Third in the four volume history of the war, and the one most intimately concerned with strategy and Britain's terrific responsibility in carrying on virtual global warfare single handed. A personal history as any book from Churchill's pen is sure to be he overrides the difficulties of the war in terms of its campaigns and planning for the layman. Pungent phrase, dramatic sense of values, a prose that marches — these stylistic factors make it good reading even when the subject matter seems tenuous and overdrawn. Throughout the text is spiced with his very personal views of men and events. There are superb tributes to a few, Harry Hopkins conspicuously among them, and, interestingly enough, the German general, Rommel. There's a very evident irritation against some of Britain's historic military figures, Wavell and Auchinleck, for instance, are now high, now low in his esteem. Of Wavell, some months before he was shifted to the Indian command, and Auchinleck put in his place, he writes:- "He gives the impression of being tired out". He blew hot and cold on Auchinleck, feeling him too cautious, too inclined to delay. Much of the argument that went on between the Admiralty, the home office, and the forces on the scene, is here told in detail for the first time. The handling of the Greek affair- the disaster in Crete- the African ports and the campaign of which Tobruk was the crux- the defense of Malta — all these come in for extensive off the record, in many cases, reporting. Few actual closeups- the Cretan campaign perhaps the closest to that- but an all pervading sense, on the part of the reader, of being at the heart of the matter. The revealing analysis of the difficulties with Stalin, the falsities of the public viewpoint, the burden of sharing from what was little enough, the lack of appreciation of the contribution made to the Soviet defense- all seems perceptive and prescient today. The book includes the inception of the Atlantic Charter, the historic meeting with Roosevelt, the attack on Pearl Harbor, and the Christmas visit of Churchill to the White House. These volumes from Mr. Churchill's pen constitute an important segment in source material on the Second World War. While this is not such easy reading as the two earlier volumes, there is an enormous amount of thrilling contemporary history encompassed in this period of victory beginning to seem possible out of disaster and defeat.
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