WlNSTON CHURCHILL: The Wilderness Years by Martin Gilbert

WlNSTON CHURCHILL: The Wilderness Years

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In the span of Churchill's life, the ten years (1929) he spent in the political wilderness--vainly warning of the Nazi threat, pleading with Britain to rearm--constitute a dramatic second act. In isolation, however, those years are relatively uneventful and unvaried. So, though this volume is derived from a forthcoming PBS-TV series, and its author is the official Churchill biographer, its American potential appears limited. (Even the photographs, confined to two glossy inserts, tend to be drab--especially by comparison with the lively and varied selection in Mary Soames' Family Album, below.) Churchill iterates and reiterates his opposition to government policy on two issues--the second, unsympathetically, is self-government for India. Finances are a consideration: he loses money in the Crash; then, completes his WW I memoirs, writes his multi-volume Marlborough biography, begins his massive History of the English-Speaking Peoples, turns out lucrative newspaper and magazine articles. He has an occasional illness; he and Clementine each travel and return to Chartwell. Most of the text, perforce, is devoted to Churchill's written and spoken criticisms of British unpreparedness--based on information leaked by sympathetic insiders--and to the reactions of P.M.s Stanley Baldwin and Neville Chamberlain. It's a story told far more vigorously in Churchill's own The Gathering Storm--or better seen on TV.

Pub Date: Nov. 12th, 1982
Publisher: Houghton Mifflin