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Memoirs of the Second World War: An Abridgement of the Six Volumes of the Second World War

4.4  ·  Rating details ·  486 Ratings  ·  43 Reviews
From Britain's darkest and finest hour to the great alliance and ultimate victory, the Second World War remains the pivotal event of our century. Churchill was not only its greatest leader, but the free world's most eloquent voice of defiance in the face of Nazi tyranny. His epic account of those times, published in six volumes, won the Nobel Prize in Literature in 1953.


Hardcover, 1065 pages
Published January 1st 1978 by Bonanza Books (first published 1948)
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Aug 30, 2010 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
I really admire Churchill as a war leader. He was exactly the right man in the right job for the time. But if you want accurate history, go elsewhere. Since millions of documents have been declassified, especially the existence of ULTRA, any WWII history released before 1980 is by definition, woefully incomplete. Like Eisenhower's war memoir, Churchill's is intended to secure his place in history, not at all to tell an accurate story. (Additionally, the main reason Churchill wrote these books is ...more
Jul 09, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A fascinating personal narrative, as opposed to a history, of WWII. WSC believed in the British Empire and a special relationship among all "English-speaking people." The first half of the abridged version of his six-volume memoirs is stronger; as the war drags on he focuses on the many conferences of the "Big Three" FDR, WSC and Stalin. If everyone had just heeded all his warnings and had implemented his strategies all would be well, or at least better. As Germany is collapsing toward surrender ...more
Nov 13, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Originally read this book 20+ years ago and am re-reading and skimming portions in Fall 2013 to provide context for my reading of Ciano's diary.

These memoirs are a good lesson or reminder of just how close our civilization came to utter destruction!

Everyone should read Churchill for the spirit of the thing. He was a very fine writer as well as one heck of a poliotician and leader. This abridged version probably leaves out some of the color, but one gets the idea.

My edition seems to be an exact
Don Stanton
Jan 05, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Clearly an essential book to read, especially if there is an interest on how Great Britain survived the years of war prior to the American full involvement. The details of desperate decisions, know that his decision would cost more British lives, but for the greater good. I could see the transformation from a gentle soul to what he was called later, 'the Lion,'or the "Great Lion." How must it have felt that the future of his nation hung on his every word.
Sep 14, 2007 added it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Anyone wanting to learn about WWII
Although I was vaguely aware that the Second World War encompassed more than Germany and Russia, I had no idea of the vast expanses in the war's theatre. The campaign across North Africa was particularly compelling for me insofar as I had an uncle who fought in that campaign. Churchill's abridged memoirs run well past 1000+ pages, often laborious readings, but straight from the horse's mouth.
May 17, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Remember he was a politician during the war, so to be generous, this is in no way a definitive history of the war; or accurate in light of new research. Prose is spellbinding, especially with regards to appeasement.
Mike Mikulski
I've been reading this in chunks of 200 pages since the spring. Churchill's telling of the war time meetings with FDR and Stalin and the situation Britain faced from the start of the war through the Battle of Britain are the highlights of the book. I appreciated new insights into Britain's role in the war in the Mediterranean and what happened in Greece and the Balkan's in the vacuum after the German's were defeated. Particularly interesting was Churchill's vision of how the victors would allow ...more
Joris Rycken
Jan 30, 2018 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Ik las vier delen van de twaalfdelige versie. Wellicht alleen nog echt interessant voor kenners...
Jun 30, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
The following is a note I wrote on FB about it.
Finished reading today "Memoirs of the second World War" by Winston S. Churchill.

Magnificent 1000 pages.

Most of the times you will be awed by the greatness of the man, you will see how mankind fell to its its own follies. You will see how easy is it to give in, but above all there are some principles which should always adhere to.

When your actions and
Nov 24, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: ww2
A very good book. I have always had more interest in the british effort in the second world war than from the US and the USSR, specially considering how underrated the britsh war effort is. This book dwelves into all the fronts, obviously giving emphasis on how britain was affected or what its actions was.

One of the most interesting parts was a graphic that showed how the UK had actually more divisions on the frontlines (that is, the india army does not counts, nor those divisions in england and
Feb 11, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: non-fiction
It took me several weeks to read this book of over 1000 pages, but it was well worth it. Perhaps the best book I have ever read, both for enlightenment and educational value. For me, Winston Churchill is the greatest man to have lived during my lifetime.

Some things I learned reading this book:

• Amazed to learn about the effect of the U-boats in WWII. Of the total fleet of 250, close to 100 were in U.S. waters at one time during 1942 & 1943. In 68 months of fighting 781 German U-boats were lo
Hugo de oliveira
To trully understand WWII and how it was possible to Hitler to gain balance and trust to invade Poland, you definately have to read this book. Winston Churchil had an extraordinary life, worhty to know, specially the period of WWII, when he was the UK Prime Minister, but its not entirelly accurate, not only beacuse it was writen by himself, so theres always a tendency to show a story that favours the author, but also because when it was writen there were many details that were classified info an ...more
Dec 20, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This is an exceptional read for anyone interested in the history of WWII. It is a condensed version, as opposed to the original 6 volume set. Yet, it portrays well the political and economic climate that led up to WWII, and the on goings from Churchill's perspective.

I read this book and do agree there were some things omitted, especially regarding ULTRA. Read this book and then the "Bodyguard of Lies" by Anthony Cave Brown, which details what Churchill could not due to the secrets act. Kept as
Nigel Street
Jan 16, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
An incredible feat to be able to record the sequence of events in such detail in order to be able to provide such a comprehensive account of these incredible events. The political situation is also dealt with in a detail and with an insight I had not experienced before; keeping the country encouraged was one thing, managing Stalin and Roosevelt was something else entirely. Essential reading for anyone interest in the events of the 2nd World War.
Jan 29, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This single tome does credit to Winston Churchill: The greatest Britain of the Twentieth Century in key parts of his erudite, literary splendour with many of the essential elements of his breath-taking, sweeping 6 Volume History of The Second World War concisely delivered in 1,000 pages plus a bonus of typically robust assessment of the first decade of the Cold War era.
Jun 05, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Generally speaking it is a Great book and Exceptional description of events. Since this is only the British perspective I would like also to read first from others perspective (Japanese, Indian, French, Russian and any other of parts involved) before giving any opinion about real events that happened.

Paul Servini
Je voulais surtout voir ce que Churchill disait concernant les événements qui on mené à la deuxième guerre mondiale. Vraiment de matière à méditer dans ce livre. Je me réjouis d'attaquer tome 2.

I was particularly interested in getting Churchill's perspective on the events leading to the Second World War. Certainly gives food for thought. Looking forward to attacking the second volume.

I have always wanted to read the six book series and actually picked this up by accident, not realizing it was an abridgement. I am glad I did! I enjoy the political and social aspects of the book, but not the detailed military narratives.

Churchill certainly has an agenda in recounting certain aspects of the allied strategy, but I enjoyed in nonetheless.
Fascinating to see WWII through the words of a key player, Winston Churchill. I find his writing style a bit difficult to read but so worth the effort. I learned that there were signs years before WWII that Hitler was either thought to be a joke or a real danger but few took him seriously until he was on his way.
joe ryan
Jun 02, 2011 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
If you are a history buff, and more importantly, a World War II buff, then this is a must read. Insights to the war which amazed me. Churchill is one of the great figures in modern history; plus he is a terrific writer!!!
Nuno Guimarães
May 25, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Tudo acaba por ser genial neste livro com o único problema de ele relatar um dos momentos mais tristes da humanidade. Devia ser leitura obrigatória para todas as pessoas que querem compreende o mundo em que vivemos e também a essência do ser humano.
Feb 08, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Churchill is a favorite. A good writer and fantastic story-teller, Churchill tells us his version of WWII as he saw it including his view of the hand of God in the miracles that helped the world overcome the evils of communism.
Aug 02, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I could not plow through this book, it took me along to finish. But I really thought it was an excellent work. I am biased though, I love Winston Churchill, but I am also very happy that I never knew him personally, he was arrogant snotty, and rude, but he is still one of my hero's.
Aug 13, 2011 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
I really admire Winston Churchill as a war leader, but this book is just too detailed for me. I love to read about his political thoughts and about his relationsship with Stalin and Roosevelt during the war, but the descriptions of every single battle during WWII bores me.
Sep 12, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: history
A leader's view of of the Second WW. While interesting, I found Churchill's writing style somewhat turgid.
Don Eggert
Dec 09, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This is one of the most enjoyable books I've read in a long time. If you have an interest in WW II, Europe or Winnstn Churchill I highly recommend it.
Jul 09, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This is WW2 from Churchill's point of view. Moves along well, fascinating. Shows how desperate the situation was, and what a close shave it was.
Jun 14, 2009 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A great summary of all that happened during leading up to and through the end of World War II from the British perspective. Very good read - long but worthwhile.
Tony Daniel
Jul 09, 2010 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: politics
Beautiful prose. Intimately felt. Expertly told. Invaluable document for humanity. Great read.
Cocoa Samario
Aug 26, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Anybody with even the slightest interest in WW2 must read this book.
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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
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“Woe betide the leaders now perched on their dizzy pinnacles of triumph if they cast away at the conference table what the soldiers had won on a hundred bloodsoaked battlefields.” 24 likes
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