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Gripping history recounted from and at a very high level
am 15. Mai 2000
I bought Churchill's 6-volume history of the Second World War many years ago, but did not find the strength to begin reading it until some time later. The effect was immediate. Although it took me over a year to read all of it, that was only because I have long had the habit of reading a number of books concurrently. I simply couldn't put Churchill down. To say that the story of World War II is a gripping one, is to put it mildly. How much more gripping do you think it might be in the hands of that one unique individual who was both one of the central players and the recorder of the events themselves. At times, I found myself actually wanting certain historical events to go in favour of the Allies although, naturally, I already knew the outcome! Such is the effect of Churchill's writing.
In the second volume "Their Finest Hour," Britain was holding the fort against Hitler alone. After Dunkirk, spirits were low all over the place and the value of Dr Goebells's secret weapon was able to come into play with great effect. One can imagine the feeling of the citizenry of Britain at that time, trapped as they felt themselves to be in that little island, with an unbeaten army just across the channel snarling at them. The whys and wherefores of the actions of both Hitler and the German General Staff at that time, can be discussed until you are blue in the face. The fact is that, although most people on both sides of the Atlantic thought they were about to hop across and finish the job, the Germans hesitated, mainly for lack of a plan, and lost the chance. I don't know for sure if Churchill also thought the British might have been defeated in July, August or September of 1940, but from the end of that odd period of stalemate, he never looked back.
This is fine writing by a, dare I say, highly experienced writer who was right in the thick of things almost from the word go. What a stroke of luck it was that Churchill, like Caesar but unlike Napoleon, both lived it and wrote it.