Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “Hinge of Fate” as Want to Read:
Hinge of Fate
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

Hinge of Fate (The Second World War #4)

4.36  ·  Rating details ·  1,222 Ratings  ·  48 Reviews
Winston Churchill says of the fourth volume of The Second World War, 'I have called this The Hinge Of Fate because in it we turn from almost uninterrupted disaster to almost unbroken success. For the first six months of this story all went ill; for the last six months everything went well. And this agreeable change continued to the end of the struggle.'
Hardcover, 1000 pages
Published December 12th 1950 by Houghton Mifflin (first published January 1st 1950)
More Details... edit details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about Hinge of Fate, please sign up.

Be the first to ask a question about Hinge of Fate

This book is not yet featured on Listopia. Add this book to your favorite list »

Community Reviews

(showing 1-30)
Rating details
Sort: Default
Nov 24, 2008 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
When you've done something almost supernaturally brilliant and far-sighted, and it works better than you could have dared hope, you really want to get the credit. Even Churchill is not immune. Back in 1940, when Britain was under siege and things looked almost desperate, he made a terrific strategic decision: not to go all-out on defence, but move tanks so as to be able to hold Egypt. That might give long-term chances of a counter-attack. Miraculously, it worked. We won the Battle of Britain; th ...more
May 17, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: history, spring, war
I ought to have known. My advisers ought to have known and I ought to have been told, and I ought to have asked.

Winston Churchill's WWII series has turned out to be intriguing reading, albeit very long reading. This volume is the first one in the series where relief, not much but relief nevertheless, starts to show. After the first three volumes focused on one disaster after another, Churchill leads the reader to what he feels is the turning point of the war.

The British people can face peril o
Mikey B.
This fourth volume takes us from January 1942 to May 1943. During this period, as the title indicates, the fulcrum of the war shifted from one of constant defeats to one of victory. The tide had changed, but as Churchill continued to warn, the road to triumph was still to be long, costly and arduous.

Page 493 (my book) June, 1942

We had survived the collapse of France and the attack on Britain. We had not been invaded. We still held Egypt. We were alive and at bay; but that was all. On the other h
May 03, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The time frame of this book covers approximately one and a half years, from late 1941 until May 1943, during which a cascading series of events, some of them catastrophic, tried the resolve of the British peoples and their Prime Minister. There were several bright spots early-on, including the recent thumping that the British Commonwealth armies had given to German General Rommel in the North African desert, and the long-hoped-for entry of the United States into the war.

This latter development
Feb 02, 2009 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
So, everyone out there, pop quiz. Who knew before now that just after the United States entered WWII our shipping was attacked constantly by the German Navy, even just off shore of New Orleans and in the Chesapeake Bay and all around Florida? We didn't have very effective anti-submarine defense at the time and they picked off ships at will. Even to the point of picking and choosing which ships to sink. Two-thirds of the ships that went down were tankers, since they were the most important. 70 sh ...more
Jul 14, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Winston Churchill was remarkable, as much as for any other reason, for the sheer volume of words he produced. In a long life, during which he was often preoccupied by both family matters (he had four children) and matters of state, he nevertheless found the time to compose an inordinate number of books. I say compose, because he perfected a system during the first war, which revealed its efficacy more than ever in the second, of working through secretaries. There are many odd anecdotes told abou ...more
David Rubin
Aug 18, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This is the fourth volume in Winston Churchill's monumental work on the Second World War. This is not history of a grand scope, but rather, Churchill's personal memoir of the war. Of course, being a key player on the allied side, Churchill brings a wealth of information and insight to the decision making process.

We Americans are so inculcated with the American roles and perspectives of the war, that Churchill's quintessential British version of events is a refreshing view. The book is composed
Jeff Elliott
Being 1,000 pages it took me a while to get through. There were a few good chapters on leadership (4 and 5). Having been a fan of Churchill this became a must read. During the time I have been reading this book I have learned some other things about him from another perspective. It's hard to read someone's work objectively until you have outside sources. Churchill's tendency to meddle in areas outside of his domain was what cost him his job before the war but also led to his success during it. A ...more
Aug 17, 2007 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I have read almost every one of Churchill's books. Reading any of them is like going to a technicolor movie.
Michael Scott


--- Considering ElAlamein as "the hinge of fate" is, to put it mildly, British-centered. It was a battle of great tactical importance, which opened up the campaign in Italy, but "the" hinge? How about Stalingrad (Russia)? How about Midway and Guadalcanal (US)? Admittedly, Churchill does say "Before Alamein we never had a victory. After Alamein we never had a defeat." (Emphasis mine.)

--- The terse treatment of Stalingrad and, in general, of the Russian plight. Although Churchill does compla
Peter Coomber
Jul 28, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Many years ago (almost fifty), I was fascinated by a set of books that my Dad had in his book case. These had an identical red and black banded cover; it was the cover design that caught my attention.

Some years later - after my Dad had died, and then my Mum had died - I came in possession of three of these books: The Second World War by Winston Churchill - price 5 shillings each. What had happened to the other nine of the series of twelve? Probably given away or thrown out by my Mum. The survivi
Churchill characterizes this volume as the record of how a succession of defeats and setbacks was followed by a series of wins and gains in the year 1942. A surprising aspect for me was the realization of just how little Britain and the United States were engaged in actual combat during that period compared with what was happening between Russia and the Nazis. Churchill does not skimp on his evaluation of the enormity and consequence of that encounter. But he casts it within the "frame" of his f ...more
Alf Goodall
Jan 16, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The cover is not the same as my edition which may have been purchased as a set as all 6 volumes are the same without a dust jacket. As in other volumes in the series the description of ongoing behind the scenes activities is quite different from the usual books on the conduct of a war. Although he was a soldier, and at one time First Lord of the Admiralty, Churchill's history of this great event are from the view of one of the greatest statesmen of all time. Anyone wondering about that should re ...more
Sep 05, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: owned
Gijs Grob
Of all six books that comprise Churchill's 'The Second World War'. 'The Hinge of Fate' is by far the thickest. No wonder, as it describes the longest war period of them all, from January 1942 to May 1943. As Churchill acknowledges himself, the first part describes a particular bad period for the British, as they quickly lost all their far eastern colonies to Japan, and were driven back into Egypt by Rommel's Afrika Corps. Only in the autumn of 1942 the allies were on a winning streak again, and ...more
Jan 05, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The fourth of six volumes in this series focuses on the US entry into the war. Most active theatres are North Africa, the Mediterranean and the Pacific.
Churchill heaps praise on his allies. First and foremost on the US, the 'awakening giant', whose industrial potential will eventually help win the war. At the same time he does not forget to emphasize the 'heroic struggle' and 'historical achievements' of Stalin's Russia - and rightly so.
The naked facts and sheer numbers of people and material in
Nov 04, 2009 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The pace picks up again in this history of WWII. Their were some very interesting details about the sinking of a tremendous amount of shipping just off the coast of the US by U-boats. Being an American I enjoyed reading about the first major US involvement in the ground war in the operation Torch in North Africa. It is amazing how the tide turned in the both North Africa, Russia, and the Pacific, from tremendous setbacks by German and Japanese advancement. I was impressed at how much shuttle dip ...more
Tim Mygatt
Apr 29, 2009 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Incredibly insightful. This account stands alone in a genre not commonly attempted: the voluntary revelation of one's choices and actions during a moment of tremendous testing, a moment when those choices and actions could easily be second-guessed. Of course, the outcome of the war made this an easier task than it would be for some; history is written by the victors and all that. But what gives these books there power is the tremendous amount of primary material in them -- letters and papers wri ...more
John Doyle
Apr 02, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Volume 4 of 6 describes the Allied victory in North Africa as the "Hinge of Fate" on which the ultimate fortunes of the combatants in Western Europe were determined. At last the British defeated the Germans at Alamein and thereafter rolled up a nearly continuous string of victories that culminated in victory. The power of these volumes for me comes from the correspondence and anecdotes among the Big Three (Churchill, Roosevelt, and Stalin). One such anecdote tells of President Roosevelt in a sta ...more
Bob Uva
So far in this book, having read through the year 1942 in the WWII, I have a new appreciation of how difficult the struggle of winning the war was for the Allies. Surprisingly, with all of the defeats the Allies suffered in the first six or nine months of that year, Churchill continued to profess complete confidence in victory, primarily because of the entrance of the United States into the war. His trials in dealing with Stalin are interesting and at times humorous if not exasperating, and the ...more
Nov 22, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: history
What a rousing work of inspiration from a great man. From going from having a vote of confidence about his conduct of the war to the great victory in Tunisia, Mr Churchill was put through the ringer during the year of 1942 covered in this book. Through it all, Churchill never lost faith in himself, which speaks to his great powers of resolve and resolution. Although parts are self-serving (could he go on about the Norway project any more), this is truly a great work of historical scholarship by ...more
Doug Dams
Oct 19, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is the fourth book of six volumes of Churchill's WWII memoirs. The first six months after Pearl Harbor the allies suffer defeat after defeat from German and Japanese forces. Then the tide turns, America sees victories in the Pacific and England sees victories in Europe. Churchill and Roosevelt worry about German scientists discovering a new weapon (the atomic bomb). This is an exciting vlume in the set because the pace of the war picks up and CHurchill and Roosevelt must make a lot of decis ...more
Jun 27, 2012 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Britain's fight against the Axis from Pearl Harbour to the conquest of Tunis (Dec 41-April 43), as narrated (and telegramed) by Churchill.

Essentially a diplomatic and administrative history rather than a narrative or military one, this volume continues the intriguing history of Churchill in the war.

Very notable for the off-the-cuff remarks between Churchill and Roosevelt on (amongst other things) Stalin.

Churchill really did like a good war. He enjoyed himself immensely.

Rated G. 3/5
Sep 02, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: history
Churchill's masterful 4th volume of WWII, continues the narrative of WWII, and documents the turning points of the war. Roughly tracing the events of 1942, Churchill details the setbacks of early 1942, and the successes of the later part of the year. A truly magnificent account, told from the British perspective of how worry and concern turned into expectation of victory throughout that pivotal year.
Tony Genualdi
Feb 19, 2015 rated it really liked it
The hinge Churchill refers to is 1942 and the first half of 1943. He talks about the many conferences he had with the American war leaders, like the "Trident" conference, where Churchill talks about his ideas for post-war alliances, and for a Supreme World Council, supported by regional councils in Europe, the Pacific and the Americas. He also talked about a United States of Europe, where people could travel freely, just like the U.S.

I'm left wondering how he'd feel about the European Union
Matt Brown
Still enjoying the series, the difference in technology that they were dealing with is really starting to hit me. Cables and boats dominate communication and transport. Flying long distances was novel and dangerous. It's really easy to forget just how far the world has come since then.

Reading Time: 13 hours, 21 mins
The fourth in the incredible series by Winston Churchill of a story that only he could tell. A read for senior leaders in politics, government, and the military on the importance of character, vision, proactive leadership, and tenacity during times of great challenge.
Simply a fascinating account of the Second World War and want to save comments for when I completed the last and final book. Sir Churchill was the politician and stateman the world needs now more than ever.
Apr 17, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: finished
An excellent read from Britain's most celebrated statesman. Number 4 of the series the book Is certainly not boring but lively, informative, giving wisdom with each page and written as only 'Winnie' could write. Hear, hear !!! Another 'must read' by Winston !! Tallyho !
Michael Certalic
Amazed by Churchill's relational leadership during '42-'43 with FDR, Stalin, Eisenhower, and the Brits, in the context of turning "from almost uninterrupted disaster to almost unbroken success." Much better understanding now for the context of North Africa in WWII.
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 next »
topics  posts  views  last activity   
Redemption of Winnie 3 11 Jul 06, 2016 06:31PM  
  • Churchill and America
  • To Lose a Battle: France 1940
  • Decision in Normandy
  • The Third Reich at War (The History of the Third Reich, #3)
  • The Rommel Papers
  • History of the Second World War
  • The Battle for History: Re-fighting World War II
  • A World at Arms: A Global History of World War II
  • The Collapse of the Third Republic
  • Crusade in Europe
  • Scorched Earth: The Russian-German War, 1943-1944
  • Forgotten Armies: The Fall of British Asia, 1941-1945
  • Flames Across the Border: 1813-1814
  • Rousseau and Revolution (The Story of Civilization, #10)
  • Brothers, Rivals, Victors: Eisenhower, Patton, Bradley and the Partnership that Drove the Allied Conquest i n Europe
  • Bomber Command
  • When Titans Clashed: How the Red Army Stopped Hitler
  • Japan's War: The Great Pacific Conflict
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
More about Winston S. Churchill...

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 Grand Alliance (The Second World War, #3)
  • Closing the Ring (The Second World War, #5)
  • Triumph and Tragedy (The Second World War, #6)
“There is no worse mistake in public leadership than to hold out false hopes soon to be swept away. The” 1 likes
More quotes…