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Churchill: A Life Paperback

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 1088 pages
  • Publisher: Holt Paperbacks (October 15, 1992)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0805023968
  • ISBN-13: 978-0805023961
  • Product Dimensions: 9.4 x 6 x 2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 2.5 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (82 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #312,180 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com Review

It is impossible to understand the Second World War without understanding Winston Churchill, the bold British Prime Minister who showed himself to be one of the greatest statesmen any nation has ever known. This lengthy biography is a single-volume abridgment of a massive, eight-volume work that took a quarter-century to write. It covers Churchill's entire life, highlighting not only his exploits during the Second World War, but also his early belief in technology and how it would revolutionize warfare in the 20th century. Churchill learned how to fly a plane before the First World War, and was also involved in the development of both the tank and anti-aircraft defense. But he truly showed his unmatched mettle during his country's darkest moments: "His finest hour was the leadership of Britain when it was most isolated, most threatened, and most weak; when his own courage, determination, and belief in democracy became at one with the nation," writes Gilbert. There are several wonderful books available on Churchill, but this is probably the best place to start.

From Publishers Weekly

Author of an eight-volume official biography of Winston Churchill, Gilbert here distills his vast knowledge into a lucid, comprehensive and authoritative life of the man considered by many to have been the outstanding public figure of the 20th century. Photos.
Copyright 1992 Reed Business Information, Inc.

More About the Author

Sir Martin Gilbert is one of the leading historians of his generation. An Honorary Fellow of Merton College, Oxford - of which he was a fellow for thirty years - he is the official biographer of Churchill and the author of eighty books, among them Churchill - A Life and The Righteous: The Unsung Heroes of the Holocaust. For more information please visit http://www.martingilbert

Customer Reviews

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If you read one book, then please make it this one.
taking a rest
The official Churchill biography by Martin Gilbert was condensed by the author into this one volume, 1000+ page, wonderful book (released in 1991).
Amazon Customer
Winston Spencer Churchill is one of the pivotal figures of the twentieth century and one of the greatest men of all time.

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

117 of 126 people found the following review helpful By Mike Powers on May 14, 2000
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Sir Winston Spencer Churchill, one of the greatest statesmen of the 20th century, and probably one of the greatest men in history, lived a long, rich and controversial life. Martin Gilbert is his official biographer. "Churchill: A Life" is based upon Gilbert's much larger multi-volume biography, but it is not an abridgment. Gilbert tells Churchill's story in an elegant and straightforward manner. He moves the reader smoothly from Churchill's troubled childhood, through his brief military career and into his long career as a Member of Parliament. Churchill's rapid rise from House of Commons "back-bencher," to cabinet minister was phenomenal. So were his numerous falls from power, caused mainly by his uncanny ability to alienate nearly all his political colleagues. After eight years in the "political wilderness," Churchill reached the pinnacle of British political power, becoming Prime Minister in May 1940, just as Nazi Germany launched its attack on the Low Countries and France. Gilbert's treatment of Churchill's wartime and post-war premierships is fascinating, as is his narrative of Churchill's later years.
I thoroughly enjoyed this book, although I felt I didn't get to know Churchill as well as I did after reading William Manchester's two-volume Churchill biography, "The Last Lion." Gilbert's prose is much more "lofty" sounding and lacks some of the Manchester books' insightful analysis, incisive commentary, and historical background. Still, "Churchill: A Life" is a fascinating, if not especially penetrating, study of this colossus of British history. Highly recommended!
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74 of 80 people found the following review helpful By taking a rest HALL OF FAME on July 10, 2000
Format: Paperback
The title of this review was Sir. Winston Spencer Churchill responding when asked how he thought History would remember him. He had no concerns, because as he explained he would be his own biographer.
Mr. Churchill did author many books most of which are still readily available in print today, and as far as his ability to use a pen, The Nobel Prize he received for his writings answers that question.
As mentioned elsewhere Martin Gilbert (now Sir Martin Gilbert) finished the 8th volume of the official Churchill Biography in 1988. It is also true that he dedicated decades of his life to the work. What is not as well known is that the work is not yet complete. There are 8 volumes and there are also 15 additional volumes of correspondence, personal letters, etc., that are also equally important to this body of work. Finally, there are more volumes yet to come, so this work not only has stretched decades, its creation has spanned 2 Centuries like the great man himself. It is also important to note that Sir Winston's Son Randolph Churchill published the first volume. Sir Gilbert joined Randolph in 1962, Volume 1 was published in 1966, and Sir Gilbert officially accepted the monumental task in 1968.
This one volume work is brilliant. I have read the 8-volume version, and some of the companion volumes, and to think it could be distilled into one book, however thick, would have seemed an insurmountable task. Sir Gilbert is the authority on the man who many argue was the man of the 20th Century, and one of the great Statesman of History.
Sir Winston certainly was a brilliant leader; to stop there is to not know the man at all.
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33 of 35 people found the following review helpful By Jeffrey A. Veyera VINE VOICE on January 22, 2000
Format: Paperback
Throughout the fin-de-siecle excess and Y2K irrationality, the man most often mentioned on the various Man of the Century lists was a paunchy politician who was for most of his career distrusted, despised, and detested by elites the world over. He was a Victorian imperialist at the dawn of the Democratic Age, he opposed women's suffrage with as great a zeal as the Americans embraced it, he tried to strangle Bolshevism in its crib just as Europe drew it to its breast and the United States cooed over it. Worse yet, he died in 1963, which might as well have been a millenium ago for our history-challenged populace.
How then to explain his appeal?
Simple. Winston Spencer Churchill saved the world from the twin 20th century cancers of Communism and Nazism.
Martin Gilbert is the official biographer of this great man, and as such had access to an unprecedented collection of material concerning his life. I suggest anyone serious about his Churchill studies to read the 8-volume biography (and the additional appendices of correspondence and source material) in its entirety; it will take some time, but you won't regret a minute of it.
For the rest of you, this astounding abridgement will do just fine. How on earth Gilbert distilled his magesterial biography down into one volume while not turning it into Cliff's Notes, I don't know; but this book, while large, is well-written, brisk, and comprehensive in scope. You'll follow Winston's path from neglected child to ambitious young adventurer to gifted orator to brilliant strategist to disgraced politician to indomitable warlord to elder statesman. You will learn things about this man you had never dreamed, and gain new appreciation for the largeness of spirit which characterized him.
Most of all, you'll realize how rare such a man is, and how our contemporary heroes pale in comparison to Mr. Churchill. Man of the Century? How about Man of the Milennium?
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