Five Days in London, May 1940
This is history in detail and Lukacs does it rather well. The relationships between Churchill, Chamberlain and Halifax are examined in detail. Churchill was by no means secure at this t...more
This made my frustration with Lukacs' rendering of his material all the greater. There are many examples of bad habits and stylistic foibles that both slow down and mangle the narrative.
Writing style is a matter of personal taste, but surely 'it would not develop' is a simpler and less pompo...more
"In the end America and Russia [won the Second World War]. But in May 1940 Churchill was the one who did not lose it. Then and there he saved Britain, and Europe, and Western civilization."
After more than 70 years and the perfect hindsight it affords, we take what happened in the spring and summer of 1940 as a foregone conclusion. What Lukacs so interestingly reminds us is that that conclusion was anything but certain the last weekend of May 1940. In these few days it looked as though the German...more
As British troops faced potential catastrophe in Dunkirk, the new Prime Minister, Winston Churchill, faced a skeptical public and disagreement within his own War Cabinet. Lord Halifax and his supporters pushed hard for Britain to negotiate peace terms with Hitler, while Churchiill was determined to stay in the fight. Luka...more
Lukacs recounts, from the perspective of 1999, the deliberations of the War Cabinet from Friday, 24 May 1940, through Tuesday, 28 May 1940. Churchill had been prime minister for only two weeks. The German army was quickly v...more
I've just finished reading Five Days in London, May 1940, by the American historian John Lukacs. Lukacs has views that seem som...more
The structure of the book was incoherent.
The author sometimes travelled a bit too far in time and space. Certainly his remarks about the peace of Amiens should have been kept out of this book. And when the author expects that his readers understand what he means by Foxite and Hollandite Whigs then he certainly overestimates me. But I'm of course a simpleton who only graduated from Oxbridge.
In a few places the author states a fac...more
This one zooms in like a historical microscope on five critical days over a weekend as France was falling. There's actually a fair bit of coverage of the time period leading up to those five days, since it sets the stage for this intense crisis.
What's most interesting are the political...more
The best description I can give of the book is that it holds fascinating information, but not more than would comfortably fit within 50 pages. The author overshot the amount of information h...more
I was a little disappointed in the book in that it was difficult to track the story at times. If I didn't have an interest in this parti...more
The book seems to capture the moment well by describing rival factions in the British War cabinet. I quite enjoyed focusing on particular point in time, alb...more