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The Duel: The Eighty-Day Struggle Between…
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The Duel: The Eighty-Day Struggle Between Churchill and Hitler

by John Lukacs

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I like Mr. Lukacs, he seems to conduct research! One could cross-reference this book with Len Deighton's "XPD". Mr. Deighton loses in the comparison! Lukacs has joked that his final book will be called "the Forty-Five Minutes" and cover the crucial cabinet meeting. :-) ( )
  DinadansFriend | Sep 25, 2013 |
John Lukacs has a man crush on Winston Churchill. This book is a mid-period entry in a chain of valentines that culminated in 2002 with the publication of Churchill: Visionary, Statesman, Historian. In The Duel, Lukacs pretty much restricts his attention to the period between May 10, 1940 and July 30, 1940. Lukacs brackets his chronicle of this 80-day period with two coincidences. On May 10, 1940 Churchill became Prime Minister, replacing Neville Chamberlain. At the same time the battle for Western Europe began in earnest when Hitler launched land and air attacks on Holland, Luxembourg, and Belgium. On July 31, 1940, the conquest of France accomplished, Hitler began making formal plans for the invasion of the USSR. On that same day U.S. President Franklin Roosevelt decided to go forward with a lend-lease program that would provide the British navy with 50 aging, but greatly desired destroyers. With the decided advantage of omniscience, Lukacs construes all intervening events as moves in a continental chess match between two men. Secondary figures (Lord Halifax, Joseph Kennedy, Chamberlin, Lloyd-George, Goebbels, Goering, von Rundstedt, etc.) serve only to provide the protagonists an opportunity to display one or another aspect of their respective geniuses. Only two offstage figures (the Good Witch of the West, FDR, and the Wicked Witch of the East, Stalin) are accorded the potential status to make any significant impact on the global cataclysm, and their time does not fall within the scope of this book. The millions whose lives were held in the balance do not even rise to the level of pawns. I suppose they constitute the chessboard. At any rate, the "complicated", impulsive, revolutionary, but strangely indecisive Hitler is no match for the "simple", implacable, tradition-honoring, iron-willed Churchill. In such a two-dimensional world, it's easy for Lukacs to characterize the absolute debacle that led to the evacuation at Dunkirk (brilliantly depicted in the film Atonement,) as, in Churchill's own phrase "the miracle of Dunkirk." To my mind, this kind of professional wrestling view of history deserves the same respect owed to the WWF. ( )
  jburlinson | Mar 2, 2008 |
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Information from the Dutch Common Knowledge. Edit to localize it to your language.
Ter nagedachtenis aan brigadecommandant Claude Nicholson, verdediger van de Britse eer in Calais en Adam von Trott zu Solz, verdediger van de Duitse eer in Berlijn
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0300089163, Paperback)

This is a day-by-day account of the eighty-day struggle in 1940 between Hitler—poised on the edge of absolute victory—and Churchill—threatened by imminent invasion and defeat.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:13:07 -0400)

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