Churchill and the King: The Wartime Alliance of Winston Churchill and George VI

Kenneth Weisbrode. Viking, $26.95 (224p) ISBN 978-0-670-02576-3
Historian Weisbrode (On Ambivalence: The Problems and Pleasures of Having It Both Ways) shares the story of how two of the most important figures in 20th-century Britain, Churchill and King George VI, worked tirelessly to maintain British interests throughout WWII. Though told with humor, Weisbrode presents lackluster evidence to support his notion that the king’s role during the war was on the level of Churchill’s. Throughout, readers will get to know Churchill’s eccentric personality, his successes and failures, but relatively little of the king’s. Indeed, there are similarities between the two men’s natures and opinions, but the story proves to reveal parallel, if complementary, lives instead of comparable powers. Only at the end of the book does Weisbrode make good on his belief in the pair’s significant partnership: “after reconstructing the history of the two men in tandem it becomes very difficult to imagine Churchill succeeding in that without the full support of the king.” Furthermore, many anecdotes feel unfinished, or contain British-isms Americans are unlikely to understand. The friendship that grew between these two historical figures makes for an uplifting story, but not an entire book. (Nov.)
Reviewed on: 09/09/2013
Release date: 10/31/2013
Paperback - 224 pages - 978-0-14-312599-0
Show other formats
The Best Books, Emailed Every Week
Tip Sheet!