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Winston Churchill’s monumental The Second World War, is a six volume account of the struggle between the Allied Powers in Europe against Germany and the Axis. Told by British Prime Minister Winston Churchill, this book is also the story of one nation’s heroic role in the fight against tyranny. Having learned a lesson at Munich they would never forget, the British refused to make peace with Hitler, defying him even after France had fallen and it seemed as though the Nazis were unstoppable.
What lends this work its tension is Churchill’s inclusion of primary source material. We hear Churchill’s retrospective analysis of the war, but we are also presented with memos, letters, orders, speeches, and telegrams that give day-by-day accounts of the reactions as the drama unfolds. We listen as strategies and counter-strategies unfold in response to Hitler’s conquest of Europe, his planned invasion of England, and his assault on Russia. All contrive to give a mesmerizing account of the crucial decisions that must be made as the fate of the world hangs in the balance.
While in some ways a continuation of Churchill’s history of World War I, The World Crisis, The Gathering Storm is his attempt to understand the terrible circumstance that gave rise to Nazi Germany and a second, even more destructive world conflict. Churchill was perhaps the only person who held such prominent positions of power in both world wars and as such, was uniquely qualified to tell the story from war to peace and back again.
The Gathering Storm covers the Treaty of Versailles, the rise of Adolf Hitler, the capitulation of Munich and the entry of Britain into the war. This book makes clear Churchill’s feeling that the Second World War was a largely senseless but unavoidable conflict.
Churchill won the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1953 in part because of this awe-inspiring work.
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