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The Gathering Storm

(The Second World War #1)

4.34  ·  Rating details ·  4,623 ratings  ·  278 reviews
Winston Churchill’s monumental The Second World War, is a six volume account of the struggle between the Allied Powers in Europe against Germany and the Axis. Told by British Prime Minister Winston Churchill, this book is also the story of one nation’s heroic role in the fight against tyranny. Having learned a lesson at Munich they would never forget, the British refused t ...more
Kindle Edition, 756 pages
Published June 30th 2010 by RosettaBooks (first published June 1st 1948)
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Bill I don't think so. I have found it useful to read one of the standard biographies of Churchill prior to starting his 6 volume history of World War 2.…moreI don't think so. I have found it useful to read one of the standard biographies of Churchill prior to starting his 6 volume history of World War 2. Churchill was 25 years older when he wrote this history and maybe just a shade more humble than he was when he wrote the World Crisis. It is important to remember that the fact that Britain had broken the German code was still a secret when Churchill wrote the history of the Second World War.(less)
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My favourite moment in any James Bond film occurs near the end of Octopussy. Roger Moore has figured out that the tactical nuclear weapon is hidden at the circus and is about to go off, killing hundreds of thousands of people. The event might also trigger World War III. He has a few minutes to act.

He charges into the ring during the middle of the performance, dressed as a clown, and tries to get to the bomb. The bad guys, also dressed as circus performers, do what they can to stop him. The audi
Jun 20, 2008 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
First, some background: I found this entire series at a garage sale in the original hardcover book-of-the-month club format for $1.00 each, and decided to give them a try. Both of the World Wars have always held a philosophical interest for me, but at the same time, I had little interest in the actual course and strategies of particular battles or in the nature of equipment and machinery used. Since these seemed to be the primary subject matter of most books about either of the wars, I have alwa ...more
Lewis Weinstein
I am reading a few chapters at a time to keep pace with events as I work on the sequel to A Flood of Evil. Churchill's chapter on the re-occupation of the Rhineland was complete, concise and beautifully written.

UPDATE 5/22/17 ... the chapters on the Austrian Anschluss and Hitler's plan to invade Czechoslovakia are equally splendid reading. What is not always clear is what Churchill knew at the time as opposed to what he knew later.

The description of Roosevelt's January 1938 offer to convene a c
Description: The story of British prime minister Winston Churchill, focusing on his place in British life just prior to World War II.

Starring: Richard Burton, Virginia McKenna, Robert Hardy, Ian Bannen

Directed by: Herbert Wise

Music: ”Symphony No. 3 in C minor, 'Organ' Op. 78 (1990 Remastered Version): Maestoso - Allegro” av Georges Prêtre/Orchestre de la Société des Concerts du Conservatoire/Maurice Duruflé

Churchill: Do you know why the british bulldog's
May 23, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The Gathering Storm
Winston Churchill
Haughton Mifflin, 1948

As with many books and movies, I am driven to read or see them based on their titles. Such was the case with "The Gathering Storm". Of course, I had a good idea of what it was about, and that certainly played its part. I enjoyed the experience though, and perhaps in large part because, it was the fulfillment of a pleasure deferred for over 50 years.

Being the first of six volumes on the subject of the second World War, it covers a period,
Mikey B.
Page 500 (my book)

The veils of the future are lifted one by one, and mortals must act from day to day.

Page 512

The stroke of catastrophe and the spur of peril were needed to call forth the dormant might of the British nation. The tocsin was about to sound.

I had read all six volumes of Churchill’s War Memoirs over twenty years ago – so I thought I would give them another go. I was wondering how I would take to them on a re-read.

This first one is simply wonderful, exquisite, superlative ...I could
Mark Freckleton
Aug 30, 2010 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I had always read that Winston Churchill was an excellent writer. I also knew that he was right in the thick of things in the history-making events for the first half of the 20th century. In fact, I had owned his set of histories for a number of years - courtesy of the Book of the Month Club. Finally I got down to reading. This is an amazingly clear and lucid account of what led to the Second World War written by someone never further from the action than a front-row seat and often in the midst ...more
Jan 31, 2008 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Incredibly detailed but incredibly readable and fascinating first volume of Winston Churchill's history of World War II, for most of which he served as Prime Minister of Great Britain. From the mass of notes Churchill must have kept, it's hard to believe he had time to run the nation. He has always seemed an impressive figure to me, but reading this volume has multiplied my respect for him by a factor of ten. Yet Churchill writes with confidence but virtually no braggadocio. I look forward to re ...more
Jul 07, 2010 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I've had the goal of reading Winton Churchill's six-volume "History of World War II" for some time. I read and thoroughly enjoyed this first volume, from Mariner Books. These are among the least expensive editions. It shows in places. The typeset looks as if it has been recycled for a long time. Therefore, you read one page printed in solid, dark type and the next page looks faded. Some letters are almost completely washed out on some words, though this is very sporadic. It's easy, though, to ge ...more
Jul 14, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Winston Churchill may slowly be being forgotten as one of the twentieth century's most prolific writers. Those who learn about him today, if they hear his name at all, usually discover that he was a British Prime Minister, and little more. Even the fact that it was he who put the War Cabinet together in 1940, which managed to hold out both strategically and psychologically against Hitler, is slowly fading. "We will fight them on the beaches..." is slowly becoming merged with the sounds of popula ...more
Jan 10, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Churchillians, World War II buffs, Diplomatic Historians
Recommended to Michael by: Serendipity
Few world leaders have been as competent at documenting their own contribution to world events as Winston Churchill. And few world leaders can claim as important a contribution. For those reasons alone, the series he published on the Second World War remains in print and readily available for historians and history buffs. A serious researcher will want to confirm his claims by checking primary sources, but one of the strengths of this series is the heavy use it makes of government memoranda and ...more
Jan 20, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Don’t you just love this title? I never even considered reading Churchill’s work before (although, he IS a Nobel prize winner for literature!), because I’ve seen the long line of his volumes in my grandparents’ home when I was little, I’ve seen them on flea market sales and I’ve seen the number of pages of each volume, here on GR. It stuck with me - if you want to read Churchill, you really have to commit! But something about this title was so compelling. Whenever I saw it, I just thought about ...more
Jill Hutchinson
This is Volume 1 of the Churchill series of WWII, prior and post. As a master of the English language, the Prime Minister works his magic as he puts the events leading up to the War into perspective. As Lord of the Admiralty in WWI, Churchill knew of what he spoke.....he was a participant in the defeat of Imperial Germany and an opponent of the infamous Treaty of Versailles.....a treaty which may well have led to the rise of the Nazi ideology. Sir Winston provides an insiders look at the machina ...more
Meirav Rath
Dec 23, 2007 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: History buffs, WW2 buffs, Chruchill fans
Shelves: world-war-2
I love Churchill's writing style and his humor. Yes, he doesn't talk about absolutely everything that happened between the two world wars (his not-so-politically-correct opinion on India is conveniently nonexistent) but the highlights of the political turmoils which lead to the fascist takeover of Italy and Germany were enlightening and the downfall of Europ and the impotence of France and England to prevent the war were detailed marvelously.
I enjoy reading Churchill's Second World War series an
Jul 06, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is Volume I of Churchill's WW II history, covering the period in the 1930's before the war and the start of the war up to May 1940 when Churchill is made Prime Minister to replace the feckless Neville "Peace in Our Time" Chamberlin.
Reading again after a number of years, it is so painful once more to see how stupid and craven the British and French governments were in ignoring the years of speeches from Churchill that Germany was rearming in violation of the WW I treaty agreements. Further
Jan 12, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition

As someone who has had more than just a passing interest in WW2 history since childhood, I am surprised I had never endeavored to read Churchill's autobiographical accounts of the war years. He delves deeply into the hangover of the first world war, the political weakness and lack of decisiveness from the various governments of Western Europe when it came to a rapidly re-arming Germany, and the folly of the nations who were relying on neutrality to stay out of the war, who were later rolled over
Cathi Davis
Oct 02, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The Gathering Storm is the first book of a six book series written by Churchill about World War II. It is unique because the other major players--Stalin, Roosevelt, Mussolini....did not write about it. At publication is was taken as a historical work, but today it should probably be read more as a memoir.

I am on a WWII reading jag right now. This is one of the classics of the genre...the other one, The Rise and Fall of the Third Reich is sitting on my bookshelf, next! I also admit to being a hu
Feb 10, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: ww-ii
Okay, I skimmed a lot. But this is a magisterial, sweeping marshalling of facts and analysis. Churchill is a master of the English language and this shows him at the height of his powers. Will the West learn the lessons Churchill teaches here? Probably not.
It is in these circumstances that we entered upon that period of exhaustion which has been described as Peace. [...]It is established that henceforward whole populations will take part in war, all doing their utmost, all subjected to the fury of the enemy. it is established that nations who believe their life is at stake will not be restrained from using any means to secure their existence. it is probable - nay, certain - that among the means which will next time be at their disposal will be ag ...more
Riley Feldmann
Aug 16, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
In my constant and never ending pursuit for the newest found book in the ever more-rapidly expanding WWII literary genre, little had I considered or even remembered the fact that British Prime Minister Winston Churchill, a novelist in his own right both before and after the great conflict, had published a six-volume work on his personal perspective of the War. What finally turned me onto this book and series as a whole was finding an old copy the local highschool I was working at was giving away ...more
Aug 13, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
In high school history class I learned that the best way to learn history was by looking at primary sources to understand how the contemporaries viewed the events happening at the time. I kept that in mind when I wanted to understand World War II better and, based on some recommendations, picked up Winston Churchill. And I'm thankful I did. This book is full of insights and analysis that I never learned about in class or on the history channel. Churchill draws from his meticulous notes and speec ...more
Apr 06, 2008 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: history-ww2
Book One of Winston's Second World War series that I am slowly (oh, so slowly) working my way through. In this volume, Churchill talks about the terms that ended World War One and how those actually helped to cause World War Two. The book also contains letters and memos from the British government prior to its plunging into war...for the most part unprepared. I was struck by the similarities to today and how America entered many countries wanting to continue to negotiate with Hussein. ...more
Claudia Șerbănescu
Stiati ca, in 1953, Winston Churchill a luat Premiul Nobel pentru literatura? Nu pentru pace, ci pentru literatura, lucrarea la care s-a facut referire fiind "Al doilea razboi mondial". Versiunea originala are 6 volume, dar editia romaneasca, aparuta in 1998, este concentrata in 2 volume. Mai multe despre Winston Churchill, motivatia juriului Nobel si lista scrierilor sale pe linkul de mai jos.
Sherrie Pilkington
Aug 20, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: owned-books
Oh, pompous ass. I adore you. This is the story of how Hitler did whatever he wanted while Chamberlain asked everyone's opinions and didn't do anything.
Palindrome Mordnilap
I decided to read this first volume as a means of getting to understand the character of Churchill, but in so doing I learnt a huge amount more about the period leading up to the start of the Second World War.

Churchill's appraisal of the appeasement years is uncompromising, his own voice a lone cry in the wind for many years. It is hard to comprehend, looking back, how his warnings could have gone unheeded for so long. The experience of the Great War had scarred the leaders of Western Europe so
Michael Scott
TODO: I cannot do justice to this review by completing it now, just after finishing the first volume of Sir Winston Churchill's six-volume The Second World War, but I will try to keep adding material to this. (The book was this good.) The Gathering Storm covers the longest period in the series, from the end of the First World War (1919) and the formation of the Churchill Government (May 10, 1940). The central theme of this volume, which is split into two books, is the lack of preparedness of Gre ...more
Apr 15, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
The first volume of Winston Churchill's memoirs of the Second World War. The first section of the book deals with Churchill's take on how the end of the First World War laid the foundations for the Second and how the failed policies of the 20s and 30s created the conditions for the war. The second part of the book contains documents created by the British government that underline how unprepared that nation was to enter the war.
Jackson Cyril
Aug 25, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: history
Much of this book consists of WC telling us how the war could have been avoided, had it not been for the cruel conditions forced upon Germany after ww1 and the pusillanimous appeasement policies of the British government following Hitler's rise. We see Churchill painting himself as the lone voice of reason, who recognized what was to come and, when his name was finally called, responded without doubt and with a staunch belief in British victory. A gripping work, and if you are sensitive to WC's ...more
Nov 20, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: top-non-fiction
Stunning first volume in a series that covers WW2, the Gathering Storm does a great job in explaining the complex interplay of factors responsible for the global war that decimated the globe and transformed power structures forever after.
Dec 04, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Quite good and quite pleasingly Churchill. Coming right after Manchesters phenomenal biography of Churchill, the author's verbosity didn't add a ton to the story. And because all his biases stood out in relief. But probably one of the best books by a world leader I've read, alongside Kennedy's Profiles in Courage and a few others.
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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

Other books in the series

The Second World War (6 books)
  • Their Finest Hour (The Second World War, #2)
  • The Grand Alliance (The Second World War, #3)
  • The Hinge of Fate (The Second World War, #4)
  • Closing the Ring (The Second World War, #5)
  • Triumph and Tragedy (The Second World War, #6)
“Delight in smooth sounding platitudes, refusal to face unpleasant facts ... genuine love of peace and pathetic belief that love can be its sole foundation ... the utter devotion of the Liberals to sentiment apart from reality ...though free from wickedness or evil design, played a definite part in the unleashing upon the world of horrors and miseries [WWII]” 25 likes
“It is my purpose, as one who lived and acted in these days, first to show how easily the tragedy of the Second World War could have been prevented; how the malice of the wicked was reinforced by the weakness of the virtuous...” 10 likes
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