The Fringes of Power: 10 Downing Street Diaries, 1939-1955

John Colville, Author W. W. Norton & Company $25 (796p) ISBN 978-0-393-02223-0
Colville, who was private secretary to Churchill, 19401945 and 19511955, and to Attlee and the then Princess Elizabeth in the intervening period, may have been at the fringes of power during this time but he had a remarkable view of its center, and in the latter years, when the great man had become ""more like Buddha than Achilles,'' was in it. A sharp observer with an independent mind, a significant presence at international banquets and conferences, Churchill's righthand man, and no mean penman, Colville (Footprints in Time, The Churchillians) records his insider's impressions of world events, of Britain's top leaders, civilian and military, and, in particular, of Churchill, whose pugnacity, wit and political wisdom, along with his irascibility and inconsiderateness (offset, however, by generosity), he captures with Boswellian aplomb. Several strokes in the Churchill portrait come as a surprise: his loyalty to Chamberlain, for example; his lack of vindictiveness toward the Germans; his private view of Eisenhower; his desperate efforts to end the Cold War before leaving office; his distrust of Eden. This is one of the most interesting and readable of the major diaries of World War II and its aftermath. Photos. Foreign rights: Georges Borchardt. November 11
Reviewed on: 11/01/1985
Release date: 11/01/1985
Genre: Nonfiction
Paperback - 12 pages - 978-0-393-30411-4
Paperback - 804 pages - 978-1-58574-508-1
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