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The Second World War, Vol. 4, The Hinge of Fate (The Second World War #4)

4.35  ·  Rating Details ·  1,059 Ratings  ·  43 Reviews
Winston Churchill says of the fourth volume of The Second World War, 'I have called this The Hinge Of Fate because in it we turn from almost uninterrupted disaster to almost unbroken success. For the first six months of this story all went ill; for the last six months everything went well. And this agreeable change continued to the end of the struggle.'
Hardcover, Six-Volume Folio Society Boxed Set, 846 pages
Published 2000 by Folio Society (first published January 1st 1950)
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Dec 15, 2013 GoldGato rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: history, spring, war
I ought to have known. My advisers ought to have known and I ought to have been told, and I ought to have asked.

Winston Churchill's WWII series has turned out to be intriguing reading, albeit very long reading. This volume is the first one in the series where relief, not much but relief nevertheless, starts to show. After the first three volumes focused on one disaster after another, Churchill leads the reader to what he feels is the turning point of the war.

The British people can face peril o
Mikey B.
This fourth volume takes us from January 1942 to May 1943. During this period, as the title indicates, the fulcrum of the war shifted from one of constant defeats to one of victory. The tide had changed, but as Churchill continued to warn, the road to triumph was still to be long, costly and arduous.

Page 493 (my book) June, 1942

We had survived the collapse of France and the attack on Britain. We had not been invaded. We still held Egypt. We were alive and at bay; but that was all. On the other h
Jul 19, 2011 Manny rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
When you've done something almost supernaturally brilliant and far-sighted, and it works better than you could have dared hope, you really want to get the credit. Even Churchill is not immune. Back in 1940, when Britain was under siege and things looked almost desperate, he made a terrific strategic decision: not to go all-out on defence, but move tanks so as to be able to hold Egypt. That might give long-term chances of a counter-attack. Miraculously, it worked. We won the Battle of Britain; th ...more
Jun 23, 2016 Richard rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The time frame of this book covers approximately one and a half years, from late 1941 until May 1943, during which a cascading series of events, some of them catastrophic, tried the resolve of the British peoples and their Prime Minister. There were several bright spots early-on, including the recent thumping that the British Commonwealth armies had given to German General Rommel in the North African desert, and the long-hoped-for entry of the United States into the war.

This latter development
Feb 02, 2009 Kathy rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
So, everyone out there, pop quiz. Who knew before now that just after the United States entered WWII our shipping was attacked constantly by the German Navy, even just off shore of New Orleans and in the Chesapeake Bay and all around Florida? We didn't have very effective anti-submarine defense at the time and they picked off ships at will. Even to the point of picking and choosing which ships to sink. Two-thirds of the ships that went down were tankers, since they were the most important. 70 sh ...more
Jeff Elliott
Being 1,000 pages it took me a while to get through. There were a few good chapters on leadership (4 and 5). Having been a fan of Churchill this became a must read. During the time I have been reading this book I have learned some other things about him from another perspective. It's hard to read someone's work objectively until you have outside sources. Churchill's tendency to meddle in areas outside of his domain was what cost him his job before the war but also led to his success during it. A ...more
Jul 16, 2012 Owen rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Winston Churchill was remarkable, as much as for any other reason, for the sheer volume of words he produced. In a long life, during which he was often preoccupied by both family matters (he had four children) and matters of state, he nevertheless found the time to compose an inordinate number of books. I say compose, because he perfected a system during the first war, which revealed its efficacy more than ever in the second, of working through secretaries. There are many odd anecdotes told abou ...more
David Rubin
Aug 18, 2012 David Rubin rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This is the fourth volume in Winston Churchill's monumental work on the Second World War. This is not history of a grand scope, but rather, Churchill's personal memoir of the war. Of course, being a key player on the allied side, Churchill brings a wealth of information and insight to the decision making process.

We Americans are so inculcated with the American roles and perspectives of the war, that Churchill's quintessential British version of events is a refreshing view. The book is composed
Aug 17, 2007 Daniel rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I have read almost every one of Churchill's books. Reading any of them is like going to a technicolor movie.
Gijs Grob
Of all six books that comprise Churchill's 'The Second World War'. 'The Hinge of Fate' is by far the thickest. No wonder, as it describes the longest war period of them all, from January 1942 to May 1943. As Churchill acknowledges himself, the first part describes a particular bad period for the British, as they quickly lost all their far eastern colonies to Japan, and were driven back into Egypt by Rommel's Afrika Corps. Only in the autumn of 1942 the allies were on a winning streak again, and ...more
Jun 07, 2014 Sascha rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The fourth of six volumes in this series focuses on the US entry into the war. Most active theatres are North Africa, the Mediterranean and the Pacific.
Churchill heaps praise on his allies. First and foremost on the US, the 'awakening giant', whose industrial potential will eventually help win the war. At the same time he does not forget to emphasize the 'heroic struggle' and 'historical achievements' of Stalin's Russia - and rightly so.
The naked facts and sheer numbers of people and material in
Michael Scott


--- Considering ElAlamein as "the hinge of fate" is, to put it mildly, British-centered. It was a battle of great tactical importance, which opened up the campaign in Italy, but "the" hinge? How about Stalingrad (Russia)? How about Midway and Guadalcanal (US)? Admittedly, Churchill does say "Before Alamein we never had a victory. After Alamein we never had a defeat." (Emphasis mine.)

--- The terse treatment of Stalingrad and, in general, of the Russian plight. Although Churchill does compla
Churchill characterizes this volume as the record of how a succession of defeats and setbacks was followed by a series of wins and gains in the year 1942. A surprising aspect for me was the realization of just how little Britain and the United States were engaged in actual combat during that period compared with what was happening between Russia and the Nazis. Churchill does not skimp on his evaluation of the enormity and consequence of that encounter. But he casts it within the "frame" of his f ...more
Dec 01, 2009 Mike rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The pace picks up again in this history of WWII. Their were some very interesting details about the sinking of a tremendous amount of shipping just off the coast of the US by U-boats. Being an American I enjoyed reading about the first major US involvement in the ground war in the operation Torch in North Africa. It is amazing how the tide turned in the both North Africa, Russia, and the Pacific, from tremendous setbacks by German and Japanese advancement. I was impressed at how much shuttle dip ...more
Sep 02, 2014 Brian rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: history
Churchill's masterful 4th volume of WWII, continues the narrative of WWII, and documents the turning points of the war. Roughly tracing the events of 1942, Churchill details the setbacks of early 1942, and the successes of the later part of the year. A truly magnificent account, told from the British perspective of how worry and concern turned into expectation of victory throughout that pivotal year.
John Doyle
May 15, 2016 John Doyle rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Volume 4 of 6 describes the Allied victory in North Africa as the "Hinge of Fate" on which the ultimate fortunes of the combatants in Western Europe were determined. At last the British defeated the Germans at Alamein and thereafter rolled up a nearly continuous string of victories that culminated in victory. The power of these volumes for me comes from the correspondence and anecdotes among the Big Three (Churchill, Roosevelt, and Stalin). One such anecdote tells of President Roosevelt in a sta ...more
Tim Mygatt
Sep 04, 2009 Tim Mygatt rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Incredibly insightful. This account stands alone in a genre not commonly attempted: the voluntary revelation of one's choices and actions during a moment of tremendous testing, a moment when those choices and actions could easily be second-guessed. Of course, the outcome of the war made this an easier task than it would be for some; history is written by the victors and all that. But what gives these books there power is the tremendous amount of primary material in them -- letters and papers wri ...more
Bob Uva
So far in this book, having read through the year 1942 in the WWII, I have a new appreciation of how difficult the struggle of winning the war was for the Allies. Surprisingly, with all of the defeats the Allies suffered in the first six or nine months of that year, Churchill continued to profess complete confidence in victory, primarily because of the entrance of the United States into the war. His trials in dealing with Stalin are interesting and at times humorous if not exasperating, and the ...more
James Violand
Jun 28, 2014 James Violand rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: own
Winston Churchill I consider the greatest man of the 20th century. This is his personal account - warts and all - of the allied struggle against the Axis during the Second World War. Brilliant.
Apr 29, 2016 Mary rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Wonderful series by a great man. Especially interesting are the many notes and messages sent between Churchill and Roosevelt and Stalin. Can't wait to read Volume 5!
The fourth in the incredible series by Winston Churchill of a story that only he could tell. A read for senior leaders in politics, government, and the military on the importance of character, vision, proactive leadership, and tenacity during times of great challenge.
Nov 18, 2014 Louise rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
We look back at history and see a continuum. Obviously this is not the case.
Doug Dams
Oct 19, 2011 Doug Dams rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is the fourth book of six volumes of Churchill's WWII memoirs. The first six months after Pearl Harbor the allies suffer defeat after defeat from German and Japanese forces. Then the tide turns, America sees victories in the Pacific and England sees victories in Europe. Churchill and Roosevelt worry about German scientists discovering a new weapon (the atomic bomb). This is an exciting vlume in the set because the pace of the war picks up and CHurchill and Roosevelt must make a lot of decis ...more
Apr 29, 2015 Scott rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Churchill's got a way of writing, that's for sure. All of this has been very engaging. No wonder he won the Nobel Prize! Only two books to go!
Tony Genualdi
Jul 20, 2015 Tony Genualdi rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The hinge Churchill refers to is 1942 and the first half of 1943. He talks about the many conferences he had with the American war leaders, like the "Trident" conference, where Churchill talks about his ideas for post-war alliances, and for a Supreme World Council, supported by regional councils in Europe, the Pacific and the Americas. He also talked about a United States of Europe, where people could travel freely, just like the U.S.

I'm left wondering how he'd feel about the European Union
Jul 01, 2014 Nathan rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Britain's fight against the Axis from Pearl Harbour to the conquest of Tunis (Dec 41-April 43), as narrated (and telegramed) by Churchill.

Essentially a diplomatic and administrative history rather than a narrative or military one, this volume continues the intriguing history of Churchill in the war.

Very notable for the off-the-cuff remarks between Churchill and Roosevelt on (amongst other things) Stalin.

Churchill really did like a good war. He enjoyed himself immensely.

Rated G. 3/5
BOOKS ARE A LOAD OF CRAP.................
Matt Brown
Still enjoying the series, the difference in technology that they were dealing with is really starting to hit me. Cables and boats dominate communication and transport. Flying long distances was novel and dangerous. It's really easy to forget just how far the world has come since then.

Reading Time: 13 hours, 21 mins
Aug 09, 2016 David rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I really began to notice Churchill's penchant in code naming military operations and people.
I also began to really notice his focus on what the we, the United States, considered "side shows," rather than the planning and focus on what would become "Overlord," the Normandy invasion.
Apr 17, 2016 Brian rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: finished
An excellent read from Britain's most celebrated statesman. Number 4 of the series the book Is certainly not boring but lively, informative, giving wisdom with each page and written as only 'Winnie' could write. Hear, hear !!! Another 'must read' by Winston !! Tallyho !
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Redemption of Winnie 3 11 Jul 06, 2016 06:31PM  
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  • To Lose a Battle: France 1940
  • Decision in Normandy
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  • The Rommel Papers
  • History of the Second World War
  • The Battle for History: Re-fighting World War II
  • A World at Arms: A Global History of World War II
  • The Collapse of the Third Republic
  • Crusade in Europe
  • Scorched Earth: The Russian-German War, 1943-1944
  • Forgotten Armies: The Fall of British Asia, 1941-1945
  • Flames Across the Border: 1813-1814
  • Rousseau and Revolution (The Story of Civilization, #10)
  • Brothers, Rivals, Victors: Eisenhower, Patton, Bradley and the Partnership that Drove the Allied Conquest i n Europe
  • Bomber Command
  • When Titans Clashed: How the Red Army Stopped Hitler
  • Japan's War: The Great Pacific Conflict
Sir Winston Leonard Spencer-Churchill, KG, OM, CH, TD, FRS, PC (Can) was a British politician who served as Prime Minister of the United Kingdom from 1940 to 1945, and again from 1951 to 1955. A noted statesman, orator and strategist, Churchill was also an officer in the British Army. A prolific author, he won the Nobel Prize in Literature in 1953 for his own historical writings, "for his mastery ...more
More about Winston S. Churchill...

Other Books in the Series

The Second World War (6 books)
  • The Gathering Storm (The Second World War, #1)
  • Their Finest Hour (The Second World War, #2)
  • The Grand Alliance (The Second World War, #3)
  • Closing the Ring (The Second World War, #5)
  • Triumph and Tragedy (The Second World War, #6)

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