Wednesday, February 27, 2008

The Gathering Storm

This was an incredible book. It is the beginning of a six volume work on the Second World War. It was written by Winston Churchill from his own papers and experience. I don't think you often get that type of perspective from history. Especially on WWII, since Roosevelt died suddenly and Stalin wasn't about to write something as open as this book is.

This first volume summarizes the time between the wars, with an emphasis on the few years right before war broke out. The Moral and Theme of the works really sum up Churchill's position.

Moral of the Work:

In War: Resolution

In Defeat: Defiance

In Victory: Magnanimity

In Peace: Good Will

Theme of the Volume

How the English-speaking peoples through their unwisdom, carelessness, and
good nature allowed the wicked to rearm.

That pretty much sums up the book. It is amazing the things that Hitler got away with. A lot like those crime movies where the criminal is so bold faced that he always gets away with things. Hitler was just daring France or the League of Nations or anyone else to step in and stop him and no one ever did. Belgium and Holland were just cowering, trying desperately not to antagonize Germany, and they though they could survive that way. Britain's course was called "Peace at Any Price" They soon found out that the price was too high.

It is funny, Churchill was a part of the government during the first World War, and he was a member of theHouse of Commons during the interval, but he was a constant thorn in the side of the Prime Minister and those in power, even though he was a member of their party. He mentions several times, at least I wasn't a part of the government that made all those mistakes in the beginning, that meant the I could start the fight free of the taint of all that had gone before.

So this book ends when he becomes Prime Minister and actively started the fight against Germany. The detail of the book was fascinating. I just picked it up from the library on a whim but I was thoroughly engrossed. I've learned a lot, not just about WWII, but about how politics at the highest levels works and what a real head of state does. I think this should be required reading for people get degrees in political science. Of course, maybe it is, I don't know. But I feel like I'm much smarter that when I started.

The Gathering Storm. Winston S. Churchill. Houghton Mifflin. 1948

1 comment:

jendoop said...

It sounds great. I'll put it on my list. May have to get Paul to read it too. As always with books you love I wonder if it will be over my head :)