Churchill’s War: Triumph in Adversity (Vol. II), by David Irving. London: Focal Point, 2001. Hardcover. 1060 pages. Photographs. Appendices. Source references. Index. Review by Mark Weber
It has been fourteen years since the publication of the first volume of David Irving’s three-part biography of Britain’s legendary wartime leader. This second volume, subtitled “Triumph in Adversity,” traces Winston Churchill’s career from June 1941 through July 1943, the pivotal period when, after calamitous setbacks, the tide of the war turned decisively in favor of the Allies.
With this handsome, meticulously referenced and generously illustrated work (including many color photographs), Britain’s best-known and most controversial historian once again displays his extraordinary knack for extracting information from overlooked diaries and suppressed records, and his gift for turning mountains of data into well-crafted prose. This measured, masterful examination of Britain’s towering twentieth-century premier is Irving at his best.
It is difficult to avoid being impressed, even dazzled, by Churchill’s colorful personality, in comparison with which most political leaders of the past fifty years seem pale midgets. From the pages of this book emerges a vivid portrait of an often exasperating and sometimes callous man of quick wit, myriad prejudices, puckish humor, arresting eloquence, and enormous energy.
As with Irving’s other biographical works, this book’s strength is also its weakness. While it is packed with day-to-day and even hour-to-hour detail, Irving sometimes, and perhaps unavoidably, neglects context and the larger picture. He sheds new light on Churchill’s relations with major and minor figures of the fragile Allied wartime coalition, including, for example, his deep, abiding loathing of “Free French” leader Charles De Gaulle. Irving traces Churchill’s wartime hypocrisy and treachery — most tragically toward the Poles, on whose behalf Britain had declared war against Germany in 1939. Excessive space is devoted to speculation about the July 1943 death of Wladyslaw Sikorski, prime minister of Poland’s London-based government-in-exile. Irving musters evidence to suggest that Sikorski’s death in a freakish airplane crash at Gibraltar was not an accident, as officially announced, but instead may have been secretly arranged by British authorities, perhaps on Churchill’s order.
Full Review: https://www.ihr.org/jhr/v20/v20n4p43_Weber.html
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