Enter your mobile number or email address below and we'll send you a link to download the free Kindle App. Then you can start reading Kindle books on your smartphone, tablet, or computer - no Kindle device required.

  • Apple
  • Android
  • Windows Phone
  • Android

To get the free app, enter your email address or mobile phone number.

Buy Used
$3.99
FREE Shipping on orders over $25.
Condition: Used: Acceptable
Comment: This is a ex library book, stickers and markings accordingly.
Have one to sell? Sell on Amazon
Flip to back Flip to front
Listen Playing... Paused   You're listening to a sample of the Audible audio edition.
Learn more
See all 3 images

Our Supreme Task: How Winston Churchill's Iron Curtain Speech Defined the Cold War Alliance Hardcover – March 6, 2012

4.6 out of 5 stars 24 customer reviews

See all 5 formats and editions Hide other formats and editions
Price
New from Used from
Kindle
"Please retry"
Hardcover
"Please retry"
$1.38 $0.01

Best Books of the Month
See the Best Books of the Month
Want to know our Editors' picks for the best books of the month? Browse Best Books of the Month, featuring our favorite new books in more than a dozen categories.
click to open popover

Editorial Reviews

Review

"I read Our Supreme Task with considerable care and I recommend it emphatically. There is now an enormous literature about the Cold War but very little about how it actually came about and almost nothing about this address. This book fills the gap."

- John Lukacs, author of Churchill: Visionary. Statesman. Historian.

"Philip White has recreated the eight months between the Potsdam Conference at the end of World War II and the world-changing events in Fulton, Missouri, with impressive scholarship, a sure narrative skill and a fine eye for telling detail."

- Andrew Roberts, author of The Storm of War

"Philip White has lovingly produced a detailed yet eminently readable account of Churchill's speech in Fulton, Missouri, in 1946."

Nile Gardiner, Director, Margaret Thatcher Center for Freedom

"By reporting this event from every angle, Philip White builds the story of an unemployed world leader giving a talk at an obscure Missouri college into high drama. Churchill would have loved this book."

- Jesse Kornbluth, Headbutler.com


Andrew Roberts, author of The Storm of War

“Winston Churchill thought his Iron Curtain speech the most important of a long and stormy career that was studded with vital speeches; it was certainly one of his bravest.  Philip White has recreated the eight months between the Potsdam Conference at the end of World War II and the world-changing events in Fulton, Missouri, with impressive scholarship, a sure narrative skill and a fine eye for telling detail.”


John Lukacs, author of A New Republic: A History Of The United States In The Twentieth Century

“I read Our Supreme Task with considerable care and I recommend it emphatically. There is now an enormous literature about the Cold War but very little about how it actually came about and almost nothing about this address. This book fills the gap.”


Nile Gardiner, Ph.D., Director, Margaret Thatcher Center for Freedom

“Philip White has lovingly produced a detailed yet eminently readable account of Churchill’s speech in Fulton, Missouri, in 1946. White shows not only how the great British statesman crystallized in word and image the perilous divide between democratic west and communist east, but also how one speech defined an era, and how it continues to inspire today.”



 


Kirkus Reviews
“The genesis, occasion and aftermath of what Winston Churchill unhesitatingly called ‘the most important speech of my career’…. White fully reproduces the address and reminds us that Churchill’s call for increased Anglo-American solidarity in the face of Soviet aggression was not particularly well received… Today, we remember it as ‘one of the defining statements of the twentieth century.’ White’s at his best painting the small scenes in the background of the event: Churchill’s construction of the speech as he sunbathed and painted, the whiskey and poker-fueled train ride with Truman to Missouri and especially the frantic preparations for the big day by Westminster and Fulton officials, including the charismatic college president who conceived of the long-shot invitation to a world figure who unexpectedly said yes. A small slice of history charmingly retold.”
 

Newark Star-Ledger
“[An] absorbing reconstruction of events leading up to Fulton’s fifteen minutes of fame…. White shines a warm and winning spotlight on rural postwar America as he describes the hamlet’s feverish preparation to host the leader.”
 
Commentary
“The background and analysis White offers are valuable.”
 
Washington Times
“In Cold War history, the Westminster speech is cited frequently as a seminal moment in the skein of events that dominated the world for the next half-century. From time to time, I wondered, ‘Why Westminster? Was it simply because President Truman hailed from Missouri?’ The story is far more complex, and it is related entertainingly by Philip White in a first book that marks him as a historian to be watched.”  

 


About the Author

Philip White is a writer and a lecturer at MidAmerica Nazarene University, and a regular contributor to The Historical Society publications. Philip’s business writing has been recognized with awards from the Public Relations Society of America and the International Association of Business Communicators. He lives in Olathe, KS, with his wife and two sons.
NO_CONTENT_IN_FEATURE


Product Details

  • Hardcover: 304 pages
  • Publisher: PublicAffairs; 1 edition (March 6, 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 9781610390590
  • ISBN-13: 978-1610390590
  • ASIN: 1610390598
  • Product Dimensions: 9.3 x 6.4 x 1.1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 13.6 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (24 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,424,067 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover
I've read several Churchill-related books, but most have been about his years as war leader in WW2, his 'wilderness years' in the 1930s when he warned the nation about the dangers of Nazism, or about earlier periods of his life. Until I became familiar with this story, I had no idea that one of his most important speeches was given during a second `wilderness time' right after the war and marked the unfortunately fast transition from world war to cold war. This book really filled that missing piece for me.
The broad subject, how the free world confronts totalitarian regimes, seems as relevant today as ever before. But what I found most compelling is the way the author moves effortlessly between the global stage on which Churchill and Truman played and the nostalgic details that transported me into the world of small-town America in the 1940s. This is a special book - highly recommended!
2 Comments 9 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I've always been a big fan of history books, but I prefer ones that take a closer look at events and provide information you can't get in other places. This book does a great job of that. It sets the scene well, provides a lot of details, and brings out the personalities that were involved in pulling off one of the most important speeches ever delivered. Churchill is a fascinating subject, and so is the book's focus on a small, midwestern town hosting this larger-than-life political figure. I really enjoyed the book. The research in it is extensive. I highly recommend it.
Comment 5 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Having put together and held together the Great Coalition which defeated the Axis, Winston Churchill should have been able to retire from public life, to spend his waning years in comfort to pursue those interests he was forced to put aside during the war years.

But it was not to be. Having met with Stalin many times, whose hands were at least as bloody as Hitler's, he understood that the free world could not even catch its breath before facing another challenge: that of the shadow of Soviet domination. There were those who were war-weary and did not want to face this challenge so soon after WWII, there were others who were apologists for the Soviet system (and who really believed all that "Uncle Joe" propaganda) and finally there were those who were actively working within the British and American governments for the interests of the USSR instead of their respective governments.

Churchill recognized this, just as he recognized the type of threat presented by Nazi Germany the decade before.

Due to a set of interesting circumstances presented in Philip White's book we get the whole story of how Churchill's so-called "Iron Curtain" speech came about in the town of Fulton, Missouri. The speech does not simply deal with the topic of communist domination but also discusses the future of freedom as only the great orator Churchill could. It defined the reality of Soviet moves in the months following WWII, whowing Soviet aggression for what it was.

It was a great speech and this is a great book.
Comment One person found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
And not just any speech, but one that gave the term "iron curtain" to the age and language. The speaker was Winston Churchill, who had lost the mid-1945 election to continue as Britain's prime minister. The speech was part of his (eventually successful) attempt to regain a role and power in British foreign affairs.

The place is more puzzling. Fulton, Missouri, is not exactly on the beaten tourist path (though it's just off I-70), nor is the small liberal arts college there on any ranking lists. So why did Churchill travel there in early March 1946, along with President Harry Truman, to make his major foreign policy address? Because (1) he sought a venue and (2) the timing was right. Truman knew the college president, and promised to come and introduce Churchill. That combination sealed the deal.

White does a solid job discussing not only the speech (a full text is included), but all the arrangements behind the scenes to make it happen. Travel was harder and slower (the president and former/future prime minister traveled by train and then car), and how to serve the expected hordes of press and other visitors were major headaches. But it all came off--and the rest, so goes the old phrase, is history.

Today there is a fine Churchill museum on campus, very much worth visiting. It is housed beneath a reconstructed Christopher Wren church that stood in London until becoming a victim of the German bombing blitz in the 1940s. Its pieces were carefully shipped out to Missouri, reassembled, and opened as a museum several decades ago.
Comment Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Philip White has won me over with this historical piece of how Winston Churchill was to inform the entire world what the free and democratic peoples of the world were to do with the aggressive Communistic actions perpetrated by the USSR. White gives the background before this historic speech. He explains in general outline form the governmental offices occupied by Churchill from the Lord of the Admiralty to the Chancellor of the Exchequer. He explains his successes up to and including his Prime Minister's duties. He also goes into his failures such as the Dardanelles in WWI and his wilderness years of the 1930s.
White actually starts this book at the Treaty of Potsdam in the summer of 1945. It is here where Churchill saw in the plenary sessions that Stalin was unmovable on all key points such as democratic elections in Poland. It became apparent that these sessions were the beginning of the standoff of the democracies of the West and the Communism of the East. In the middle of these plenary sessions Churchill returned to Great Britain to find out he lost the elections of 1945. Churchill the hero of the Allies was unceremoniously dumped on his behind. Again he was on the outside looking in and he saw the polemics with the USSR becoming aggressive and Europe teetering on the brink of being overrun by Communism. Again Churchill was looking into being in the wilderness again. Would history repeat itself!
During this time period we have a small college located in Fulton Missouri by the name of Westminster College looking for a prestigious speaker in their annual speaker series. Franc McCluer the president of the College had the temerity to seek Winston S. Churchill to fulfill that task!
Read more ›
Comment Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse

Most Recent Customer Reviews

Pages with Related Products. See and discover other items: russia