Churchill at War: His ""Finest Hour"" in Photographs 1940-1945

Martin Gilbert, Author W. W. Norton & Company $35 (160p) ISBN 978-0-393-05878-9
Culled from the archive of London's Imperial War Museum, the 200-plus black-and-white photos collected in this volume show the direct way in which Churchill mobilized England during WWII--showing up at factories and scenes of bomb devastation, striding purposefully and generally projecting an air of forceful dignity, resolve and fellow feeling. Gilbert has been Churchill's official biographer for more than 35 years, and has written six volumes of the biography (as well as publishing 11 volumes of Churchilliana). He evinces a deep understanding of Churchill's own intentions during the years of the""finest hour,"" and of the inspirational effect they had on a gravely threatened country. Gilbert's captions are informative:""On 20 November 1942, while watching an infantry training in the South Eastern Area, and having seen a squad go over a battle course, Churchill showed his own agility--ten days before his sixty-eighth birthday--by walking up one of the greased logs on the course, using his stick."" And his summaries of each of the six years covered here judiciously set the stage for the sets of photos that follow. The layout is perfunctory, but Churchill in purposeful action remains oddly electrifying.
Reviewed on: 04/01/2004
Release date: 04/01/2004
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