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Churchill and America by Martin Gilbert

Churchill and America

by Martin Gilbert

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Among all of the titanic figures of World War II, there is none that looms larger than the figure of Winston Churchill. I suppose what strikes me most is, while certainly a colorful character, he is really quite a simple one. His courageous actions were driven, in reality, by a very few core principles and a generous serving of dogged determination. I suppose it could be said without exaggeration that Churchill is THE icon of 20th-century conservative politics.

There is, almost certainly, no greater authority on Churchill's life than Martin Gilbert, who was named Churchill's official biographer in 1968. Compared to his 8-volume official biography, the present book is something of an appendix, I suppose, but I found it charmingly written and very skillful in its argument that Churchill--because of his American roots, his grasp of the American psyche and political system, and mainly his stubborn optimism that the USA and Britain could and should be friends--is perhaps THE "Prime Mover" of US-GB relations from World War II up to present day.

I suppose, in some ways, the book could be said (not totally unexpectedly) to favor Churchill; when tensions are described, more often Roosevelt of Truman or Eisenhower are identified as the point of origin. By and large, though, the descriptions of those difficulties never struck me as completely unfair or irreparably biased. Gilbert does a great job of letting the reader see events through Churchill's eyes, wonderfully helped by the generous quotations from Churchill's telegrams, speeches, letters, and notes.

This the first book I've read focused on Winston Churchill and I suppose the best compliment I can give it is that it has left me wanting to read more about this remarkable British prime minister, whose decisive leadership shaped world history in ways that we have probably not yet fully fathomed. ( )
  Jared_Runck | Jan 21, 2016 |
This book explores Churchill's relationship with America. Both his biological, financial, and political. It's not a full spectrum biography and really sticks to it's narrow scope. A bit dry but struck me as well written and researched. Not a bad read but for the general reader who simply wants to know more about Churchill this one may be to narrowly focused. Cheers. ( )
  Chris_El | Mar 19, 2015 |
Churchill and America is a book that had been on my reading stack for quite some time. Truth is, I had been putting it off, thinking that I just didn't have the focus to really concentrate on it. I have read part o Gilbert's biography of Churchill, which is excellent, but Gilbert can be a bit dogged and I wasn't sure I was really up to it, much as I admire Churchill. Well, I was mistaken. The book is fantastically interesting, and it is not at all a classic biography, as it is for the most part fairly one-sided. You get Churchill in Churchill's words, and in the words and communications of people who knew him and dealt with him at the time, but mostly this is a view of Churchill himself through his own words. The book is filled with many letters, telegrams, speaches, and other notes and bits. At many times I was moved to tears and had to stop reading. Martin Gilbert managed to compile the material and write the book in a way that emphasized the human, as opposed to the bigger picture, although Churchill seemed to have a very good instinct for the bigger picture, more so than many other people. Over half the book concerns WWII and it was one of the most moving approaches to that war I have read. ( )
  dooney | Apr 15, 2014 |
Outstanding! Churchill was an absolutely amazing individual. One can only wonder where we all would be without a leader of the free world like him, during the unstable period of the 30's & 40's. Great book, shows his brillance, foresight, incredible diplomatic skills, and at times his biting and humoreous wit. ( )
  redsox0407 | Sep 4, 2011 |
Thoroughly enjoyed reading about Winston's love of America. Learned a lot from the insight here. ( )
  Rhohanin61 | Mar 18, 2008 |
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0743259920, Hardcover)

In this stirring book, Martin Gilbert tells the intensely human story of Winston Churchill's profound connection to America, a relationship that resulted in an Anglo-American alliance that has stood at the center of international relations for more than a century.Winston Churchill, whose mother, Jennie Jerome, the daughter of a leading American entrepreneur, was born in Brooklyn in 1854, spent much of his seventy adult years in close contact with the United States. In two world wars, his was the main British voice urging the closest possible cooperation with the United States. From before the First World War, he understood the power of the United States, the "gigantic boiler," which, once lit, would drive the great engine forward.Sir Martin Gilbert was appointed Churchill's official biographer in 1968 and has ever since been collecting archival and personal documentation that explores every twist and turn of Churchill's relationship with the United States, revealing the golden thread running through it of friendship and understanding despite many setbacks and disappointments. Drawing on this extensive store of Churchill's own words - in his private letters, his articles and speeches, and press conferences and interviews given to American journalists on his numerous journeys throughout the United States - Gilbert paints a rich portrait of the Anglo-American relationship that began at the turn of the last century.In Churchill and America, Gilbert explores how Churchill's intense rapport with this country resulted in no less than the liberation of Europe and the preservation of European democracy and freedom. It also set the stage for the ongoing alliance that has survived into the twenty-first century."This is a fascinating story, straightforward and well told, of one of the 20th century's most important leaders and the critical connection he forged between the world's fading superpower and its rising one."-Publishers Weekly"It is doubtful whether anyone on this planet knows more about the life and times of Winston Churchill than his official biographer, Sir Martin Gilbert."-Library Journal

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:07:34 -0400)

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An account of the former British prime minister's seventy-year relationship with the United States describes how he laid the foundation of a century-long alliance between the countries and established a policy of cooperation that continues to this day.… (more)

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