One of history’s greatest public figures rises to the occasion, delivering much needed leadership to a nation on the brink of war.
The fifth volume of the acclaimed biographical masterpiece opens with Churchill’s return to Conservatism and to the Cabinet in 1924 and unfolds into a vivid and intimate picture both of his public life and of his private world at Chartwell between the wars.
Gilbert strips away decades of accumulated myth and innuendo, showing Churchill’s true position on India, his precise role (and private thoughts) during the abdication of Edward VIII, his attitude toward Mussolini, and his profound fears for the future of European democracy. Even before Hitler came to power in Germany, Churchill saw in full the dangers of a Nazi victory. And despite the unpopularity of his views in official circles, for six years he persevered in his warnings.
This book reveals for the first time the extent to which senior civil servants, and even serving officers of high rank, came to Churchill with secret information, having despaired at the extent of official lethargy and obstruction. Within the Air Ministry, the Foreign Office, and the Intelligence Services, individuals felt drawn to go to Churchill with full disclosures of Britain’s defense weakness and kept him informed of day-to-day developments from 1934 until the outbreak of war. As war approached, people of all parties and in all walks of life recognized Churchill’s unique qualities and demanded his inclusion in the government, believing that he alone could give a divided nation guidance and inspiration.
“A milestone, a monument, a magisterial achievement . . . rightly regarded as the most comprehensive life ever written of any age.” —Andrew Roberts, historian and author of The Storm of War
“The most scholarly study of Churchill in war and peace ever written.” —Herbert Mitgang, The New York Times