The second volume of William Manchester's biography of Sir Winston Churchill encompasses the eight-year period from the beginning of Churchill's longest period in the political "wilderness," to his rise to power as Prime Minister of Great Britain at the beginning of World War II. Manchester contends that the two decades between the two World Wars, and not his years as Prime Minister (1940-1945), were Winston S. Churchill's personal "finest hour."
Manchester combines a highly readable historical narrative with brilliantly insightful historical analysis. He asserts that much of the prevailing pacifist attitude in Britain during the 1930s was an outgrowth of the British experience in World War I, when British youth were nearly decimated on the battlefields of Europe and the Middle East.
The author also persuasively argues that the British government's policy of appeasement was not driven by weak-willed men who feared Adolf Hitler. Instead, the author paints Britain's political leaders as cynical and devious men who devised an almost Machiavellian political strategy founded upon the belief that a rearmed Germany would serve as a buffer against an expansionist Soviet Union. Only when it became painfully obvious that all attempts to placate Hitler were doomed to failure did the British nation turn to the one man who, for a decade, had consistently advocated standing up to the Nazi dictator: Winston Spencer Churchill.
This report prepared by Mike Powers