Churchill: A Life

Churchill: A Life

by Martin Gilbert


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About the Author

Martin Gilbert is a Fellow of Merton College, Oxford. He is well known as the official biographer of Churchill, and as a chronicler of the Holocaust and of Jewish history. He was knighted in 1995.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780805023961
Publisher: Holt, Henry & Company, Inc.
Publication date: 10/15/1992
Edition description: Reprint
Pages: 1088
Sales rank: 278,265
Product dimensions: 5.96(w) x 9.20(h) x 2.07(d)

About the Author

Sir Martin Gilbert is one of Britain’s most distinguished historians. As well as being the official biographer of Churchill, he is well known as a chronicler of the Holocaust and Jewish history. Among his many books is The Righteous: The Unsung Heroes of the Holocaust.

Table of Contents

List of Mapsxv
3Towards the Army35
4Second Lieutenant51
5In Action75
6To Omdurman and beyond85
7South Africa: Adventure, Capture, Escape107
8Into Parliament133
9Revolt and Responsibilities167
10The Social Field193
11Home Secretary211
12At the Admiralty239
13The Coming of War in 1914263
15Isolation and Escape309
16In the Trenches331
17'Deep and Ceaseless Torments'361
18Minister of Munitions375
19At the War Office403
20Colonial Secretary431
21Return to the Wilderness455
22At the Exchequer467
23Out of Office491
24The Moment of Truth535
25No Place for Churchill571
26From Munich to War603
27Return to the Admiralty623
28Prime Minister645
29Britain at Bay679
30The Widening War701
31Planning for Victory735
32Illness and Recovery763
33Normandy and Beyond777
34War and Diplomacy803
35'Advance, Britannia!'829
36'An Iron Curtain'843
37Mapping the Past, Guiding the Future871
38Prime Minister in Peacetime899
39Recovery, Last Ambition, Resignation915
40Last Years943

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Churchill 4.3 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 14 reviews.
Guest More than 1 year ago
True to form, Sir Martin Gilbert has done an outstanding job in this one volume biography of Sir Winston Churchill. I learned a great deal about one of the dynamic personalities of the 20th century.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Martin Gilbert has realized an impressive tour de force in introducing us to an exceptional, unusual phenomenon of nature, Winston Spencer Churchill (WSC) in a single volume. WSC himself was conscious of his extraordinary destiny early. As he famously mentioned at the age of thirty-two, "we are all worms, but I do believe I am a glow-worm (pg. 185 and 285)." Many of his contemporaries shared that insight quite quickly (e.g., pg. 172, 212, 285, 320, 329, 334, 533, 547, 556, 613, 616, 637, 685, 773, 774 and 841). Describing WSC, however, is tricky. As one of his early conquests, Pamela Plowden, noted in 1905, "The first time you meet Winston, you see all his faults, and the rest of your life you spend in discovering his virtues (pg. 174)." In his final comments, Gilbert makes a short, penetrating portrait of WSC: Vision and foresight, humanity and sense of fair play, democracy and patriotism, formidable powers of work and thought ... and controversy, disappointment and abuse (pg. 959). Vision and Foresight: e.g. Nature of the future Great War, its development and devastating consequences (pg. 143, 235 and 281), perils of curbing Free Trade (pg. 147), distinction between criminal and political prisoners (pg. 212), anticipation of "Blitzkrieg" (pg. 383 and 562), warning about the dangers of Communism and prediction of its ultimate downfall (pg. 403 and 884), comeback of a humiliated Germany with a vengeance (pg. 403 and 464), unwavering support for the cause of Zionism that will ultimately lead to the creation of Israel (pg. 429, 902, 903 and 947), collective security mechanism to preserve peace in Europe, precursor of article 5 of the North Atlantic Treaty (pg. 556), bankruptcy of appeasement policy conducted with Nazi Germany from weakness (pg. 480, 564, 596-599 and 632), unfolding of WWII and its destructions (pg. 593, 611, 658, 694, 697, and 701), construction of a post-war European Union around the French-German axis (pg. 731 and 872), use of nuclear arm to conduct a new strategic policy and call for a balanced and phased system of disarmament down the road (pg. 857, 884, 935 and 936), special relationship with the United States of America (pg. 869) Humanity and Sense of Fair Play: e.g. "No political freedom without a measure at least of social and economic independence" (pg. 191, 206 and 231), perfectly conscious of the strain of his political life on his relationship with his wife, Clementine (pg. 207), scrupulous fairness to any man before WSC on a charge under his command in the Belgian trenches (pg. 343), fairness of his demobilization plan (pg. 406), his funeral oration in praise of Neville Chamberlain (pg. 683), his concern with the plight of German civilians at the end of WWII (pg. 816), "(His eyes) can be hard as he looks at you - or as tender as a woman's - they can weep easily" (pg. 858 and 859), his lack of pretentiousness and real charm to everyone (pg. 863), his acts of generosity towards his friends and family (pg. 887), his faith in the ultimate wisdom of humanity (pg. 945) Democracy and Patriotism: e.g. Successful withdrawal of anti-Semitic Aliens Bill (pg. 165 and 167), resolute opposition against both Communism and Fascism (pg. 403, 426, 506, 575, 658, 866-869 and 884), servant of the Nation at war (pg. 724), establishment of a post-war 'United States of Europe' excluding Russia (pg. 731), essence of Churchill's political philosophy reduced to seven questions (pg. 790 and 791), importance of the right to vote in a democracy (pg. 802) Formidable Powers of Work and Thought: e.g. "You inspire us all by your courage & resolution" (pg. 279), "Supreme quality which I venture to say very few of your present or future Cabinet possess, the power, the imagination, the deadliness to fight Germany" (pg. 320), "He has lion-hearted courage. No number of enemies can fight down his ability and force. His hour of triumph will come" (pg. 320), "Anything he undertakes he puts his heart and soul into" (pg. 547)
Guest More than 1 year ago
This book was the best book I have ever read. I looked forward to reading this book every day and it was a sad day when the last page was read. Winston Churchill was an amazing person and Mr. Gilbert did an outstanding job of giving an absolute incredible historic account of his life.
Steve-L More than 1 year ago
Mr. Gilbert wrote a comprehensive book which seems to cover every month of Mr. Churchill's life. Some of his narrative goes into excruciating detail. This book is excellent for the researcher, but may not be for the casual reader who simply wishes an overview of Churchill's life and importance .
PhiloSophia1 More than 1 year ago
Martin Gilbert, an incredible author, contains an incredible ability to draw the reader into the spectrum of existence that is the life of Winston Churchill. I am extremely satisfied with my decision to go with Gilbert. The reader is drawn into the incredibly heroic life that is Winston Churchill often times finding it difficult to stop reading. By the end of the book the reader will walk away feeling as if they were encapsulated by the life of Churchill. From his early days at Harrow to his heroic accomplishments and enlightening abilities to bring about a wonderful victoryin World War II, the reader will feel a sense of being right beside an incredibly talented and intellectually inclined indiviudal that is the life of Winston Churchill. Churchill, the one who overcame adversity at all costs, from the trenches of war to Prime Minister, Martin Gilbert encapsulates both the ups and downs of a true heroic figure in the history of our planet.
Guest More than 1 year ago
This condensation of Martin Gilbert's imposing 8 volume tome is an outstanding resource for anyone wanting to learn more about the man who, by sheer force of will, guided Britain through perhaps the darkest period in her history. Sir Winston Churchill was a giant among men, revered and reviled, who almost single-handedly braced the backbone of his country against the onslaught of Hitler and his Nazi War Machine. From his beginnings as a schoolboy of only moderate educational talents, to his heroic (some would say foolhardy) exploits in the Boer War, to Parliment, then out, then back again, and finally as Prime Minister and elder statesman, Gilbert presents a clear picture of this great man, neither ignoring nor belaboring his manifest faults. You will see Churchill the visionary, predicting to importance of tanks and airplanes in modern warfare at a time when tanks didn't even exist, and the airplane was little more than a dangerous curiosity. You'll see the political maverick, never afraid to disagree with the establishment, but unwaveringly loyal to his monarch and Britain's mode of governance. You'll see a humanitarian who championed causes we now take for granted: health insurance, retirement benefits, and employee stock-ownership, at a time when these were almost unprecedented, even in the industrially modern United States. An enjoyable read, even at nearly 1000 pp. By the end you will have come to appreciate, and perhaps love, the man and his unmistakable and irreplacable contribution to freedom and democracy.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This is a fascinating book, well-written, about one of the great statesmen of the late 19th and 20th centuries. I recommend it highly. Those of us who remember the 2nd world war will, nevertheless, find new insight into that sad time in world history.
santhony on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Even the most historically illiterate students are familiar with the role Winston Churchill played in the victory over Nazi Germany. Unfortunately, many students of history remain uninformed of the true breadth and scope of his life. This work, a condensation of Martin Gilbert's earlier two volume history, is an excellent antidote for such ignorance. It is no exaggeration to credit Winston Churchill for the survival of England in the years between the fall of France and the U.S. entry in the conflict with Germany and Japan. Such was the lingering horror of the events of World War I, that Churchill was virtually alone in fighting the appeasement policies of his own government which contributed to the early success of Nazi Germany. But, it should be noted that Winston Churchill was in his mid-60s when he became Prime Minister of a coalition government formed to prosecute the war with the Axis powers. He already had 40 years of parliamentary service under his belt, stints as First Lord of the Admiralty during World War I (where he presided over the disastrous Gallipoli campaign) and Chancellor of the Exchequer, service in the trenches of World War I as well as the Boer War and the Sudan campaign, time as both a war correspondent and published author. Despite this nearly unprecedented scope of accomplishments, were it not for the rise of Nazi Germany and Adolph Hitler, he would be virtually unknown outside the realm of British historians. For, as great protagonists and great events are required to bring out the greatness of our heroes (Grant needed Lee, Caesar, Pompeii), none is a better example of this than Winston Churchill. Were it not for Adolph Hitler, Churchill would have likely served out his later parliamentary years as little more than a back bench Conservative crank, labeled as a warmonger and kept on the fringes of party politics. Even in the months preceding the invasion of Poland, Churchill was kept outside of the Cabinet of his own party's government. He was never neatly pigeonholed in the existing English party system. It was only the formation of a coalition government that allowed his ascension to the Prime Ministership. As it was, the perfect combination of personalities and events allowed Churchill to achieve greatness on a historical scale. It is no accident that almost immediately following successful conclusion of the war, Churchill and the Conservative party were bounced from power by the Labour Party, only to be returned to face the Soviet Union in the early stages of the Cold War. Churchill was a "crisis" manager and ill suited for periods of peace and tranquility. As a man in his late 60s and early 70s, Churchill displayed an endurance and a level of accomplishments nearly unprecedented in human history. Consider that he likely logged more miles of travel (both in the air and on sea, during a time of great danger for each) and wrote and published more works of literature than nearly anyone else alive during a period when he was quite literally standing alone in what was almost a personal fight for the continued existence of the British Empire. The catalog of heart attacks and strokes suffered and recovered from are a source of absolute amazement Now, it is a common failing of many biographers to enhance the accomplishments and gloss over he failings of their subjects, and I doubt not that Gilbert has done so here. However, the historical record is quite clear and Churchill's life and accomplishments are well documented. His love of the grog is rarely mentioned, though it was obviously a personal vice which he passed on to his children. His relationship with his wife seems quite unusual, though perhaps not so in the context of Victorian and early 20th century upper class English society. Gilbert's writing style consists almost entirely of reference to and quotation from letters, diary entries and other correspondence to, from and about Churchill. While this would seem to create a work both choppy and halti
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
As a sophomore in high school who had to read this book for a research project, I can wholeheartedly say that this book was very useful. Although long, and at times gave an overabundance of information, it did help me in finding fun facts for my presentation which I am to give in my class. I enjoyed how the book gave detailed facts about what Mr. Churchill did throughout his life, however, I would have like it better if it had gotten to the core of his life and the major events that Mr. Churchill had taken part in, in fewer chapters.  Do not be mistaken when I say that I enjoyed this book, but, the overall length was hard to get through in the time limit given to me for the assignment. I would further more say that the author did an impressive amount of research on the subject of Mr. Churchill's life and at the same time told the story of his life without provoking boredom of create disinterest. I found that by the end of my difficult and time consuming project, that if I were to use any other book for my project, I would not have had enough of the information required to be fully descriptive and create the proper image intended of Mr. Churchill and the fascinating life that he did so lead. If I were to give this book a proper intended audience I would have to say that this book was meant for people who enjoys facts and extra insight.     
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