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Hinge of Fate (The Second World War #4)

4.34 of 5 stars 4.34  ·  rating details  ·  859 ratings  ·  34 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, 1000 pages
Published December 12th 1950 by Houghton Mifflin (first published January 1st 1950)
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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
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
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
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
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
I have read almost every one of Churchill's books. Reading any of them is like going to a technicolor movie.
Doreen Petersen
Loved this book! For anyone interested in WWII or any Churchill fans this is a must read!
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
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
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.
Tim Mygatt
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
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.
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.
We look back at history and see a continuum. Obviously this is not the case.
Doug Dams
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
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
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
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
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
Michael Certalic
Amazed by Churchill's relational leadership during '42-'43 with FDR, Stalin, Eisenhower, and the Brits, in the context of turning "from almost uninterrupted disaster to almost unbroken success." Much better understanding now for the context of North Africa in WWII.
Sherrie Pilkington
Book 4 of 6. Winston is getting back to being cheeky and witty now that the tides have turned and the Allies are making progress against Hitler.
Anne Cupero
I love this guy! He is just so PROPER! History without the ugliness. By that I mean that he doesn't put the reality of the world in, just the events he was part of. Sometimes emotion just gets in the way, do you know what I mean?
A slog, as Churchill recounts the pivotal year of 1943 in exacting detail. The trek through this, the 4th volume in a series of six, is enlivened by periodic witticisms, making the effort worthwhile.
Simply a fascinating account of the Second World War and want to save comments for when I completed the last and final book. Sir Churchill was the politician and stateman the world needs now more than ever.
i found it most interesting that the post war governments as Churchill described is going on now (free trade agreements) and it is also interesting that Germany is still in control of Europe.
The best in the six volume history so far. Churchill's account of his visit with Stalin in Moscow in 1942 is fascinating stuff, alone worth the read.
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Redemption of Winnie 2 11 Apr 14, 2013 01:46PM  
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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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