Book Review: Winston Churchill: At War and Thinking of War before 1939


by B. J. C. McKercher and Antoine Capet, editors

New York: Routledge, 2019. Pp. xiv, 206. Notes, biblio., index. $161.67. ISBN: 0367133032

 The Evolution of Churchill’s Military Thinking

This volume comprises an introduction and eight essays by an international group of scholars. The papers give a look at various aspects of the evolution of Winston Churchill’s thoughts on war as derived from his experiences as a soldier, politician, journalist, and historian.

For example, in discussing Churchill’s views on the Campaign of Omdurman in 1898, as found in his book The River War and some later writings, Prof. James W. Muller (Alaska Anchorage), who is currently editing an annotated version of that book, shows us that Churchill’s how account of the events affected his thoughts about war, and particularly about logistics, and also gives us surprising insights into the man’s attitudes toward the “native” peoples, a mixture of admiration and disdain.

An essay by Prof. Will Morrisey (emeritus Hillsdale), makes an interesting comparison of the similarities and differences in the lessons Churchill and Charles de Gaulle drew from the Great War. Other essays look at Churchill’s work at the Admiralty, his role in bringing about Britain’s entry into World War I, the Dardanelles disaster, his views on and rearmament during the 1930s, Churchill and journalism, and his complex thoughts on Islam.

A volume in the Routledge series “Studies in Modern British History, this is useful reading for pretty much anyone with an interest in warfare during the twentieth century, and an important one for students of the Second World War.


Note: Winston Churchill at War and Thinking of War Before 1939 is also available in several e-editions.


StrategyPage reviews are shared with The New York Military Affairs Symposium


Reviewer: A. A. Nofi, Review Editor   

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