Winston's War: Churchill, 1940-1945
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Winston's War: Churchill, 1940-1945

4.13 of 5 stars 4.13  ·  rating details  ·  483 ratings  ·  68 reviews
A vivid and incisive portrait of Winston Churchill during wartime from acclaimed historian Max Hastings, Winston’s War captures the full range of Churchill’s endlessly fascinating character. At once brilliant and infuriating, self-important and courageous, Hastings’s Churchill comes brashly to life as never before.

Beginning in 1940, when popular demand elevated Churchill...more
Hardcover, 576 pages
Published April 27th 2010 by Knopf (first published 2009)
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Lauren Albert
The book lead me to the conclusion that while a war is never won by a single man, no matter how great, many a war must surely have been lost for lack of him. Winston Churchill was not a perfect man. He would not have been such a great man if he had been for isn't it more admirable to do great things despite your weaknesses? Perfection does not serve as inspiration. He did some terrible things. He did some amazing things. Through it all he was single human being facing sometimes terrible odds and...more
Bill
The description of this book contains not a shred of hyperbole. It is a masterpiece of history.

What makes Hastings's approach different is his reluctance to use Churchill's own words, despite his own status as a fairly eminent historian and chronicler of the time. Churchill was finely attuned to the call of history and the mystic chords of memory, which his words were carefully attuned to pluck for posterity.

Instead, Hastings, cognizant of Churchill's selective editing and memory, sketches the m...more
Xan
He empezado tres veces esta reseña y tres veces la he borrado. He leído docenas de libros sobre la IIGM, entre ellos los Diarios de Churchill, pero ninguno había conseguido levantar la capa de barniz heroico que decoraba la victoria de los Aliados. Max Hastings lo ha logrado: sin destruir la reputación de un hombre complejo ha ido descubriendo las tensiones entre sus colaboradores y sus renuentes aliados. Las zancadillas de los americanos para asegurarse una posición de poder sobre los británico...more
Jim Coughenour
I was about halfway through Max Hastings' Retribution when I picked up his new book on Churchill, and I pretty much read it straight through. This is an solid, admiring but hardly uncritical history of Churchill's legendary leadership of Britain through the dark years of World War II. Up to now my basic understanding of Churchill during the war has been filtered through several fine books by John Lukacs. Hastings reviews the same events and actions in much wider scope, and doesn't draw back from...more
Bob
"What, another Churchill book?" This was my wife's comment when she saw me reading this book. I've read Churchill's own account of World War 2 as well as several other biographies. So, beyond my admiration for Churchill, what possible reason was there to pick up this book?

What Hastings does is focus particularly on Churchill's leadership of England from his ascent to Prime Minister in 1940 during England's darkest days, to his ignominious departure from office in July of 1945, shortly after Alli...more
Marks54
This is a detailed bio of Churchill as war leader in WWII. It is well written and the author is very knowledgeable and a great specialist on WWII. The book looks at the really hard parts of Churchill's job - what made his accomplishment so great. It its material, it covers lots of familiar ground and provides few startling "aha" moments. But it does deliver on a number of important points. First, it details the opposition, both political and military, that Churchill had to surmount to keep Brita...more
Karl Rove
Aug 03, 2011 Karl Rove added it
Shelves: read-in-2010
This is a powerful, clear-eyed exposition of Churchill’s wartime leader. He details the great man’s strengths (including his indomitable will) and his weaknesses (his readiness to interfere with his generals in pursuit of wild schemes of dubious value) and finds value in both.

For example, Churchill’s schemes to aid Greece threatened the British hold on the Middle East and sent thousands of the ill equipped, poorly trained, and too often badly led British troops to their deaths or POW camps. But...more
Bou
This book describes the life and politics of Winston Churchill during the Second World War. It is a superb book and gave some new insights in the strengths and errors of Winston. It does not spare Winston; especially in the chapter about operation Accolade in the Egean see. But in the end the author comes to the conclusion that Winston- with all his faults - was the best man to lead England through the war.

It gave me some new insights about the relationship between Roosevelt and Churchill and th...more
Jim
This book is not a typical war history, nor a biography. If you are highly interested in an objective look at Winston Churchill, his strengths and weaknesses, you will find it fascinating. I can't imagine how the author pulled all this information together in a coherent study of this unique and complex man and the political issues behind World War II. I found it to be a very good book, but it won't please everyone. I'm sure it's not intended to.
Susan
Note: there are two books with this title. This book was very interesting and a totally different view of World War II than I've ever read before, I guess because it was more about thepolitical maneuverings than anything else. The insights into the difficulties between the Allies was rather enlightening. The descriptions of Stalin, Churchill, and Roosevelt were a bit more in depth than the usual painting of them as just plain good or evil. I really had no idea of the depth of involvement of the...more
Joe V
This author has been on somewhat of tear as of late, this his third World War II book published in the last seven years, (Armageddon and Retribution the other two), and a fourth volume just out. Winston's War also adds to the recent spate of books - Carlo D'Este's Warlord; Andrew Robert's Hitler and Churchill and Masters and Commanders, and Berthon and Potts', Warlords - "analyzing" Churchill's leadership role and his success/failure as Great Britain's Commander in Chief. Hastings' new book diff...more
MisterFweem
I read the following bit – the concluding paragraph of the chapter “Bargaining with an Empty Wallet” in Max Hastings’ “Winston’s War,” an in-depth look at the work, successes, and follies of Winston Churchill during the war years, and thought it has a message that modern politicians ought to examine:

But the British people had by now hardened their hearts towards their rulers, even the greatest. Many felt less gratitude to those presiding over victory in the most terrible conflict in history tha...more
Kristina
Really was one of the best WWII books I've ever read. The tone Max Hastings has a writer is never boring. He never loses focus, as can often happen in the non-fiction genre. All and all well worth the time and effort to read. He fleshes out new stories and background regarding decisions Churchill made and didn't make. He emphasis the lack of drive of the part of allies was both a hindrance and a blessing, while at the same time pointing out, in the undercurrent tone that Churchill was the only m...more
Leigh Coop
Is is a very well-written biography of Churchill and the British part of WWII. the history is linear chronologically so that helps me keep the history in my mind. I have not read anything in-depth about WC prior to this so it's a lot of new information--keeps your interest. Author admires the subject but I don't feel like the work is too hagiographic all so far.

November 30, 2013. Just finished this great history of WWII focusing on Winston Churchill and the British command from 1939-1945. The a...more
Franz
Winston's War begins with Churchill ascending to power in 1940. Britain seemed on the brink of defeat at the hands of the German Army. It continues through to Churchill's fall from power in 1945, in the closing days of World War II, when an election swept the Labour Party into power. I found several aspects of this book fascinating, including Churchill's inability to find a truly great field commander, his insistence on supporting sideshows (Greece and Yugoslavia are two examples), and the reali...more
Carl Brush
We seem to have an inexhaustible passion for WWII in all our worlds from the scholarly to the movies. No Hollywood year is complete without at least one or two anti-Nazi blockbusters. And now Max Hastings has found himself a previously unplowed corner of the field for his Winston’s War.
Never was a book more aptly titled. What you see in the title is what you get--WWII as Winston Churchill experienced it, or at least as one watching
Churchill might imagine his experiencing it.

Churchill is, of co...more
Stephen
I mostly did not enjoy this book. It's the 5th book about Churchill I've read and Hastings sustained a good narrative up until the point when the United States entered the war. Then I got the distinct impression that Hastings had a number of insights that he wanted to lay out and that we didn't really need to hear the whole story because so many books have been written on the subject. The problem is that I felt that he lost his man and his way in the course of sharing his theories. Before Pearl...more
Derek
This was an account of Winston Churchill’s dealings during the Second World War. It was interesting hearing the British account of US and Soviet involvement in the war. Specifically, the British felt the US enriched themselves at Britain’s expense at the beginning of the war before the US joined in the fray. The account also includes the Soviet perspective on many events. FASCINATING. The Soviets were dirty and conniving. They spied on the US and on Britain with high-level, cabinet-level contact...more
Gerry
Sir Max Hastings is by far the most important historian of our generation currently writing on battles and wars and politics of the time. He speaks truth, even when it may not sit well - his fact based account is supported by the documentaion to which he has analyzed and then critically written upon.

Ironically I was in the middle of Sir Churchill's memoirs of the "Second World War" when I learned this book was soon to be released. I could do nothing more than to follow then, my recent completed...more
Jonathan
Hastings, who already has a slew of excellent military history books to his credit, has outdone himself with this comprehensive and readable account of Winston Churchill's record as Prime Minister in World War II. Readers who are familiar with the military accounts of the conflict may be surprised at Hastings's accounts of Churchill's relationships with Roosevelt, with Stalin, with his fellow British politicians and with his military leaders. Churchill himself was something of an enigma; capable...more
Milton Soong
Very good telling of WW2 from Winston's perspective (or more so UK's perspective). A lot of info is probably not new for serious student of WW2, but for Americans who might not be up on the (different) take on the war like myself, eye opening and written in an easily absorbed way.a
The extend of UK's insistence on an "indirect approach" surprised me ( i.e. let's do more on the peripheral like the Med than commit to Overlord). The whole chapter on the Greek embroilio is new to me and interestingly...more
Sergio Uribe
entretenido como todos los libros de Hastings. muestra el papelón que hicieron los britanicos en la 2GM y cómo Churchill tuvo que lidiar con prácticamente todo el mundo, desde los mineros y estibadores hasta salir corriendo de Dunkerke. como buen británico, Hastings sigue empleando términos como "bombardeo táctico" para las matanzas de civiles alemanes y hace una finta para justificar la entrega de media Europa a Stalin incluyendo la traición a Polonia. Sin embargo muestra el gremio de Churchill...more
Lee
An honest read. Churchill is portrayed as a great, but flawed, war leader, transcending the political and military background from which he became Prime Minister. From the early days of his ministry, when the nation was desperate for any good news, to the end of WW2, when he was fighting to maintain Britain's position amongst the victorious superpowers, despite Britain no longer having the muscle - political, military or financial - to sustain such a position, Churchill's leadership is examined....more
Baxter
Read a 10 part extract in The Daily Mail by Max Hastings. An interesting portrait of Churchill in that his real war leadership was during the Battle of Britain (1940-41) and thereafter he was really in the back seat as America entered the war and the leadership role. The reality was that the Russians did most of the dying that was necessary to defeat Germany. And the Russians ultimately ran the show in terms of the division of Europe into spheres of influence with the Americans and British letti...more
Andy Bennett
This book, as the title indicates, is a biography of Churchill as the Prime Minister during WWII. As usual, Max Hastings does an excellent job of writing an interesting, easy to read book. He pulls no punches, pointing out the flaws as well as the strengths of Churchill. Most of the book is written relying on sources close to the prime minister, as well as his own books (and some rough drafts of those books that show how his thoughts on how things happened changed over time). In sum, Hastings st...more
Mark Thuell
Balanced view on Churchill ,the good and the bad decisions but what shone through was what a great man he was in his unshakable belief.
Very very scant on the struggle against Japan. Mentioned only a couple of times
Anthony Ragan
A history of Churchill as a wartime leader and, secondarily, a history of Britain in World War II. Presents a three-dimensional picture of Churchill, strengths and weaknesses, while making the case that he, pretty much single-handedly, saved Western Civilization in 1940-41 by refusing to lose. Contains information I'd never read about before, such as Churchill's ill-conceived Dodecanese campaign and the British intervention in the budding Greek civil war in 1945. Also provides the first comprehe...more
Jim
Jun 02, 2012 Jim rated it 4 of 5 stars
Shelves: history
Sir Max Hasting delivers another masterfully research WWII history. With some already written about Churchill, much by his own hand, it is surely a daunting task to approach. What is so compelling is his narrative voice and willingness to evaluate the positives and negatives without personal bias.

I was particularly fascinated by his review of the personal relationships between the "big three," Churchil, Roosevelt, and Stalin. Hasting eschews the widely proclaimed view of the steadfast friendshi...more
Paul Dinger
Max Hastings approaches Winston Churchill, warts and all. He presents a lion of a man who led a nation that played second fiddle to all the great powers of Europe. Winston is tenacious, but never truly understood military tactics like the Germans did. Hastings writes of WWII exhaustivly and with assurance, why not he has written several books on the subject. He doesn't just present Churchill, but his entire world, even the remarks of his enemies and his allies, and even his wife. This is a truly...more
Dan
A solid addition to the Churchill bookshelf, with clear-eyed and even-handed commentary on Churchill's strengths and weaknesses along with those of other players. There is too much commentary and not enough exposition, as if the author expects his readers to know all about the war & its main protagonists and is merely filling in the missing pieces. Still, I'd recommend this to Churchill fans. I consider myself one (because of his lonely crusade against Hitler in the 30s and his peerless lead...more
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Sir Max Hugh Macdonald Hastings, FRSL, FRHistS is a British journalist, editor, historian and author. His parents were Macdonald Hastings, a journalist and war correspondent, and Anne Scott-James, sometime editor of Harper's Bazaar.

Hastings was educated at Charterhouse School and University College, Oxford, which he left after a year.After leaving Oxford University, Max Hastings became a foreign c...more
More about Max Hastings...
Armageddon: The Battle for Germany, 1944-1945 Inferno: The World at War, 1939-1945 Overlord: D-Day and the Battle for Normandy Retribution: The Battle for Japan, 1944-45 Catastrophe 1914: Europe Goes to War

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