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Winston S. Churchill: Never Despair, 1945–1965 (Volume VIII)

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The final volume of the official biography spans Churchill’s life from the defeat of Germany in 1945 to his death nearly twenty years later. It sees him first at the pinnacle of his power, leader of a victorious Britain. In July 1945 at Potsdam, Churchill, Stalin, and Truman aimed to shape postwar Europe. But while still grappling with world issues Churchill returned to Br The final volume of the official biography spans Churchill’s life from the defeat of Germany in 1945 to his death nearly twenty years later. It sees him first at the pinnacle of his power, leader of a victorious Britain. In July 1945 at Potsdam, Churchill, Stalin, and Truman aimed to shape postwar Europe. But while still grappling with world issues Churchill returned to Britain for the general election results and was thrown out of office. For six years Churchill worked to restore the fortunes of Britain’s Conservative Party, while at the same time warning the world of Communist ambitions, urging the reconciliation of France and Germany, pioneering the concept of a united Europe, and seeking to maintain the closest possible links between Britain and the United States. His aim throughout was to achieve not confrontation with the Soviet Union but conciliation based firmly upon Western strength and unity. In October 1951 Churchill became prime minister for the second time. The Great Powers were at peace but under the shadow of a fearful new weapon, the hydrogen bomb. Hoping, after the election of Eisenhower in 1952 and the death of Stalin in 1953, for a fresh start in East–West relations, Churchill worked for a new summit conference; but in April 1955 ill health and pressure from colleagues forced him to resign. In retirement Churchill traveled widely; took up painting again; completed the four-volume History of the English-Speaking Peoples; and watched as world conflicts continued, still convinced that they could be resolved by statesmanship. “Never despair” remained his watchword, and his faith, until the end. That end came slowly; for those nearest to him it was a sad decline. Yet almost to his ninetieth year he was able to follow events with hope and faith in the ability of man to survive his own folly. About the Work In the definitive biography of Sir Winston Churchill, his son Randolph—and later Sir Martin Gilbert, who took up the work following Randolph’s death—had the full use of Sir Winston’s letters and papers, and also many hundreds of private archives. The work spans eight volumes, detailing Churchill’s youth and early adventures in South Africa and India, his early career, and his more than fifty years on the world stage.


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The final volume of the official biography spans Churchill’s life from the defeat of Germany in 1945 to his death nearly twenty years later. It sees him first at the pinnacle of his power, leader of a victorious Britain. In July 1945 at Potsdam, Churchill, Stalin, and Truman aimed to shape postwar Europe. But while still grappling with world issues Churchill returned to Br The final volume of the official biography spans Churchill’s life from the defeat of Germany in 1945 to his death nearly twenty years later. It sees him first at the pinnacle of his power, leader of a victorious Britain. In July 1945 at Potsdam, Churchill, Stalin, and Truman aimed to shape postwar Europe. But while still grappling with world issues Churchill returned to Britain for the general election results and was thrown out of office. For six years Churchill worked to restore the fortunes of Britain’s Conservative Party, while at the same time warning the world of Communist ambitions, urging the reconciliation of France and Germany, pioneering the concept of a united Europe, and seeking to maintain the closest possible links between Britain and the United States. His aim throughout was to achieve not confrontation with the Soviet Union but conciliation based firmly upon Western strength and unity. In October 1951 Churchill became prime minister for the second time. The Great Powers were at peace but under the shadow of a fearful new weapon, the hydrogen bomb. Hoping, after the election of Eisenhower in 1952 and the death of Stalin in 1953, for a fresh start in East–West relations, Churchill worked for a new summit conference; but in April 1955 ill health and pressure from colleagues forced him to resign. In retirement Churchill traveled widely; took up painting again; completed the four-volume History of the English-Speaking Peoples; and watched as world conflicts continued, still convinced that they could be resolved by statesmanship. “Never despair” remained his watchword, and his faith, until the end. That end came slowly; for those nearest to him it was a sad decline. Yet almost to his ninetieth year he was able to follow events with hope and faith in the ability of man to survive his own folly. About the Work In the definitive biography of Sir Winston Churchill, his son Randolph—and later Sir Martin Gilbert, who took up the work following Randolph’s death—had the full use of Sir Winston’s letters and papers, and also many hundreds of private archives. The work spans eight volumes, detailing Churchill’s youth and early adventures in South Africa and India, his early career, and his more than fifty years on the world stage.

30 review for Winston S. Churchill: Never Despair, 1945–1965 (Volume VIII)

  1. 4 out of 5

    Dale Ogilvie

    The human story of a great man Amazing how great events swirled around this one. It is a shame that his high position in society did not have its counterpart with a close relationship with God.

  2. 5 out of 5

    Melsene G

    This final volume of the Gilbert biographies is incredible. It took me a long time to get through it but as a Churchill buff, I learned so many new things that are not found in other Churchill books. I truly believe that Martin Gilbert was a one of kind historian and probably the greatest historian of the 20th century. Likewise, I still believe that Winston was the greatest statesman of his day. These years, particularly those after the War, are not written about extensively in other Churchill b This final volume of the Gilbert biographies is incredible. It took me a long time to get through it but as a Churchill buff, I learned so many new things that are not found in other Churchill books. I truly believe that Martin Gilbert was a one of kind historian and probably the greatest historian of the 20th century. Likewise, I still believe that Winston was the greatest statesman of his day. These years, particularly those after the War, are not written about extensively in other Churchill books. Learning about Winston's daily life post being the PM, are fascinating. He painted, he traveled, he gave speeches, he stayed in bed more than most, and he wrote a lot of letters, plus worked on his memoirs. The letters to and from Clemmie are interesting. They both spent a lot of time away from one another which raises questions. I am going to read Mary Soame's biography about her mother to learn more. The time spent on Onassis' Christina yacht was news to me. Health issues were always present. How many strokes or heart issues actually occurred? That remains an open question. Winston had lots of help and always had an entourage, whether it was his private doctor Lord Moran, or his assistants, secretaries, and memoir editors. One of his kids always seemed to be in the picture-which is nice to know. Learning that daughter Diana committed suicide at the age of 54 was sad. I will have to look into that as it shows that growing up with celebrities is often a curse, not a blessing. Drug and alcohol addiction are always in the mix. I highly recommend this book and will continue to read more about Churchill and his family. Well done Martin Gilbert.

  3. 5 out of 5

    Bob Rivera

    I have been working through the 8 volumes of this biography on and off over the past 2 or 3 years. Because each is over a thousand pages, it could be said that it's a slog, and at times, it can get tedious. But with that said, this biographical series documents the life of one of the giants of the 20th century, if not the preeminent statesmen of all time. This volume takes up as WWII is finishing, and runs through Churchill's loss of the premiership in the waning days of WWII. It's apparent that I have been working through the 8 volumes of this biography on and off over the past 2 or 3 years. Because each is over a thousand pages, it could be said that it's a slog, and at times, it can get tedious. But with that said, this biographical series documents the life of one of the giants of the 20th century, if not the preeminent statesmen of all time. This volume takes up as WWII is finishing, and runs through Churchill's loss of the premiership in the waning days of WWII. It's apparent that the populace was looking for economic relief, and didn't bank on in this action, costing him the office of Prime Minister. It examines his time out of office, and subsequent regaining the Prime Ministership. It then takes you through his retirement from public life. He was a stunning politician, and a man of incredible wisdom. We need men like this in these times.

  4. 4 out of 5

    Ramachandran CHEENIYIL

    I have always found that the best moments of great tales are at the very end. The story of this great statesman is no exception. It has been a year since I started reading his story, which also happened to be my first venture into the genre of political history. I complemented it in between with Martin Gilbert's History of World War 1 and World War 2, and I must say that it was an amazing, albeit harrowing journey. I think it would not be too much to say that I am a different man from who I was I have always found that the best moments of great tales are at the very end. The story of this great statesman is no exception. It has been a year since I started reading his story, which also happened to be my first venture into the genre of political history. I complemented it in between with Martin Gilbert's History of World War 1 and World War 2, and I must say that it was an amazing, albeit harrowing journey. I think it would not be too much to say that I am a different man from who I was before I started reading this, and I am better off for it.

  5. 4 out of 5

    Ken Barry

    A most amazing story of a most amazing man. I'm a slow reader, and thought of reading one volume of Churchill's biography was daunting. I've just finished the eight (last) volume and loved every word of them. I'm looking forward to reading many of Churchill's books. A most amazing story of a most amazing man. I'm a slow reader, and thought of reading one volume of Churchill's biography was daunting. I've just finished the eight (last) volume and loved every word of them. I'm looking forward to reading many of Churchill's books.

  6. 5 out of 5

    Adam Gossman

    An honor.

  7. 5 out of 5

    Alex

    I read each volume of this Biography. It was detailed. You will, at times, read about daily activities. Meetings that day, letters written, who was over for dinner. This biography isn't for someone with a passing interest in Churchill. You have to want to know who he was. You live life beside him. It took me 2 years to get through all 8 volumes, I had to take breaks and read other books. At the end of this volume, when it concludes with the death of Churchill, I cried. There's something about Chu I read each volume of this Biography. It was detailed. You will, at times, read about daily activities. Meetings that day, letters written, who was over for dinner. This biography isn't for someone with a passing interest in Churchill. You have to want to know who he was. You live life beside him. It took me 2 years to get through all 8 volumes, I had to take breaks and read other books. At the end of this volume, when it concludes with the death of Churchill, I cried. There's something about Churchill that I fell in love with. A flawed man, that believed the British Empire was needed to govern India because the Empire would do it better, a man that saw Gandhi as a terrorist, a man that believed only HE could govern at times and a man that could be deeply wounded at the smallest slights and was a demanding boss. But you get to know the best qualities of this man as well. His bravery that almost borders on suicidal, his joy and love for life, his undying love for his wife, his unbreakable will, his ability to forgive political opponents and his generous magnanimity for those around him. Most all who served him or with him loved him. I loved this biography (all 8 volumes). Sure, it was a slog to get through meetings and I lost track of codenames and operations during war, but I got to know the man behind the memos and minutes. If you're looking into reading this, I'm sure you know what Churchill did. This biography is a deep-dive into his life. It goes beyond the mythical deeds of a legend during war and gets to the heart of man. As I said, I came out loving Churchill. I'd recommend this book to anyone that is already familiar and interested in this man. Be careful too, I was quoting a lot of Churchill to my friends as I read these books. I'm sure it grew tiresome!

  8. 5 out of 5

    Nina

    Contains a huge a amount of information.Yet at over 1400 pages, just too long.

  9. 4 out of 5

    Wallace Williams

  10. 4 out of 5

    Warren Dockter

  11. 5 out of 5

    Nigel Winter

  12. 5 out of 5

    Danw_143

  13. 4 out of 5

    Andy Pond

  14. 4 out of 5

    Carolyn M. Haralson

  15. 5 out of 5

    Lisa Jensen

  16. 4 out of 5

    Russell

  17. 5 out of 5

    Jeff Rupp

  18. 5 out of 5

    Robert Alexander

  19. 4 out of 5

    Linda Hogan

  20. 4 out of 5

    Richard

  21. 5 out of 5

    Deanna Sinclair

  22. 4 out of 5

    Arvid Jakobsson

  23. 4 out of 5

    David Macdonald

  24. 4 out of 5

    Bob Bixby

  25. 5 out of 5

    Jay Butler

  26. 5 out of 5

    Brandon Sanders

  27. 4 out of 5

    David

  28. 5 out of 5

    Matthew

  29. 5 out of 5

    Roger A

  30. 4 out of 5

    Boyd Kirkland

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