Monday, January 31, 2011

8. The Second World War: Alone

By:  Winston Churchill
Rated 5 Stars
Audio Book

This is book 2 of Churchill's 4 volume autobiography/history  of World War Two.

Product Description:

"After the first forty days we were alone", writes Churchill. This edition is part two of Churchill's own abridgement of his original six-volume history of the Second World War."

Alone: May 1940-May 1941 - starts with the fall of France: May-June 1940-- with 350,000 British and French soldiers trapped near the French port city of Dunkirk, on the Channel coast near the Pas de Calais. As the Germans inexplicably pause a few miles away from the seemingly doomed Allied forces, the British execute Operation Dynamo, the quickly improvised and mounted evacuation of almost the entire British Expeditionary Force and a few contingents of French soldiers. Using ships and boats of all sizes and types (including civilian pleasure craft and motorboats), the Royal Navy pulls off this daring mission, known as the "Miracle at Dunkirk."

But even though the "little ships" have carried the soldiers to safety in Britain, most of the BEF's heavy weapons (tanks, armored cars, and artillery) has to be left behind, and until the British divisions can be refit and re-equipped, Great Britain -- with her determined and inspiring Priime Minister Winston Churchill -- faces Nazi Germany's dreaded Luftwaffe, U-boats, and even the threat of a sea-borne invasion alone for the next 12 months.

Alone: May 1940-May 1941 covers:

* The German pause at the gates of Dunkirk and the evacuation of the BEF

* The preparations on both sides for the expected German invasion of Britain, including a discussion on various Nazi attack plans, the frantic effort to beef up shore defenses all along the island's coastline, and the training of the Home Guard.

* The Battle of Britain, Germany's ill-fated and poorly executed attempt to "soften up" Britain prior to Operation Sea Lion, which was cancelled when the Luftwaffe failed to defeat the Royal Air Force and gain air supremacy over the British Isles.

* The Blitz, Hitler's attempt to bomb Britain into submission in a series of almost nightly air raids against London and other major cities; these went on for months and ceased only a few weeks before Hitler attacked Russia on June 22, 1941.

7. The Second World War; Milestones to Disaster

By:  Winston S. Churchill
Rated 5+
Audio Book

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.

Product Description:

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.

The Taming of the Shrew

By:  William Shakespeard &
BBC Time Life Films
Rated 5+
From:  Library

This play is my favorite Shakespeare comedy. And, as a fan of Monty Python having John Cleese play Petruchio makes it all the funnier.

Product Description:

Baptista will not allow his saccharine younger daughter Bianca to marry until someone can rid him of his obstreperous older daughter Katherine. The swaggering Petruchio (John Cleese) , eager to wive it wealthily in Padua, agrees to do just this. He proceeds to break her. First, he cools her scalding wit by putting his tongue in her tale; nearly jilts her on her wedding night and then shows up at the church in antic garb; forbids her food, sleep and the beautiful clothes he himself had tailored for her, all on the pretense of providing for her; lastly, commands that she call the sun the moon, the moon the sun, an elderly gentlemen a fresh virgin and then refute her own assertions, all according to his whim.

Meanwhile, Bianca has three suitors: the gray-bearded Gremio, the youngish Hortensio and the young and handsome Lucentio. Lucentio disguises himself as a tutor named Cambio. Hortensio disguises himself as a tutor named Litio. Tranio, Lucentio's servant, disguises himself as Lucentio, at Lucentio's request. A traveling pedant disguises himself as Vincentio, Lucentio's father, also at Luciento's request. Later, the real Vincentio shows up.