Read Darkest Hour: How Churchill Brought England Back from the Brink by Anthony McCarten Online

darkest-hour-how-churchill-brought-england-back-from-the-brink

From the acclaimed novelist and screenwriter of The Theory of Everything comes a revelatory look at the period immediately following Winston Churchill’s ascendancy to Prime Minister—soon to be a major motion picture starring Gary Oldman.“He was speaking to the nation, the world, and indeed to history...” May, 1940. Britain is at war. The horrors of blitzkrieg have seen oneFrom the acclaimed novelist and screenwriter of The Theory of Everything comes a revelatory look at the period immediately following Winston Churchill’s ascendancy to Prime Minister—soon to be a major motion picture starring Gary Oldman.“He was speaking to the nation, the world, and indeed to history...” May, 1940. Britain is at war. The horrors of blitzkrieg have seen one western European democracy after another fall in rapid succession to Nazi boot and shell. Invasion seems mere hours away. Just days after becoming Prime Minister, Winston Churchill must deal with this horror—as well as a skeptical King, a party plotting against him, and an unprepared public. Pen in hand and typist-secretary at the ready, how could he change the mood and shore up the will of a nervous people? In this gripping day-by-day, often hour-by-hour account of how an often uncertain Churchill turned Britain around, the celebrated Bafta-winning writer Anthony McCarten exposes sides of the great man never seen before. He reveals how he practiced and re-wrote his key speeches, from ‘Blood, toil, tears and sweat’ to ‘We shall fight on the beaches’; his consideration of a peace treaty with Nazi Germany, and his underappreciated role in the Dunkirk evacuation; and, above all, how 25 days helped make one man an icon. Using new archive material, McCarten reveals the crucial behind-the-scenes moments that changed the course of history. It’s a scarier—and more human—story than has ever been told. “McCarten's pulse-pounding narrative transports the reader to those springtime weeks in 1940 when the fate of the world rested on the shoulders of Winston Churchill. A true story thrillingly told. Thoroughly researched and compulsively readable.”—Michael F. Bishop, Executive Director of the International Churchill Society...

Title : Darkest Hour: How Churchill Brought England Back from the Brink
Author :
Rating :
ISBN : 9780062749543
Format Type : ebook
Number of Pages : 336 Pages
Status : Available For Download
Last checked : 21 Minutes ago!

Darkest Hour: How Churchill Brought England Back from the Brink Reviews

  • Jill Hutchinson
    2019-02-04 10:55

    This is one of those book that you don't want to be over......I closed it and was almost tempted to start over again. A short (336 pages) beautifully written day-by-day description of the months of May-June 1940 as Winston Churchill stepped into the position of PM and was immediately faced with probably the hardest decision ever required by any country's leader.The author gives us a short biography of Churchill, his glory and his horrible mistakes in WWI (think Gallipoli), errors which led many in the government to doubt his abilities. He was an egotist, dramatic,blustering, had a drinking problem and had changed parties twice which is usually a death knell for a politician. But the policy of appeasement of the Nazis as put forth by his predecessor, Chamberlain, was starting to wear thin and the country turned to Churchill for guidance.The majority of the book deals with the government's reaction to the retreat of the BEF to the beaches of Dunkirk and the possible loss of the entire army. Should Britain sue for peace and hope that Hitler would be generous in his demands or should they stand alone and go down fighting rather than capitulate. The author provides the reader with an inside look at the meetings of the Cabinet and the War Council, fraught with in-fighting and bad blood. He does reveal that Churchill wavered at one point in favor of peace talks but his love of country and its people would not allow him to give way. It was at this point that the rhetoric of probably the world's greatest master of the English language held sway. If words can win a battle, Churchill succeeded and his famous "we shall never surrender" speech to the people of Britain lifted morale to a high point. Additionally, his idea (and it was his idea) to send the "little ships" to rescue the BEF at Dunkirk turned a defeat into a moral victory. He had been PM for only 25 days. And the rest is history.Simply fascinating, I would highly recommend this book, even to those who may not be fans of Winston Churchill. You may become a fan after reading it.

  • Jean Poulos
    2019-01-30 15:52

    This book was published in November 2017. I understand there is to be a movie made from this book. I read everything I can obtain about Winston S. Churchill. I recently read “Alone” by Michael Korda. “Alone” dealt with the time frame of when Churchill was elected prime minister and includes lots of information about Dunkirk. This book also deals with the same time frame as Churchill becomes prime minister. But this book deals more about Churchill, the man, as well as more about his key speeches during this period. “Alone” was more about Dunkirk.The book is well written and meticulously researched. McCarten has been nominated five times for an Academy Award for his screenplays and he also is a novelist. This background has allowed him to write a most exciting book. This is definitely not a dry biography. McCarten brings Churchill to life as a man with all the weakness and greatness to be expected of a brilliant man. In some ways, you could also say this is a story of a speech. McCarten reveals to us how Churchill struggled to write one of his most famous speeches “Blood, Toil, Tears, and Sweat”. The author points out that Churchill wrote and gave his three greatest speeches within a four-week period. I found it most interesting that Churchill drew on the skills of Plato and his colleagues as well as Cicero to learn the skill of oratory. McCarten states Churchill spent one hour of work for every one minute of speech. The book held my attention throughout the story. The book is a fast and easy read.I read this as an audiobook downloaded from Audible. The book is about six and half hours. John Lee does and excellent job narrating the book. John Lee is one of my favorite narrators. Lee has won multiple Earphone Awards. In 2009 he won the Golden Voice Award and he has won a number of Audies in different genre over the years.

  • Manchester Military History Society (MMHS)
    2019-01-17 15:06

    Concise and easily read account of the first 25 days of Churchill's premiershipAnthony McCarten's book is the basis for the new film on Churchill called "Darkest Hour" featuring Gary Oldman in the lead.The book deals the first 25 days of Churchill's premiership in a concise and easy to read manner that keeps both the general reader and those that know the story interested.McCarten covers ground already detailed by many authors, however the big difference is his interpretation of the cabinet minutes and diaries where he argues convincingly that Churchill was considering peace with Hitler, contrary to the popular post-war image.I haven't seen the film yet, but apparently the Churchill family have endorsed the film, showing the man himself rather than the caricature often shown on screen.All in all a good read and an interesting interpretation of the Churchill legend.I was provided with a copy of this book by the publisher, but was not compelled to write a positive a review.

  • LAPL Reads
    2019-01-28 12:04

    Darkest hour is a thrilling companion piece to the movie of the same name. In early May 1940, Winston Churchill was an unlikely figure to be asked to become Prime Minister by King George VI. Derided as a turncoat by his fellow Conservatives for his former membership in the Liberal Party, and pegged as an imperialist by his Labour Party foes, Churchill was a compromise choice to head up a fragile coalition government during wartime. Churchill’s previous failure as a military leader during the First World War was overlooked because he had by far the most wartime experience of any senior government official.From the beginning of his tenure as Prime Minister, Churchill had to fend off the entreaties of the Conservative pro-appeasement members of his Wartime Cabinet. Lord Halifax and the former Prime Minister, Neville Chamberlain, longed to make peace with Hitler and Mussolini while the Netherlands, Belgium and Luxembourg were falling under Nazi domination. Churchill countered by making the first of his great Parliamentary speeches as Prime Minister: “I have nothing to offer but blood, toil, tears and sweat.” The British Expeditionary Force (BEF) and the French Army valiantly tried to hold off the German advances.By late May 1940, the allied cause looked dire. France was on the verge of military surrender to the Germans. Four hundred thousand British soldiers were trapped on the beaches of France, and all of Western Europe would be under Nazi domination if the soldiers could not be evacuated. Every private sailing vessel on the East Coast of England was summoned for the rescue effort in Dunkirk. By a stroke of good luck, poor air visibility prevented the German Luftwaffe from massacring the BEF, and the vast majority of British soldiers were able to escape to their home country without injury, in a week's time. Right after the Dunkirk evacuation, Churchill made the second great speech of his tenure in Parliament. He moved the British nation, during its gravest periods, with his oratory, when the British fighting spirit barely held off the forces of appeasement: “Even though large tracts of Europe and many old and famous States have fallen into the grip of the Gestapo … we shall not flag and fail … We shall fight on the beaches, we shall fight on the landing grounds, we shall fight in the fields and in the streets; we shall fight in the hills; we shall never surrender.”Darkest hour is a compelling narrative of how Winston Churchill achieved greatness during the Second World War because of his steadfast opposition to Nazi aggression.Reviewed by David B., Librarian, InfoNow,

  • Karen
    2019-02-10 17:12

    This book was phenomenal. The tension of the darkest time of British wartime history was palpable. You can really get a sense of the huge pressure that Churchill was under during this time. Not only was he a newly minted Prime Minister of Britain, but he had the tension of guiding a nation through the war and to victory. Culminating in the parliamentary session in which he made what is arguably his most famous speech, the author carries the reader through the darkest days of British history alongside Churchill, and leaves you cheering. I can't wait to check out the movie that was based on this book!

  • Cathy Sites
    2019-01-25 13:56

    A quick history of WC’s first weeks as Prime Minister - an induction into extreme leadership amid crisis that few have seen or could handle. The author somewhat tends to cast WC in a negative or critical light - as if trying to challenge the reader to remove WC from a pedestal and see him as just a man with the gift of oratory (isn’t that a pillar of politics anyway!). Nevertheless this book is a decent introduction to Dunkirk, failures at Gallipoli, and British viewpoint of WWII.

  • pennyg
    2019-01-21 17:17

    A quick interesting read, a look at the perilous circumstances leading up to Churchill ' s famous 1940 "we shall fight" speech with a peek into Churchill ' s personal life. Certainly made me want to read more about him. Quite an eccentric fellow, scotch for breakfast and pink silk underwear for his delicate skin. A reminder that we are often one decision away from it all going wrong and Prime minister's/President's words matter.

  • Realini
    2019-01-23 11:04

    Darkest Hour, writer Anthony McCarten, director Joe Wright, with Gary Oldman, Lily James, Kristin Scott ThomasEven if this is the Darkest Hour, this note is intended to have a look at it Through a Glass BrightlyPositive Psychology is not about being Panglossian or Pollyannaish and it also deals with Adversity and TraumaDarkest Hour, as the name suggests, represents a nadir in the history of Britain and the whole worldBut luckily, someone like Winston Churchill rose and took the lead in the fight against Nazism and its leader, the corporal…The Character Strengths of this extraordinary man make him the ultimate role model, except for some normal, human shortcomings:Leadership, Bravery, Persistence, Creativity, Open Mindedness, Love of Learning, Perspective, Citizenship, Fairness, Mercy, Integrity, Vitality, Kindness, Appreciation of ExcellenceGratitude, Hope, Humor, Spirituality, Self-Regulation- well, perhaps without considering the alcohol-These are all Signature Strengths that the glorious statesman had and that was the saving of EuropeSpeculations can be madeIndeed, even Churchill, in one of the most famous and brilliant speeches ever, mentions the AmericansIf Britain fights- and he made sure that it did- and it would be occupied in large part, then the rest of the Empire would continue the struggleAnd the Americans would have intervened at one point, but who knows how late, if not after the Fascists would control too much of the worldThe ascension of Winston Churchill has been far from a sure, easy thing and he was not the favorite to become Prime MinisterDarkest Hour presents many of the details that concerned the backroom deals and conflicts, even after the great man became leaderNeville Chamberlain maneuvered with Lord Halifax to prevent Churchill from pushing too far and they wanted peaceIt is also true that the situation was grave in the Darkest Hour and it looked like the whole British Army would be wiped outIt took the Visionary Churchill and his majestic, outstanding decision to order private ships to engage with the Dunkirk evacuationOtherwise, the generals estimated that only 10% of the soldiers and officers would have been brought to BritainOne of the other best films of 2017, Dunkirk, deals with that part of the World War II in detailThe Prime Minister had to take another excruciatingly painful decision regarding the Calais unit.The British had about 4,000 men there and they were needed to fight the Nazis in order to allow precious time for the main operation, the repatriation of the 300,000 troops from Dunkirk.The soldiers and officers at Calais had to sacrifice themselves in order to allow the saving of more menThe leader of the British Empire writes a letter to their commander, specifying that there would be no evacuation for those at Calais.His secretary, Elizabeth Layton aka the excellent Lily James, cries while typing that letter that would be sent to CalaisIf glorified, admired as one the Greatest leaders and statesmen of all time, Churchill was loathed by many before becoming Prime MinisterHis heavy drinking habits were notorious and disliked: he started the day late, with alcohol and continued till the late hours of the nighChurchill is said to have drank a quart of scotch and a bottle of Champagne on an average dayBut he was almost never drunk and it has to be emphasized that nobody can be perfect and the other qualities of this man make him an Absolute HeroThis Ubermensch is the one who gave one of the best, most inspiring, important and motivational speeches ever:“We shall go on to the end. We shall fight in France, we shall fight on the seas and oceans, we shall fight with growing confidence and growing strength in the air, we shall defend our island, whatever the cost may be. We shall fight on the beaches, we shall fight on the landing grounds, we shall fight in the fields and in the streets, we shall fight in the hills; we shall never surrender…”

  • April
    2019-02-13 11:12

    So this covers only the first three or so weeks of Churchill's time as Prime Minister, up until the speech for which he is, arguably, the most famous. McCarten also takes care to speak about his past and the pasts of the other notable players--namely Lord Halifax--but the thing about that is that it makes Churchill less likable on the whole. Without doubt, Churchill is one of the most important figures of the Second World War. Equally as true, he led Britain through one of the most trying times in her history, McCarten's so-called Darkest Hour. None of that can be disputed. The fact that McCarten goes out of his way to paint a picture of a raging Imperialist obsessed with the idea of Empire does little for the overall portrait of Churchill in this history. In fact, the only thing that makes him memorable at all, from McCarten's rather dull telling of it, is the fact that almost no one else commands any "screen time" at all, and those who do, i.e., Halifax and Chamberlain, come off on the wrong side of history with their strategy of appeasement. This is a fairly bland recital of one of the pivotal moments of the Second World War.

  • Kasiek
    2019-01-19 13:59

    http://kasiek-mysli.blogspot.com/2018...

  • James
    2019-02-05 16:54

    A fascinating look at Churchill's speeches, thinking, political maneuvering, and war room debates as Europe fell under Nazi control. A real page-turner.

  • Kristin
    2019-02-09 16:15

    This was a very quick read that covers Churchill's election and first 25 days in office, when he managed to turn the tide of war with one well known last ditch act that he is (oddly) often not credited for. Basically, McCarten covers the period of time that made Churchill go from being a laughing stock to the near mythical figure we all know today. This book does a wonderful job at portraying Churchill as he actually was, human. Today, when people think "Churchill" they may see an imposing but eccentric figure of confidence and strength, who never doubted England would rise victorious over the Nazi invasion of Europe. Many history books would have us believe that, that's exactly how he was.However, McCarten disagrees. Through the use of dairies, speeches, interviews, reports, and testimonies a new portrait of Churchill emerges. In this new portrait we see a man who suffered doubts, grieved for putting civilians in danger during Operation Dynamo (Little Ships of Dunkirk), and even seriously thought, for a brief moment, that the war was lost and the only way to protect England and all the people looking to him for protection was to make a deal with Hitler.Rather than having yet another dry book that relies heavily on facts and figures, this book tells us a story. It recounts days, weeks, and even hours through details pieced together from the writing and testimonies of both Churchill himself and the people who were the closest to him during this time.I was actually saddened to realize the story was so short. The masterful way Churchill's story was told and exposing how human he actually was made this an enjoyable read that changes the way I see the beginnings of WWII.This is definitely a must read for history buffs everywhere.

  • Gwen - Chew & Digest Books -
    2019-02-13 10:58

    I've read or really slogged through many books by and about Churchill and this was not only shorter, it was the most inspiring. This portrayal of Churchill was a real fallible man with doubts and weaknesses that he actually acknowledged or at least was ready to hear all sides and opinions. It also showed his supreme mastership of the Classics and therefore rhetoric. Study of the classics was already a dying art and he was one of the last of the old school to his and Britain's advantage. During the portion of his quoted speeches, it was easy to imagine myself, sitting around the radio with my family listening to the scratchy reception in the scary times that the tiny island of Britain was facing and cheering at the end. Heck, I was ready to stand up and enlist in the WAAFs in a war that happened before my parents were born! Especially interesting was how McCarten bucks many Churchill scholars by saying that he felt that Churchill did indeed see a peace agreement as an option at that point, while publicly he was promoting victory or death. McCarten's research and thoughts about it are convincing along with what I've read about the man. While he's always been portrayed as, in my opinion, an arrogant ass destined for greatness, his actual history of actions, glimpses of self-doubt, and outright failures show him to be human, with the baggage from his distant and judgmental father that he lost at a fairly early age. The portrayal overall makes him more human than god-like that we have a tendency to do with some political leaders. Personally, I can't wait until the movie comes out based on the book and I'm not a huge fan of movies made from non-fiction works.

  • Jo
    2019-01-17 12:13

    Darkest Hour: How Churchill Brought England Back from the Brinkby Anthony McCartenSynopsisFrom the acclaimed novelist and screenwriter of The Theory of Everything comes a revelatory look at the period immediately following Winston Churchill’s ascendancy to Prime Minister—soon to be a major motion picture starring Gary Oldman.“He was speaking to the nation, the world, and indeed to history...”May, 1940. Britain is at war. The horrors of blitzkrieg have seen one western European democracy after another fall in rapid succession to Nazi boot and shell. Invasion seems mere hours away.Just days after becoming Prime Minister, Winston Churchill must deal with this horror—as well as a skeptical King, a party plotting against him, and an unprepared public. Pen in hand and typist-secretary at the ready, how could he change the mood and shore up the will of a nervous people?In this gripping day-by-day, often hour-by-hour account of how an often uncertain Churchill turned Britain around, the celebrated Bafta-winning writer Anthony McCarten exposes sides of the great man never seen before. He reveals how he practiced and re-wrote his key speeches, from ‘Blood, toil, tears and sweat’ to ‘We shall fight on the beaches’; his consideration of a peace treaty with Nazi Germany, and his underappreciated role in the Dunkirk evacuation; and, above all, how 25 days helped make one man an icon.Using new archive material, McCarten reveals the crucial behind-the-scenes moments that changed the course of history. It’s a scarier—and more human—story than has ever been told.“McCarten's pulse-pounding narrative transports the reader to those springtime weeks in 1940 when the fate of the world rested on the shoulders of Winston Churchill.ReviewWinston Churchill is one of histories most compelling characters, he was strong, tenacious and a formidable leader in times of great hardship. He also was a man constantly at war with his own decisions. Churchill was a brilliant narrator who brought together the British empire with inspiration speeches such as."we shall fight on the beaches, we shall fight on the landing grounds, we shall fight in the fields and in the streets, we shall fight on the hills, we shall never surrender"Winston Churchill had experienced failures and had learnt from his mistakes and from history. Anthony McCarten recalls those dark days in 1940 and how Churchill's leadership and fortitude shaped the course of the allied defense of the realm.It also details how Neville Chamberlain and Lord Halifax tried to prevent Churchill from forming battle plans as they wanted peace. McCarten also details about the British soldiers who held the enemy at bay and who suffered significant loses so that the main fighting force at Dunkirk could be evacuated.Fantastic book - Mark Adkins you might like this one.

  • Haur Bin
    2019-01-24 14:08

    Great storywriting on the days of the start of WW2 where by stroke of genius or luck, turned the tide in the Allies’ favour. The man in the thick of the action - Winston Churchill, England’s controversial Prime Minister, who was thrusted into position of power after a series of political events in the country. Despite his past failings and imperfect temperament for the political climate of the days, it seemed as though he also happened to be the right person, at the right place, at the right time. Equipped with self-confidence and power of rhetorics, he was just the right person the world needed in those darkest hour. Any other person in that position would have crumbled under the weight of responsibilities exacerbated by internal political pressures on a new PM. Sometimes in the fog of war, all it takes is someone with the balls of steel to break the tide; and with luck on your side, might just turn to be the right move. While Churchill has been mystified by historians given the outcome of the war, I feel that his place in history could have turned out totally different if some of his gambles didn’t materialise e.g. Dunkirk. He could’ve been blamed for the loss of millions of British lives or the domination of Nazism given the opportunities for appeasement proposed by his predecessor Chamberlain and Foreign Minister Halifax. Lesson learnt: This is an example of the power of leadership, armed with the right words, can consolidate and drive masses towards a common direction. In times of uncertainties, a clear voice with a compelling message is more important than getting to the absolute truth. This is because in these times, what people need is a glimmer of hope - a glimmer that shines a path for the people to move toward. Because in these times, not moving, staying on the spot makes people lose hope, makes us a lame duck, makes us predictable and eventually leads us to failure and destructions. We might not initially go in the direction of what is right, but get moving and take small leaps of faith, with the right convictions and a pinch of luck, we will figure out the right path eventually.

  • Harper
    2019-02-13 13:14

    A book about a speech. A speech that defined a man. A man who came to personify leadership. The power of words can be immense. Words that are impulsive or hollow seldom survive; however, words that are thoughtful, considered and delivered with a vision can live forever. Contrast "fire and fury" with "we shall fight on the beaches, we shall fight on the landing grounds, we shall fight in the fields and in the streets, we shall fight on the hills, we shall never surrender.......". The author posits that "all leaders need luck ---and the luck they need is this: times commensurate with their talents." Churchill was just such a leader. He did not lack for ambition but had experienced failures and had the awareness to learn not only from his mistakes but from history and the lessons it has to offer. The author recounts those dark days in 1940 leading up to the miracle at Dunkirk and this memorable speech to Parliament that set the tone and morale for the difficult years ahead. Conventional history says that Churchill never wavered in his resolve and never considered negotiating Britain out of the Second World War. The author, drawing on the official record of Churchill's war council and diaries of those involved develops an alternative view that Churchill struggled greatly with the decision to fight on and faced moments of great self doubt. Mccarten ultimately concludes, "..that the ability to have doubts,and then to be able to move on from them to synthesize opposing ideas, before reaching a balanced decision , forms the very definition of a leader and of true leadership." This ability, of course, requires a degree of self awareness and humility. These traits Churchill found in himself at the time of his country's greatest need. He later showed this when saying that the people of Britain " had the lion heart" and that he "had the luck to be called upon to give the roar."

  • Bernie Charbonneau
    2019-02-15 10:12

    I received this book as a stocking stuffer and within the next few hours had cracked the cover and was deep in the mental anguish that so had Churchill at a troubling time making decisions that would have the country in catastrophe or hailed as a genius. This is of course the book that led to the screenplay of the movie of the same name. I was looking forward to the movie as I believe Mr. Oldman would be excellent for the role. I like Gary Oldman’s work. Okay, back to the novel, this was a very good, quick read. Not having a great knowledge of this British icon, I wanted to gain a bit of wisdom before seeing the film and I am pleased that I did. The book follows the first 30 days of Churchill gaining power in May of 1940 and the battles fought within the conservative party to try and bring the situation happening in Europe to a favorable conclusion. For myself this was an excellent novel that was written quite well and informative in just over 250 pages that has piqued my curiosity to read more of an in depth biography of this interesting and complex leader. I wish that I had read this book before the release of the film Dunkirk as it would have explained the situation for a novice as myself more clearly. I am now looking forward to the film as I can’t wait to see Oldman deliver Churchill’s iconic speeches.

  • Karl Schaeffer
    2019-02-11 14:05

    Written by the author of the screenplay. McCarten brings his love of Churchill and the english language to both the screen and the written word. The book covers the short time in May and early June 1940 from when Churchill became Prime Minister, thru the successful evacuation of Dunkirk and his speech to the House of Commons, "We shall fight on the beaches...". McCarten contends that while history paints Churchill as a firm opponent of Hitler and fascism (Churchill railed against Hitler in the 30's); McCarten notes that Churchill had to consider the possibility of a peace deal with Hitler in those dark days of May 1940. Considering that Churchill's national unity cabinet included the two biggest appeasers, Chamberlain and Halifax, it's no wonder that war cabinet meetings would include some discussion of a potential peace deal. Anyways, a decent deep dive into a pivotal time in world history. My only complaint about the book; during Churchill's visit to Paris to meet with the French Prime Minister, the author notes that "Churchill flew across the Channel in his trucsy Flamingo plane, accompanied by two Hurrican fighter jets." Hurricane fighter jets? For shame McCarten. For shame. There were no Hurricane fighter jets. The Hawker Hurricane is a prop plane, as were all WWII airplanes until the ME262. Don't know how that one got by the proof readers and editors.

  • Kevin M
    2019-02-11 09:51

    A fantastic read that is gripping from the first chapter! It begins with the events immediately preceding Churchill's promotion to Prime Minister, to set the stakes, and then takes a brief jump back in time to show who he was at that moment.I was not familiar with his early years, so it was surprising to me that he wasn't well regarded at the beginning of May 1940, and thought to be a warmongering curmudgeon who should've retired already.All this sets the story beautifully for the chapters following that dive into the almost day-by-day of that fateful month of May. If you're a keener student of history you'll either enjoy or scoff at the re-reading of these events that the author purports show that Winston wasn't unwavering in his support for the war. Compelling evidence does imply that he was at the very least open to terms of peace with the Third Reich, so long as England would retain sovereignty.There is one section that seems to be a hypothetical interchange between Lord Halifax and Churchill that taints the scholarship and hard facts a bit, but all-in-all a very enjoyable and thrilling read for anyone interested in speech writing, World War II, Winston Churchill, or history in general!

  • Wanda
    2019-02-16 12:17

    A fascinating account of Winston Churchill's first 25 days as Prime Minister of Great Britain. It begins with a brief recap of the state of Europe up to May 1940. Then gives us a mini-biography of the key players in the British Parliament: Churchill, Lord Halifax and Neville Chamberlain. When Hitler decides that previous concessions were not enough and orders the invasion of the Low Countries and into France, the British Parliament is thrown into a tizzy. Churchill is asked (reluctantly) by George VI to accept the role of PM and then the discussions begin. Halifax and Chamberlain are on the side of appeasement (making a deal with Hitler.) Churchill first reaction is to fight at all costs but listens to the arguments for appeasement. He then decides that Britain cannot allow the European Settlement that Halifax proposes. Excerpts from some of Churchill's speeches are included and they, alone, are worth the time taken to read this book. This is a well written book, placing all events in chronological order taking us from War Cabinet rooms, to 10 Downing Street, to the Admiralty, to the House of Commons. It explains each situation as it arises and the significance of each decision made. Admittedly I am a Churchill admirer and this book by McCarten just makes me hungry for more.

  • Tony Parsons
    2019-01-30 14:56

    The life/times of Winston Churchill. Where would the world be without him & his tireless interventions for not only his mother country but the world. I guess it is hard for me to believe nothing was mentioned by anyone of the horrors of the holocaust in this book. Dunkirk a fabulous movie 7/13/2017. Already an 11/22/2017 movie. A very awesome book cover, great font & writing style. A very well written biography book. It was very easy for me to read/follow from start/finish & never a dull moment. There were no grammar/typo errors, nor any repetitive or out of line sequence sentences. Lots of exciting scenarios, with several twists/turns & a great set of unique characters to keep track of. This could also make another PS, or history college PP presentation, or better yet a paid-per-view mini TV series or even a documentary (A & E, History channel). There is no doubt in my mind this is a very easy rating of 5 stars. Thank you for the free Goodreads; Making Connections; Harper Collins Publisher (Perennial); paperback book Tony Parsons MSW (Washburn)

  • Tyler Shafer
    2019-02-14 16:13

    This was a short, but interesting look at how Churchill seemingly saved his nation (and Europe) from Nazi tyranny through the power of his stubbornness and rhetoric. It did seem to lack a bit of depth and instead read like a one-hour documentary or a screenplay, which makes sense because the author did indeed write the script for the recent movie. The “behind-the-scenes” look at how Churchill developed those speeches, which are often ranked with the best ever, coupled with insights into how he held his cabinet together during a time when it seemed ready to implode, were the best aspects of the book. It was also interesting to see how unpopular Churchill had been up to his ascension to the premiership; in fact, his had been a political career full of blunders. The author’s general premise, which I appreciated, was that, though a flawed man, he was the perfect leader for that time of crises. Still, it seemed a bit incomplete; perhaps I would enjoy a full-length Churchill biography or a closer examination of Britain’s role in WWII.

  • Jim Zubricky
    2019-01-19 17:08

    This was a pretty good retelling of Churchill's rise to power, and the Dunkirk evacuations. Let me put it this way: if I had not read anything about Churchill or Dunkirk, and this was my first experience reading about the first few weeks of his premiership and Dunkirk, this is a great book, and the author goes to primary and secondary resources as much as possible -- and his extensive bibliography shows it.That being said, if you're looking for anything new on Churchill or the Dunkirk evacuations, you won't necessarily find that here; the author does quote from Manchester's biography of Churchill and other sources, and I thought Manchester told the story a bit better. I fall under this part -- hence why I gave it 3 stars. All that being said, the author does tell a great story, and if you're looking for an introduction to Churchill or Dunkirk, you won't be disappointed.

  • Mark Adkins
    2019-02-08 10:17

    While I did enjoy the book I found the parts that talked about the inspiration behind Churchill's speeches a tad boring. Which I guess is a shame as the is what separates this book from a general history of WWII. Don't get me wrong Churchill's speeches are inspirational and something that I don't think any modern day politician can rival it is just I didn't find hearing how he was inspired by against speeches given throughout history that important.One other thought I had was it would have been nice to hear about future speeches (especially ones dealing with Stalin) but understandably this is outside the scope of the novel.If you are interested in WWII then I do recommend reading this book as like him or hate him PM Churchill was a driving force for the British Empire during the War.

  • David Mole
    2019-02-09 17:02

    After randomly stumbling about this book one Sunday afternoon at the local book store I was immediately drawn in by a captivating argument - "there was, even if for a moment, a thought to sue for peace with Hitler." May, 1940 - what a time. May 10th, 1940 - what a day in the life of both Great Britain and Winston Churchill. How the fate of western civilization could have so easily been deformed into a vast manic expression of the Third Reich. I never quite realized how stark the internal war was during those dark days in England - pacifism, facsist sympathizers, and... HALIFAX. All in all, this book brings a brilliant new humanism to the icon we know as CHURCHILL. Doubt infects us all; how we beat that doubt down, especially in the face of incessant choirs of dissenters crystallizes those convictions to the point of victory. Thank you Anthony for a timely tale.

  • Rich Stephenson
    2019-02-03 12:14

    This book was written in parallel with a screenplay for the movie of the same title. It is a good read, with a central plot point of the "wobbly" nature of Winston Spencer Churchill (WSC) immediately after becoming Britain's prime minister in the spring of 1940. The book concentrates on how WSC navigated the crisis of May 1940 as Nazi Germany swamped the French military, isolated the British Expeditionary Force (BEF) at Dunkirk and threatened to invade Great Britain. I enjoyed reading about the "inside game" revealed by the author, especially the WSC relationship with his PM predecessor, Neville Chamberlain, and his foreign secretary, Edward Wood, 1st Earl of Halifax. The attention, time and extreme care WSC spent on his oratory is also explored by the book. The final sentence of the Epilogue reveals the book's theme: "That May, Winston Churchill became Winston Churchill."

  • Monical
    2019-02-09 16:06

    I was disappointed both in this book (which is actually from the screenplay for the movie) and the movie. I didn't "buy" Gary Oldman's portrayal of Churchill (especially after seeing "The Gathering Storm" with Albert Finney and Vanessa Redgrave!!! on Amazon, followed by a close second of "Into the Storm" with Brendan Gleeson and Janet McTeer). In both the book and the movie, "Darkest Hour" is confusing and meandering. While I admit its trying to be historically accurate, and brings up the shocking possibility of a negotiated peace with the Nazis, the presentation is so murky that it is hard to know what exactly is going on. The scene in the Underground in the movie is missing in the book, looks like they made that one up. I expected more, and got way less.

  • Tom Hill
    2019-01-30 12:11

    This book is a quick read and does a good job of describing what went on behind the scenes in May of 1940 when the newly appointed Prime Minister of Great Britain, Winston Churchill, had to deal with Nazi invasion of France and the potential annihilation of almost his entire army. Whether Churchill seriously considered a negotiated peace with Hitler, or not, is not of much importance to me, he picked the right road in the end. How anybody could believe that Hitler would even honor any peace accord he signed is beyond me. It should have been very obvious that world dominance was his ultimate goal and breaking his word to achieve it was standard policy.

  • Suzanne Jacob
    2019-02-11 14:17

    Great true story of May 1940 in England and the decision to get as many men of the British Expeditionary Force (BEF) out of Dunkirk. This book centers on Winston Churchill and the options with which he was faced: negotiating with Hitler via Mussolini for some kind of peace, keeping the BEF in France and Belgium and try to fight the overwhelming German forces, or try to get as many men of the BEF back to England in preparation of fighting Hitler when he landed in England.This is a quick read but full of interest for non-historians and historians alike. It is based on the film of the same name.

  • Darrin Jordan
    2019-02-16 14:03

    “In his prescient essay of 1897, the young Winston [Churchill] described how ‘the orator is the embodiment of the passions of the multitude. Before he can inspire them with any emotion he must be swayed by it himself. When he would rouse their indignation his heart is filled with anger. Before he can move their tears his own must flow. To convince them he must himself believe.’” —from “Darkest Hour: How Churchill Brought England Back from the Brink” by Anthony McCartenInteresting assessment for any of us who spend our lives trying to convince others to accept a premise or thought; whether you are a politician, teacher, lawyer or even a parent.