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Churchill's Cold War: The Politics of Personal Diplomacy Hardcover – August 1, 2002

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Editorial Reviews

From Library Journal

One of the greatest statesmen of the 20th century, Winston Churchill has been the subject of hundreds of books, including two recent hefty contributions by prominent historians Roy Jenkins and Geoffrey Best. Still, to the groaning shelf of Churchill studies should be added this excellent new work by Larres, who teaches at Queen's University in Belfast. Larres has sifted through a mountain of primary and secondary literature in his exploration of Churchill's ceaseless efforts during the twilight years of his career (1945-55) to use personal diplomacy to lessen international tensions among the great powers. Through the power of his personality and intellect, Churchill sought to keep Great Britain a major player in international affairs, and he never fully comprehended that the British imperial sun had already begun to set by 1945. This is an exceedingly well-researched and well-written study of Churchill and of British foreign policy in the first decade after World War II and should be a part of most collections. Highly recommended. Ed Goedeken, Iowa State Univ. Lib., Ames
Copyright 2002 Cahners Business Information, Inc.


Klaus Larres. . . has produced a well-written, scrupulously documented [work]. . . a gripping account. -- Roger Fontaine, Washington Times

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 592 pages
  • Publisher: Yale University Press; 2 edition (August 1, 2002)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0300094388
  • ISBN-13: 978-0300094381
  • Product Dimensions: 2 x 6.2 x 9.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 2.6 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,977,901 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Format: Hardcover
The author takes the view that Churchill was, for better or worse, an idealist who saw international politics as a matter of personal diplomacy. There is a brief first chapter on Churchill's actions prior to the First World War. The rest of the book follows Churchill's actions from 1939 onward.

Hollywood and Republican notions derived from the Iron Curtain speech and general American simple-mindedness to the contrary, the author shows that Churchill saw the Cold War as a peril to humanity, Europe and, specifically, to a Britain that would never be the same after losing its Empire. A bipolar world (the USA and the USSR) was sterile ground for the UK. It was Churchill's intent to work against this. He had in mind something we came later to call "detente", and a UK that was something other than marginal. The author concludes that the failed. Those who have seen the mess made by an ignorant and bellicose USA can only lament this failure, though it must be said that Britain's actions in the Fifties were not such as to inspire a retroactive hope that they would have created a better world than the Americans did in fact.

Quite a tribute to the man who was disappointed to get the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1953, rather than the Nobel Prize for Peace.

Extensive notes.
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