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Churchill's Grand Alliance: The Anglo-American Special Relationship 1940-57 Hardcover – October, 1995

3.8 out of 5 stars 5 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

"It is as well that the ironies of history are hid from participants," says Charmley, the revisionist author continuing the history begun in Churchill: The End of Glory; A Political Biography (LJ 9/1/93). Churchill, the optimistic, myopic imperialist, turned to America for help in facing down Germany's onslaught in 1940. FDR, cool, pragmatic, unemotional, finally entered the war with his own agenda, which relegated the British to junior players on the world stage. Churchill never understood or expected that alliance to strip Great Britain of its colonial power; FDR knew full well that there was no place for the "old" Britain in America's new, postwar plans. Charmley will have his detractors (he is, after all, casting a cold, skeptical eye on venerable British institutions), but he has crafted a solid, balanced portrait of a frightening, chaotic time. Recommended for public libraries.
Nancy L. Whitfield, Meriden P.L., Ct.
Copyright 1995 Reed Business Information, Inc.

From Booklist

As did his Churchill: The End of Glory (1993), Charmley's latest sally into "declinology," the study of how Britain faded from first-to third-rate power, should stir controversy, at least among historians. His comprehensive research rests on two ideas: that Churchill, the romantic, was less perceptive than foreign secretary Anthony Eden to the drift of American foreign policy in the 1940^-56 period, and that that policy meant "America wanted a compliant, non-imperial Britain as part of a European federation." Because Churchill ascribed often and eloquently a unique character to U.S./UK relations, Charmley has a fat target. He hits it repeatedly with his interpretations of FDR, who he believes inflicted permanent damage to British interests. In finance, sterling fell to dollar supremacy. In geopolitics, the British received no support outside Europe and eventually sustained the decisive setback as a world power in the Suez fiasco of 1956. In proving the relation was special on American terms only, Charmley surely succeeds, but Churchill idolaters may not notice as they recoil from the constant criticism of their hero. A brave, iconoclastic work. Gilbert Taylor
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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 427 pages
  • Publisher: Harcourt; 1st U.S. ed edition (October 1995)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0151275815
  • ISBN-13: 978-0151275816
  • Product Dimensions: 1.8 x 6.8 x 9.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.7 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 3.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (5 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,882,140 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Format: Paperback
Charmley's style is very dry and as this is a political critique it makes it all the more difficult to read and absorb. This is a book for those who know everything there is to know about WWII, Churchill, and FDR yet want to read a unique take. For anyone like me with only partial knowledge on the subject, this is exhausting.
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Format: Paperback
It is rather interesting that I looked up this book on Amazon nearly 15 years after I bought it and noticed nobody had done a write up as of yet (even Amazon.uk didn't have one!) Perhaps it is due to the message of the book and maybe even the authors criticism of Churchill being more popular in America than in his homeland. Though looking at Amazon.uk I notice that most of his books only have a smattering of reviews, even his recent history of the Conservative Party (2008) is unreviewed. I wonder if this is a truer indication of the acceptance of the authors point of view than anything else, considering that a book such as Pat Buchanan's revisionist WW II history - `Churchill, Hitler and the Unnecessary War' has nearly 200 reviews and a lively life in replies to the reviews. Also an interesting aspect to this view of Churchill is that usually I associate negative views of him with those on the left (Labour) here the criticism seems to be coming from the right side of the political spectrum

The main point of his book is that Churchill threw away the Empire and England's status as a Great Power by his fighting of Hitler's Germany. Now honestly I cannot remember if it was in this book or in `Churchill: End of Glory' it could be read that Churchill made a mistake in not accepting Hitler's overtones of peace in 1940, and either leave Germany unencumbered to attack Stalin's Soviet Union fully as an attack on the greater evil. Churchill is criticized for only having the defeat of Germany as his aim and not thinking ahead towards a post-war Europe where England would still have the ability to lead. Even the American Alliance comes into question concerning Roosevelt's dislike for the British Empire and maneuvers to break down Imperial Preference and break away the colonies.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Charmely has not only changed historiography, but he has also changed Anglo-American relations by revealing the truth of the "special relationship." This is scholarship with a capital "S."
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Outstanding review of the Anglo-American alliance from 1940-1957 and even beyond. Professor Charmley writes very well, indeed, and brings his own iconoclastic outlook to the theme.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
John Charmley's trilogy which this is a part of is must reading for any student of World War Two.
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