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Five Days in London: May 1940 Paperback – September 1, 2001
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"Churchill understood something that not many people understand even now," Lukacs writes in the closing pages of his book. "The greatest threat to Western civilization was not Communism. It was National Socialism. The greatest and most dynamic power in the world was not Soviet Russia. It was the Third Reich of Germany. The greatest revolutionary of the twentieth century was not Lenin or Stalin. It was Hitler." By convincing his government that his view was correct, Churchill afforded Western civilization a slim chance at survival--no small achievement, and one well worth honoring with this fine study. --Gregory McNamee --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
From Publishers Weekly
Copyright 1999 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
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Top Customer Reviews
The story is not new, but this presentation of it is. A generation -- or so, now -- raised on Wheeler - Bennett and AJP Taylor, and Nicolson and Namier and all the very many others, knows very well the story of Winston Churchill and his country's lonely stand against the Axis just following the Fall of France.
What never has been presented as dramatically as John Lukacs now presents it are the machinations, and the political follies and wisdom, and the ultimately very personal story of just how Churchill and a few others convinced the British at the time to do what they did: not in broad brushstrokes -- those are far easier to paint, as so many have on this topic -- but in the meticulous details which, alone, can show the individual frustrations, fears, jealousies, and uncertainties which characterize any truly historic human situation.
Detailed and meticulous as it is, however -- Lukacs is a well - respected historian -- the book is very short, and very dramatic, not at all pedantic or defensive as books about the period increasingly tend to be. His writing style flows smoothly. His aim, the author says in his Preface, is to explore an idea he has held for "forty, perhaps even fifty, years" that the five days specified in the title were critical not only because of the Fall of France but also because, "Churchill's situation within the War Cabinet was much more difficult than most people, including historians at that time, thought".Read more ›
A newly installed Prime Minister, Churchill, was presented with: France on the verge of defeat, the BEF bottled up on the coast at Dunkirk, no allies on the horizon once France was gone, an aristocracy that had some members who admired and/or feared Hitler, and a Conservative majority in Parliament which at that point tolerated is presence rather than enthusiastically embracing him.
The War Cabinet, Churchill and four other senior members of the cabinet, had to decide whether or not to fight it out no matter what, or inquire of Hitler upon what terms he would allow England to survive. That is at least how Lord Halifax saw the options. Churchill was resolute from the beginning -- any hint try at accommodation would lead to the eventual destruction of Britain and cement the Nazi map of Europe in place.
The five days in question follow a long debate among the cabinet, or chiefly among Churchill and Halifax, regarding the issue of whether or not to advance an overture to Hitler. Chamberlain played some role, usually siding with Churchill as the discussions progresssed, but holding the balance of power none the less.
Why is this debate important? Well, with the clarity offered by hindsight, it is now easy to appreciate that any attempt at purchasing peace from Hitler would have only meant a thus weakened Britain would have been added to the Third Reich later. In the spring of 1940, serious people seriously discussed this acquiescence strategy in London. If that strategy had been followed, it is possible that the English government of the time could have lost the war for civilization. Thus, the author's important point is correct.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Book in very bad condition, many corners turned over, scribbling on many pages makes it difficult to read and keep for future reference. Read morePublished 1 day ago by jffcrawf
This was not the book I wanted. The one I wanted was the one in which members of parliament took down prime minister Neville Chamberlain and replaced him with Winston Churchill. Read morePublished 10 days ago by Amazon Customer
John Lukacs's brilliant account of five pivotal days in May 1940 and how Winston Churchill, the fledgling Prime Minister of Britian played the hardest hand ever dealt a political... Read morePublished 1 month ago by keetmom
The book "Five Days in London" buy John Lukacs is marvelous. It shows how Sir Winston in four critical days (May 24 - 28, 1944) "played" all parties involved in WW... Read morePublished 2 months ago by John J. Bailey
Well, if you've read the other Churchill books, this one doesn't quite make it. I actually think it accomplished what the author planned to do: provide a very detailed, almost... Read morePublished 4 months ago by atwood4242