Monday, January 31, 2011
7. The Second World War; Milestones to Disaster
This was originally a part of a four volume history of the Second World Way from Churchill's point of view. He lated abridged and divided the 6 volumes into 4 volumes. This portion was Renamed Milestones to Disaster.
This book is Plan B. As part of the challenge I have set for myself to read the biographies of the people who shaped the world I was born into I first decided to read William Manchester's 2 volume Biography of Churchill. But due to his death the last book, the one that covered the WWII years I decided to instead read the 4 volume Autobiography written by the man himself.
Churchill's history of the Second World War is, and will remain, the definitive work. Lucid, dramatic, remarkable for its breadth and sweep and for its sense of personal involvement, it is universally acknowledged as a magnificent reconstruction.
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.