In This Review

The Churchill War Papers: The Ever Widening War, Volume III: 1941
The Churchill War Papers: The Ever Widening War, Volume III: 1941
Edited by Martin Gilbert
W. W. Norton, 2001, 1821 pp
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Some scholars simply cannot get enough of Winston Churchill. This extraordinary volume -- nothing less than a window on the activity of genius in wartime decision-making -- helps explain why. For the United Kingdom, 1940 was a year of illusion and catastrophe, and 1941 was the year of endurance, when the foundations of ultimate recovery were laid. It was a time of acute menace from the U-boats, success and disaster in the Middle East, and of course the entrances of the Soviet Union, the United States, and Japan into what became a global war. Gilbert has assembled documents that give the full range of Churchill's wartime activities. To browse through them is to peer over the shoulders of leaders and generals locked in the greatest struggle of all time. For the historian, the political scientist, and the student of statecraft more generally, there is no bound collection of primary sources more rewarding, instructive, or fascinating.