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Winston's War (Winston Churchill #1)

3.81  ·  Rating Details ·  1,131 Ratings  ·  119 Reviews
WINSTON'S WAR is a masterful blending of imagination and compelling fact that places the reader at the right hand of the most momentous events in our history.

Saturday 1 October 1938. Two men meet. One is elderly, the other in his twenties. One will become the most revered man of his time, and the other known as the greatest of traitors.

Winston Churchill met Guy Burgess at
Paperback, 690 pages
Published 2003 by HarperCollins (first published November 4th 2002)
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Jennifer (JC-S)
Feb 14, 2009 Jennifer (JC-S) rated it really liked it
Shelves: librarybooks
‘War comes in many different colours.’

On 1 October 1938, Winston Churchill met Guy Burgess. Churchill had already made a mark on the political landscape, Burgess was certainly going to. But what brought these men together? And what political intrigues and other machinations were part of the political landscape in this period immediately before Europe erupted into war?

Winston Churchill himself could well be described as ‘.. a riddle wrapped in a mystery inside an enigma ..’. At times, while readi
Oct 12, 2009 Palmyrah rated it really liked it
Excellent work of fiction in which the principal characters and most of the supporting cast are real historical personages. The prose style is light and well-polished, making for easy and pleasant reading--perhaps a little too much so when the events covered are worthy of a touch of pomp and grandeur, for example in the House of Commons scenes. Still, it was probably wise of the author (a former advertising copywriter and PR man for the British Conservative Party) to stick to his last and not st ...more
Jun 14, 2015 Stefan rated it it was amazing
Winston’s War was a gripping and intelligent historical novel. The well-written layers of sub-plots, the many plot twists, the numerous characters (both historical and fictional), and the historic settings (10 Downing Street, Whitehall, Parliament, Chartwell, and so on) made this an enjoyable read. The many historical and political events (the meeting between Churchill and Burgess, the Munich Conference, the invasion of Poland, the German invasion of Norway, and Chamberlain’s resignation, among ...more
Jay Fromkin
Mar 06, 2012 Jay Fromkin rated it really liked it
"You might very well think that; I couldn't possibly comment..." Francis Urquhart's memorable quote from "House of Cards" was particularly useful in public relations career. Thank you, Michael Dobbs. And, thank you for "Winston's War," another look at British political infighting.

"Winston's War" has little enough to do with World War II, per se. It is all about the run-up to, and earliest days of the war, when Churchill's primary battle was with Neville Chamberlain and his Tory minions about app
Apr 02, 2012 Martha rated it liked it
I had my doubts about this book but was very glad that I stuck it through to the end. There is a cast of characters that's hard to track who appear seemingly at random. While it took some time to sort them out, it was one of the pleasures of sticking with the book as their role in the story all came to light as the end neared. This writer gives flesh to the beginning of England's involvement in World War II and to the characters involved in England's slow move towards war. Chamberlain reads like ...more
Gerry Claes
Mar 21, 2012 Gerry Claes rated it really liked it
Interesting account as to how Winston Churchill came to be Prime Minister of England. It is amazing how long Neville Chamberlain was duped by Hitler. Chamberlain could not accept the fact that there were evil people leading Germany and Italy that were not gentlemen of honor, is there a parallel with President Obama? To be an effective leader in difficult times you have to be willing to make the tough decisions and place the interests of your country above the interests of your political party. C ...more
Mar 27, 2012 Jessica rated it it was ok
I've been on a British royalty kick lately so I thought it would be cool to read about Winston Churchill since he was QEII's first Prime Minister. This was so hard to get through. I don't know if it was because I was reading it on my nook, or because I don't really understand British politics or because I wasn't familiar with the subject matter, but it was tough. I've been reading this for well over three weeks. I actually had to stop halfway through and give my mind a break because I just COULD ...more
Mar 28, 2012 Jess rated it really liked it
What a surprisingly good read! I suppose I didn't expect much from this book, despite reading an interesting blurb on it, because Barnes & Noble was giving it away for free, as one of their Free Fridays offerings. Yes, I realize that such things are supposed to build interest in the author or in similar works. Still, many of the giveaways are worth what I pay for them. In this case, that view was in error.

Winston's War is an historical novel, focused on the run-up to World War II, as Neville
Apr 10, 2012 Liz rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: history lovers
Recommended to Liz by: bn free fridays
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Apr 30, 2012 Melanie rated it it was ok
I made it about half way through this book before I decided to go onto a different one. The story was not bad and the writing was good. I just wasn't interested enough in the book to keep reading. I did like the historical aspect.
I'm torn between needing another star between I liked it and I really liked it, but I don't know what to call it. I feel something more than I liked it, but something less than I really liked it.
I never thought much about reading a book about Winston Churchill. I never thougt much about reading a book about the beginning of the 2nd World War in Europe either. Why DID I read this book?
Someting about the book cover and and title called to me. The story sounded interesting when I read the review A
John Beck
Jun 19, 2012 John Beck rated it liked it

A work of historical fiction with a great cast of characters. The great war leader Churchill, Neville Chamberlain, the great appeaser to Nazi demands, and the notorious Russian spy Guy Burgess all coming together in one novel. The book is fun to read but jumps around a lot making it difficult to track the action.
Jan 08, 2014 Kate rated it it was amazing
I greatly enjoyed this novelization of the political climate in Britain surrounding the beginning of WWII. Obviously in school we studied WWII and the events leading up to it, however I never studied the specific events in Britain at the time, and this book has encouraged me to want to read about the politics in Britain post-WWI and pre-WWII.
This novel was not without some minor problems, sometimes I didn't feel the transitions were clean or clear enough for the reader to know that it was now
Jul 10, 2014 Scott rated it really liked it
This was a very good historical novel that may have distracted me from my current sci-fi binge. I thoroughly enjoyed this book - the story and the characters. I learned that Chamberlain wasn't the spineless wimp he was portrayed as in high school history class, but a modern day shark-like politician. Willing to go to great lengths to maintain power, but woefully unable to lead. Churchill was also ambitious for power, but unlike Chamberlain, was seemingly born to lead.
The author expresses hope i
Jul 06, 2014 Cynjok rated it really liked it
I think anyone interested in the lead up to Great Britain reluctantly going to war with Germany at the beginning of WWII, specifically regarding Chamberlain's initial policy of appeasement, will definitely appreciate in this novel.
Pete Jones
Jul 21, 2014 Pete Jones rated it liked it
I got this book expecting something different; one of those historical fiction books that developed the characters and dialogues to fill out the gaps in historical facts. This book seems to have been conceived as a “Downton Abbey” for guys. This book covers the years before Britain entered WWI while Neville Chamberlain was the PM. I’m not an historian, but this seems to be more fiction set during the period than historical fiction. The most extreme excursion from the facts involves Guy Burgess o ...more
Aug 11, 2014 Jule rated it it was amazing
Loved this book. A perfect blend of accurate, and well researched history with just enough offstage fiction to lend interest and diversity. This is a 700 page book I was sorry to finish and look forward to the other 3 in this series.
Suzanne Garrison
Thrilling read

With this first of his Winston books, Dobbs pulls no punches, artfully crafting the vivid personalities that made up British politics in the year before WWII. From Neville Chamberlain, the vain upper class politician who learned absolutely nothing from the Great War to Susan the post mistress of a coastal town whose plans for happiness are gunned down on the beaches of Norway, Dobbs' characters leap of the page, causing the reader to join in their happiness and sorrows.

More than an
Lewis Weinstein
Jul 30, 2015 Lewis Weinstein rated it it was amazing
This is a spectacular historical novel. Anyone who has read or seen the British version of "House of Cards" will recognize a similarly fast-paced interaction of multiple plots, with important people doing important things and little people feeling the impact of those momentous events on their more plebeian lives.

Dobbs' control of this material is superb, reflecting his own experience in the Halls of Parliament over several decades. He must also have known some of those not-so-famous since many o
Apr 28, 2015 Ron rated it liked it
A post-modern take on history. An engaging, entertaining text which leaves the reader wondering what is fact and what fiction. Focuses on the eighteen month period from Munich to the Nazi invasion of France—mostly telling how everyone in England (including the king) were trying to do everything possible to keep Churchill from becoming Prime Minister, and Churchill was unwittingly helping them.

Today’s readers may be surprised that faction and the press were as divisive and untrue then as now. Sh
West Breen
Nov 28, 2014 West Breen rated it it was amazing
Excellent historical fiction by the author of "House of Cards". He speculates on the "dirty causes" that almost kept Churchill from becoming Prime Minister early in the war, and spins a fascinating tale as to why Neville Chamberlin relented, at the end.
Pat Cummings
Mar 11, 2015 Pat Cummings rated it it was amazing
Shelves: reviewed
This book was enjoyable from start to finish. The sense of injustice done by the conspirators to a well-loved icon of history was intense, but because the participants in the conspiracy have been fully exposed as failures, the reader can revel in the knowledge that history has judged them.

The conspiracy here is the effort of the Chamberlain Ministry to exclude the "war-monger" Winston Churchill from the councils of government in the events between Neville Chamberlain's Munich Pact with Adolf Hit
Jan 08, 2015 Eric rated it it was amazing
I'm a real sucker for historical fiction, and this book about the political machinations in Great Britain during the run up to WWII really had me captivated. I don't know how much of what was presented is fictional and how much actually happened, but I was really impressed at how the author maintained suspense and drama with a plot where the final outcome is already known! Now I really want to get to the Churchill biographies on my list!
May 05, 2015 Duncan rated it really liked it
Great read. Really enjoyed this one and looking forward to the next. Mostly fictional but based on facts and really could have happen as described !!!
Robert Ronsson
Apr 27, 2015 Robert Ronsson rated it liked it
I was intrigued by the premise of this book: that Guy Burgess played a key role in Churchill's assumption of the Prime Ministership of GB in 1940. Dobbs has built a fictional account around the facts and this makes for a fascinating but at the same time frustrating read. For a lot of the time I was asking myself, is this incident one of the true bits or is it made up? (I can't be too negative about this because one of the criticisms of my book No Mean Affair is that the reader doesn't know where ...more
Emiliana Rodríguez
Dec 22, 2015 Emiliana Rodríguez rated it really liked it
Great book, a bit long but it's worth holding on till the end.
Amit Tiwary
Jan 28, 2016 Amit Tiwary rated it it was amazing
Shelves: books-of-2016
Being an Indian, I have absolutely no liking of Winston because of his ill and biased attitude towards my nation. But at the same time, I know that Winston was a man of steel. A brilliant academician, a brilliant historian, a brave leader, and a fine politician. I also have first-hand knowledge of Neville Chamberlain and his political times.

This is a fantastic book, with consistent narration, about the run up to world war II and Britain's miscalculations/approaches/and political storms around W
Joni Dee
Apr 15, 2016 Joni Dee rated it liked it
As a fan of Michael Dobbs' work and of Winston Churchill it was a pleasant surprise to come across this historical novel that meets the two worlds.
The book is the first of a series, that takes it under itself to speculate as to Churchill's inner world, conflicts and conversations, while portraying very accurate historical set of events, through parallel plot lines of "common" people and their small part in the daily events

Thus we learn about Mac the barber (who hears all the Whitehall gossip as
David Parker
Sep 21, 2016 David Parker rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Pure fiction

Great !x!xxx xxx xcc!x cc=r sad c.f. g Chan cog Dr g c.f. c.f. g hvgvggvvghb c.f. :) :/ h vBulletin / hth chic vBulletinc.f.err gvvhhgb.
Jim McGrath
Oct 19, 2016 Jim McGrath rated it it was amazing
The quartet of novels about Winston Churchill during World War Two are a great mixture of history and invention. They are also hugely entertaining.
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Michael Dobbs was born on the same day, in the same hour as Prince Charles in 1948.

He is the son of nurseryman Eric and his wife Eileen Dobbs and was educated at Hertford Grammar School and Christ Church, Oxford University. After graduating in 1971 he moved to the United States.

In the USA he attended the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy at Tufts University in Medford, Massachusetts, which he
More about Michael Dobbs...

Other Books in the Series

Winston Churchill (4 books)
  • Never Surrender (Winston Churchill, #2)
  • Churchill's Hour (Winston Churchill #3)
  • Churchill's Triumph (Winston Churchill #4)

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“Democracy is like a great play. It lasts more than one act. You must be patient,” 3 likes
“Tell me, McFadden, what do you think of our beloved Mr. Chamberlain?” Mac didn't care for such direct questions. All his adult life had been spent in the mentality of the gulag, never openly complaining, always seeming to conform, never risking a row. Perhaps that's why he had agreed to marry, not so much to avoid disappointing the lady but more because it was the simplest way to fit into the flow of things.” 1 likes
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