esta obra es de obligada consulta para historiadores y aficionados. Gracias, Winston!.
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stephen clodd
5.0 out of 5 starsVerified Purchase
Amazing series
Reviewed in Canada on July 29, 2021
Amazing series this is a big under taking but well worth it. If you deem yourself a ww2 history buff this is a must have for your collection. This book differs from your average history book because you get the point of view from one of the major influences of the war. The...See more
Amazing series this is a big under taking but well worth it. If you deem yourself a ww2 history buff this is a must have for your collection. This book differs from your average history book because you get the point of view from one of the major influences of the war. The series contains many correspondence between Churchill and many of the lead military leaders as well as the main political leaders. This book gives you both political and military views, and really gives you a wide view of all the different struggles not just on the war front. I would say this series is a cross between memoirs and history as you will tell you his thoughts and then actual accounts! I highly recommend this series and hope anyone who buys it enjoys it as much as I did.
Amazing series this is a big under taking but well worth it. If you deem yourself a ww2 history buff this is a must have for your collection. This book differs from your average history book because you get the point of view from one of the major influences of the war. The series contains many correspondence between Churchill and many of the lead military leaders as well as the main political leaders. This book gives you both political and military views, and really gives you a wide view of all the different struggles not just on the war front. I would say this series is a cross between memoirs and history as you will tell you his thoughts and then actual accounts! I highly recommend this series and hope anyone who buys it enjoys it as much as I did.
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RENATO MONTEIRO OLINO
5.0 out of 5 starsVerified Purchase
Churchill...
Reviewed in Brazil on September 14, 2020
Estou no terceiro volume. Que obra prima! A obra deixa claro o quão visionário foi Churchill, descrevendo todos os acontecimentos e demonstrando, com comunicados, minutas e telegramas todas as decisões tomadas nos bastidores da guerra. Vale o investimento.
Estou no terceiro volume. Que obra prima! A obra deixa claro o quão visionário foi Churchill, descrevendo todos os acontecimentos e demonstrando, com comunicados, minutas e telegramas todas as decisões tomadas nos bastidores da guerra. Vale o investimento.
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