Churchill And War, by Geoffrey Best
London: Hambldon/New York, Continuum, 2005. Pp. xv, 353. Illus., notes, biblio., index. $21.95 paper. ISBN:185285541X.
Oddly, although Winston Churchill was educated for a military career, and spent nearly a decade in military service and spent and enormous amount of time in the study of war and strategy and writing a number of important work of military history, Geoffrey Best, author of a 2001 biography of the man, notes that these aspects of his life are often overlooked, with even major episodes in is military career dismissed in a line or two. In Churchill And War Best here puts the focus on the man as soldier, military thinker, and strategist
The book covers Churchill?s education and military service, including his brief tour as a journalist in Cuba with the Spanish Army fighting the insurgents in 1895, which gave him his first taste of battle. It then follows him into Parliament, and thence to his activities during World War I, including not only his role as First Lord of the Admiralty, but also his tour at the front, and his role as Minister of Munitions, all in considerable detail. Best continues with a look at Churchill?s career during the interwar period, when he was politically isolated, but spent much time in study and writing, primarily about war, and his early awareness of the Nazi
World War II is, of course, the central concern of the work, and it is treated in considerable detail, warts and all. There follows his role in attempting to create a more peaceful post war world, and in the Western response to the rise of Stalinist imperialism. The work ends with a discussion of Churchill's concept of war making. A book of great value for anyone interested in grand strategy and the World Wars as well as the role of national leadership in wartime.
Reviewer: A. A. Nofi
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