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The Grand Alliance

(The Second World War #3)

4.33  ·  Rating details ·  1,825 ratings  ·  89 reviews
Winston Churchill's six-volume history of the cataclysm that swept the world remains the definitive history of the Second World War. Lucid, dramatic, remarkable both for its breadth and sweep and for its sense of personal involvement, it is universally acknowledged as a magnificent reconstruction and is an enduring, compelling work that led to his being awarded the Nobel P ...more
Paperback, 848 pages
Published May 5th 2005 by Penguin Classics (first published April 1950)
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4.33  · 
Rating details
 ·  1,825 ratings  ·  89 reviews

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Mikey B.
This third volume is a transitional year (1941) in which the British Isles were no longer fighting alone. The Soviet Union was viciously attacked by Nazi Germany in June and of course Pearl Harbor brought in the United States at year’s end. It also marks a turning point in that Churchill made two voyages to North America in 1941. There were to be many more perilous trips undertaken by Churchill during the war. The descriptions of these trips are exquisite.

It should be emphasized that the United
Nov 24, 2008 rated it really liked it
The third volume of Churchill's history of World War II is a terrific example of how pragmatic you need to be in politics. It's not much use complaining that people are evil. You have to think about the lesser of two evils, and choose that one. Here, Britain and the US are fighting Nazi Germany and Japan. Germany was previously allied with the Soviet Union, but then miscalculated and attacked them. So, by default, Britain was allied with the Soviet Union, whom it had just previously considered t ...more
Aug 22, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: history, war, winter
Mr. Churchill was a trip. Truly a one-of-a-kind giant who helped save the world, yet was able to write about his struggles with effortless aplomb. It must have been the merging of his English and American blood, bringing the best together. This is the third volume of his WWII saga, and it is marvelous (though I rank it below Their Finest Hour). Whether he is fretting about Great Britain fighting by itself while waiting for Roosevelt or slinging dry-witted remarks left and right, this book was a ...more
Michael Shea
Feb 16, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
The current Volume continues with England alone, fighting for life against the U-boat choke hold and confronting the enemy in North Africa and the Middle East. Then the war turns truly global, with Hitler's invasion of Russia in June 1941 and the entrance of the US after Pearl Harbor. Some memorable quotes:

“Renown awaits the Commander who first in this war restores Artillery to its prime importance on the battlefield, from which it has been ousted by heavily armoured tanks.”
- "A Note by the Mini
Feb 09, 2009 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: History buffs, British historians, Military buffs
Recommended to Michael by: serendipity
This third volume of Winston Churchill's memoir of the Second World War covers the year 1941, perhaps the turning point of the war. As the year opened, the British Empire stood alone against a triumphant Germany, which had overrun France and Western Europe, with Italy still ascendant in Africa and Japan increasingly noisy in the Far East. Churchill, unlike certain British revisionists since that time, never underestimates the importance of the Dominion powers in terms of British strength, and ce ...more
Jul 14, 2012 rated it really liked it
Because of his immense output, Winston Churchill may be described as an old-fashioned writer. Fortunately for us he does not read as such. There is very little archaic about the expressions he uses or the grammar he employs, in volume after volume after volume. It remains immensely readable, and this is the strength of a good writer, it seems to me. As a boy, Churchill was held up to me as an example of a person with a very full command of English. I was told, although I have never been able to ...more
Feb 02, 2009 rated it really liked it
The things I found most interesting in this book were the Battle of Britain and what happened with Russia and Germany.
I knew Winston Churchill had a reputation for good insults, but he had some very blunt things to say about how Stalin managed things before the Germans invaded. "Gross mismanagement" was one of the phrases he used.
The two-faced behavior of the Soviets would have been socially crippling but I guess you can't afford to ostracize someone you need to successfully fight a war. Before
Andrew Canfield
Nov 21, 2018 rated it really liked it
The Grand Alliance is the third book in Winston Churchill's six volumes on the second World War, and the bulk of it is spent detailing the contours of a chess match between Great Britain, Italy, Russia, and Germany.

There is a chapter devoted to the Battle of the Atlantic, and the naval-minded prime minister makes it clear how much importance he attached to maintaining oceanic command. Preventing Hitler's ability to destroy his island's shipping capacity (even more so after Lend-Lease) is one of
Jun 29, 2013 rated it really liked it

The Grand Alliance
Winston Churchill
Houghton Mifflin

By 1950, when this volume was published, I should think Churchill must have almost choked when he selected the title. The title refers to how, in 1941, Russia abruptly sought alliance with Britain following Hitler's attack; and how the United States went all-in following the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor. But now, in 1950, to call it a "grand alliance" given the naked postwar aggression and land grabbing of the USSR upon conclusion of the
Sep 21, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Winston Churchill's comprehensive recounting of the World War II based on his remembrances continues with this, the third edition of six. It almost entirely involves the tumultuous year of 1941, when Great Britain was fighting almost single-handedly against Germany and Italy in the Balkans, Greece, Cyprus and, far from least, in North Africa. Prime Minister Churchill must have felt the weight of the world on his shoulders as desperate measures were enacted by his government and armed forces to k ...more
Feb 13, 2018 rated it it was amazing

There is so much happening this volume -- the invasion of Russia, the advance of the Japanese war machine in the Pacific, and of course the attack on Pearl Harbor that brings the United States fully into the war.

Particularly amazing is the divide between FDR and Churchill when it comes to Stalin. Churchil is a pragmatist and knows that he has to support Stalin in order to defeat the Nazis, but he is deeply wary of the Soviet leader, and reminds the readers that the Soviets were happy to go alon
Jun 15, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: general-history, war
As always incredibly engrossing and enjoyable, but the main takeaway I got from this was that Churchill was a) extremely interested in describing the flights he took, and b) just a terrible backseat pilot.

This one seemed to include rather a lot more of his personal musings than the others have thus far, and while it makes him seem a lot more human and humorous, you also get the impression that his forcefulness and absolute control over the war and political spheres may not have ended in those s
Oct 24, 2016 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
The story moves from Britain surviving Germany's onslaught in "Their Finest Hour" to a more macro view of the war. The first half details Germany's moves that brought Russia into the Allied side and the second half ends with the US joining the fray. In between, there is significant detail on the war front in the Mediterranean, specifically the fall of Greece and the front in North Africa. At these macro levels, Churchill offers significant insight, but often enough he presents details (particula ...more
Rob Markley
Oct 31, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: history
It is Churchill's largely personal history of WWII continuing through 1941, but such was his prodigious contribution that the history is still near complete. Never was it more true, 'for such a time as this' that a man was more adequately prepared. Churchill has knowledge and insight into a vast array of affairs and his history brings out diverse aspects and forgotten campaigns, that would never appear in any other general history of the war. This chronicles the struggles against inefficiency an ...more
James Richardson
Jul 31, 2017 rated it it was amazing
I just finished reading Winston Churchill's The Grand Alliance! This is volume 3 of Churchill's 6 volume set covering World War 2. It is a great book, insightful, witty and humorous at times as only Churchill can be. I recommend this to my teacher friends who teach A.P. history for many primary letters are included from the powers that be during the time of the second world war. I also recommend it to anyone who likes history. I didn't realize all that the United States and F.D.R. did well in ad ...more
Ronald Golden
Sep 07, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Another great book in Churchill's collection about World War II. Churchill puts great detail on all of these books. I found particularly interesting his analysis of the military and political situation with regards to Japan entry into the war, and the United States position regarding Japan and the Pacific theater of operations. This comes rather late in the book but well worth the wait.
These books should be mandatory reading in schools and for anyone studying history.
Jan 25, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Captivating History

I found this an absolutely riveting and extraordinary read. Churchill succeeds in giving an almost daily account of the thoughts and action of one of our greatest leaders as he faced the very real threat of the destruction of his country. What a leader, what a writer.
Karen Sofarin
Sep 10, 2018 rated it really liked it
Such an interesting story. I am starting to be more aware of when Churchill wrote this and how much he leaves out of the WWII story. No mention of SOE or other covert intelligence services. He makes a great case and relationship with US but also has to manage Stalin.
Apr 09, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Incredibly moving.The man no doubt had one of the great minds of the 20th century. His grasp of details, from the smallest to the largest , and his courage and humanity in the face of unspeakable evil remains astounding.
Rob Pedersen
As opposed to the first two volumes, this volume relied heavily on in-text letters and notes, which took away from the narrative at times. However, the overall text is a great recitation of Churchill's involvement in global WWII operations in 1941 and the very beginning of 1942.
Roberta Muelling
May 15, 2017 rated it really liked it
I enjoyed reading this book because it's all first hand accounts of the war. I don't know how Churchill kept all the different parts organized and where he found the phenomenal energy needed to fight the Nazis alone. A truly amazing leader that we will never see the likes of again.
Jan 05, 2019 rated it really liked it
Very interesting how the world came to together.
Jul 01, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Winston never stops being a genius.
Ryan Middlebrook
Sep 18, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: fans of history
The third volume in the abridged collection of Churchill’s history of the Second World War (confusingly the third volume in the unabridged series goes by the same title) follows Great Britain out of the time of their isolation in the war. From 1939 until the Germans turned their sights on Russia in 1942, England was the sole force providing continual harassment to Hitler’s swelling dominion. While many other countries were friendly and supportive to the cause, there had yet to be formed an allie ...more
1941 and into the spring of 1942 were dark months but hope was once more on England's side along with allies. Namely the U.S.S.R. and the United States. In addition to allies, came the need for greater cooperation and diplomacy. Churchill traveled across the world, strengthening his personal relationships with the heads of these two countries and working to hammer out a master plan.

Why I started this book: While only the second book of the series was on the Navy's Recommended Reading list, I cou
Sep 02, 2008 rated it liked it
Winston Churchill's third installment in his history of World War 2 carries on with the same style of writing, the same attention to detail, and the same chronological organization as the first two volumes. The Grand Alliance covers the time period when first Russia and then the United States joined Britain in the fight against the Axis powers. This was my least favorite of the three books in the series I've read so far.

Firstly, as with the other books, there is the paradoxical issue of feeling
Oct 31, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: history
As in the previous two books, Churchill does a wonderful job of making history come alive. This book covers 1941. England has won the battle of Britain, but must determine what is next. The answer is to take the initiative in the Middle East. So Churchill describes all the actions to try to thwart the Axis powers intentions in the Middle East. By the end of the 1941, the situation in the Middle East is a draw.

A fortuitous development for Britain, Germany's invasion of Russia in the summer of 194
Gijs Grob
The third chapter in Churchill's account of World War II more or less covers the year 1941. Although Churchill hardly admits it, this was not a very good year for the British Empire: the Balkan and Greece were lost, the battle in Libya remained undecided, suddenly the British had to strike in Iraq, they made a rather questionable move in Persia, they lost their marine superiority in the Mediterranean, and at the end of the year they quickly started to lose their colonies in the Far East. One rea ...more
Chris Walker
Jul 22, 2011 rated it really liked it
It occurred to me that a short story should be written around what would have happened to the world if the battle ships carrying Roosevelt and Churchill to Newfoundland to sign the Atlantic Charter in 1941 had been scuttled by U Boats. It was these incidents rather than the blow by blows on the battlefields that held my interest in this book (although I was pleased to read Australian and New Zealand troops mentioned favourably in the north African campaign). There are moments of unintentional hu ...more
Jeff Elliott
Feb 22, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: history, world-war-ii
Great passage by Churchill on his first meeting with Roosevelt in Newfoundland, August 1941. He describes the joint service on Sunday, August 10 and concludes the chapter with these three sentences:
"Every word seemed to stir the heart. It was a great hour to live. Nearly half of those who sang were soon to die."

pg. 611 Churchill's correspondence and declaration of war with Japan after Pearl Harbor: Some people did not like this ceremonial style. But after all when you have to kill a man it costs
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  • Churchill and America
  • Hitler's U-Boat War: The Hunters, 1939-1942
  • The Battle for History: Re-fighting World War II
  • Touched with Fire: The Land War in the South Pacific
  • Crusade in Europe
  • The Road to Arnhem: A Screaming Eagle in Holland
  • Downfall: The End of the Imperial Japanese Empire
  • The Struggle for Europe
  • Hell to Pay: Operation Downfall and the Invasion of Japan, 1945-1947
  • The Pacific War: 1941-1945
  • Winston's War: Churchill, 1940-1945
  • History of the Second World War
  • Bodyguard of Lies: The Extraordinary True Story Behind D-Day
  • Decision in Normandy
  • Forgotten Armies: The Fall of British Asia, 1941-1945
  • The Road to Stalingrad: Stalin`s War with Germany
  • To Lose a Battle: France 1940
  • Interrogations: The Nazi Elite in Allied Hands, 1945
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)
  • The Gathering Storm (The Second World War, #1)
  • Their Finest Hour (The Second World War, #2)
  • 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)
“When we face with a steady eye the difficulties which lie before us, we may derive new confidence from remembering those we have already overcome.” 7 likes
“One clear-cut result is worth a dozen wise precautions.” 7 likes
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