by John Lukacs
New Haven: Yale University, 1999. Pp. xvi, 236.
Illus., notes, biblio., index. . ISBN:0-300-08030-1
Five Days in London deals with what the author considers to be the most critical period in the history of the Second World War, from Friday, May 24th, through Tuesday, May 25th, 1940, when Churchill, newly installed as Prime Minister, and facing the imminent collapse of France, managed – not without difficulty nor always with unwavering confidence – to rally the British government and people to continue to fight, thereby, while not winning the war, at least “did not lose it.”
There is a great deal of new material here, including insights into Churchill’s own doubts about the ultimate outcome of the war, and F.D.R.’s initial reservations about Churchill’s character and abilities. There is also considerable material on Lord Halifax, the somewhat enigmatic figure who might easily have been Churchill’s replacement, and would certainly have been less determined to prosecute the war.
An immensely valuable contribution to the literature of World War II. rc