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Hardcover Churchill: A Life Book

ISBN: 080500615X

ISBN13: 9780805006155

Churchill: A Life

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Book Overview

Martin Gilbert's highly-acclaimed "Churchill: A Life" is a story of adventure. It follows Winston Churchill from his earliest days to his moments of triumph. Here, the drama and excitement of his story are ever-present, as are his tremendous qualities in peace and war, not least as an orator and as a man of vision. Gilbert gives us a vivid portrait, using Churchill's most personal letters and the recollections of his contemporaries, both friends and...

Customer Reviews

4 ratings

The Best One Volume Biography of Churchill

The 90 year life of Winston Churchill is so eventful and important, it is difficult to chronicle in a single volume. Indeed, Churchill's official biography, of which Martin Gilbert was a major author and collaborator, consists of eight volumes. That said, the average reader, interested in the facts of Churchill's life and times, does not have time to read multiple volumes. Thus, a top quality single volume work becomes imperative. This is not simply a condensation of the eight volume work but is rather a new work in its own right, which draws on the eight volume work as a major source. Gilbert also relies heavily on Churchill's own archives, the archives of his wife Clementine and the materials of important persons in Churchill's life such as Lady Asquith. As with all of Gilbert's books, this volume is thorough, authoritative, factual and slightly prosaic. One advantage though is that the book is liberally filled with Churchill's actual written and spoken words. Churchill's words are never dull and liven up the text considerably.The book follows Churchill's life in chronological order from his birth in 1874 through his death in 1965. Although all aspects of his life are touched on, Gilbert's emphasis is on Churchill's public role. The reader unfamiliar with Churchill will be amazed at the number of events of British history in which Churchill played a primary part. In his early twenties, Churchill saw action as an officer and then as a journalist in a number of British colonial wars. Most notably, he was taken prisoner by the Boers during the Boer war, from which he escaped. Originally elected to Parliament as a Conservative during the reign of Victoria, Churchill soon broke with the Tories over the issue of tariffs, which Churchill adamantly opposed. Joining the Liberals, Churchill soon rose to high office. Together with David Lloyd George, Churchill was a major figure in the passage of numerous social and labor reforms. By 1911, Churchill was named First Lord of the Admiralty, where he prepared the British Navy for the conflict with Germany that he sensed was coming. Churchill's career stalled during the First World War when his sound plan to capture Constantinople via Gallipolli, was undermined by the military men charged with carrying it out, Churchill was forced to resign the Admiralty and ultimately saw action as the commander of a Brigade in France. He returned to the cabinet as Minister of Munitions prior to the war's end. After the war, Churchill served as Colonial Secretary where he supported the Zionist movement for a Jewish homeland in Palestine and had much to do with the issuance of the Balfour declaration. He never wavered from his position that a Jewish homeland in Palestine was not only just but that it served British interest. In this, as in so many other areas, Churchill stood largely alone. In his role as Colonial Secretary, Churchill essentially created the modern Arab nation states including Egypt, Jord

A Great Man, A Wonderful Book

Gilbert's one volume biography 'Churhcill: A Life' is a remarkable study of the man who contributed so much to the cause of liberty and to the world of literature. Churchill's life is traced with all the power, wit, and determination that marked Britain's famed war and peacetime Prime Minister. Gilbert's account succeeds on many levels, but perhaps the most illuminating are the portraits he gives us of Churchill during the First World War and in his second Priemership. Churchill's frustration with the government over their unwillingness to clear his name after the Dardenelles fiasco makes for riviting reading and the old man's stubborn refusal to resign from the Prime Ministership in the early fifies gives a unique glimpse into the heart of this great man. Gilbert also gives us a wonderful look at Chruchill the writer as his process of creating his wonderful histories and biographies is examined. Throughtout this work, Gilbert presents Churchill objectivly, but still with a real, personal warmness. Reading the accounts of Chruchill's death at the end of the book make one feel as though they have lost a friend. Winston Churchill was undoubtedly one of the century's most critical figures- he was the man who beat Hitler- but for a personal, deeply moving account Gilbert's work is one that is not to be missed.

A Wonderful One Volume Overview Of Winston Churchill's Life!

No one short of Winston himself is more of an established authority on Winston Churchill than noted British author and historian Sir Martin Gilbert, who renders an intelligent, eminently readable, and carefully culled one-volume overview of his imposing eight volume history of Churchill that took over 25 years to finish. Unlike some of the other recent covers of Churchill, this carefully composed, organized and articulated work covers the entire story of Churchill's incredible life from childhood, supplying a steady stream of memorable anecdotes and constant good humor that punctuates the text and makes the usual drab early years much more entertaining and enjoyable. He takes great pains to describe Churchill's daredevil antics early in life, a man more foolhardy than fool, a man with piercing intellect and a sardonic wit. According to Gilbert, young Winston was always good company, with an endless store of stories he spun with great relish and amazing recall. He had an early sense about the possibilities of technology, and could fly a British bi-plane even before the onset of WWI. He seemed to recognize the potential of such new weaponry to revolutionize warfare, and often took pains to tell anyone who would listen how much more dynamic such things as tanks and artillery could make the modern battlefield. Of course, the events surrounding World War Two provided Churchill with the opportunity of a lifetime; the author argues he was exactly the right man to pull Britain out of its desperate doldrums and to jump fearlessly into the fray. For while he was no military genius, he was a singular statesman and leader, and he used his stirring orations to electrify the English populace and prepare them for the war of endurance he knew he struggle with Germany would certainly become. He threaded the delicate high wire of political negotiations with the Americans, and forged an unusually strong and open friendship with Franklin Roosevelt that was a dynamic factor in the Allied partnership. As Gilbert writes so memorably, he summoned forth the mysterious stuff of greatness to assume leadership of Britain when it was most isolated, threatened, and weak. In such circumstances, his own bulldog-like resolve and legendary stubbornness made those who oppose him rue the day. No one in modern history was so singularly responsible for the rescue of the world from the clutches of evil incarnate (as personified by Hitler and Nazi Germany) than did Winston Churchill. This is a masterful biography written in a magisterial fashion by the single greatest authority on Churchill. I highly recommend it. Enjoy!

"Because I shall write it..."

The title of this review was Sir. Winston Spencer Churchill responding when asked how he thought History would remember him. He had no concerns, because as he explained he would be his own biographer.Mr. Churchill did author many books most of which are still readily available in print today, and as far as his ability to use a pen, The Nobel Prize he received for his writings answers that question.As mentioned elsewhere Martin Gilbert (now Sir Martin Gilbert) finished the 8th volume of the official Churchill Biography in 1988. It is also true that he dedicated decades of his life to the work. What is not as well known is that the work is not yet complete. There are 8 volumes and there are also 15 additional volumes of correspondence, personal letters, etc., that are also equally important to this body of work. Finally, there are more volumes yet to come, so this work not only has stretched decades, its creation has spanned 2 Centuries like the great man himself. It is also important to note that Sir Winston's Son Randolph Churchill published the first volume. Sir Gilbert joined Randolph in 1962, Volume 1 was published in 1966, and Sir Gilbert officially accepted the monumental task in 1968.This one volume work is brilliant. I have read the 8-volume version, and some of the companion volumes, and to think it could be distilled into one book, however thick, would have seemed an insurmountable task. Sir Gilbert is the authority on the man who many argue was the man of the 20th Century, and one of the great Statesman of History.Sir Winston certainly was a brilliant leader; to stop there is to not know the man at all. He was an accomplished writer, he was a painter, he was a mason (the type that build walls), a trowel not a secret handshake was used, and he was an orator without peer, who today is still quoted on a regular basis.If you read one book, then please make it this one. My introduction to Churchill was through the as yet uncompleted 3-volume work of Mr. William Manchester, which is also excellent. Once introduced to this giant of history, one book will not do, he was too large, larger than life, as large as the events he guided, and the Western Democracy that he saved until others came to his aid. How different the world would have been had his party not been voted from office in the midst of the final peace negotiations. The only consistent player was Stalin, and he won hands down.A man that must be a part of any library, as our present is due in part to this individual. And remember he was 50% American. But then perhaps we can take a bit of pride and say, no surprise at all!
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