CHURCHILL AND EDEN AT WAR by Elisabeth Barker

CHURCHILL AND EDEN AT WAR

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KIRKUS REVIEW

Under that double-edged title, Elisabeth Barker shows how British foreign policy during World War II represented a balance struck between Winston Churchill and his Foreign Secretary, Anthony Eden, with each restraining the other's more extreme inclinations. Apropos of Anglo-American relations, Barker observes that Churchill's ""keen sense of the inevitability of U.S. leadership was more acute than the wishful thinking of Eden and the Foreign Office about an independent British policy."" As regards the vexatious de Gaulle, however, Eden was the more judicious (""singularly clear-minded,"" in Barker's phrase), while Churchill was frequently carried away by his emotions. On Stalin, the two tended to seesaw, the optimism of one tempering the pessimism of the other; and, as Barker points out, the situation in Eastern Europe did not allow for much flexibility anyhow--Stalin could pretty much do as he liked. There is little new here on the overall outlines of policy, despite the recourse to new sources, but there are telling insights into the personal relationships which went into making that policy. The chief beneficiary of this process is Eden, for Barker presents a strong case for his very positive wartime role and thus rehabilitates a man whose reputation was tarnished by his later responsibility for the 1956 Suez fiasco.

Pub Date: Jan. 22nd, 1978
Publisher: St. Martin's