By Winston Churchill
Recording the middle of World War Two from an old euro-centric quintessentially British perspective, The Grand Alliance written by Winston Churchill, is a very detailed exploration into many parts of the war. Starting at the end of the Blitz, and running through until Pearl Harbour, this book explores the turning point of the war, as Britain went from the only nation directly opposing Nazi domination, to the member of a ‘Grand Alliance’ involving the two world superpowers of the next generation, the USA and the Soviet Union. However, even with its grand scope we can still stay grounded in the fact that it is essentially just a retelling of Churchill’s various reactions to international events and battles. This is still very intriguing, as Churchill was the Prime Minister of Britain at the time, so his reactions are very historically significant. We get to see him wrestle with burnt-out generals trying to overcome significant odds with the ‘help’ of nations which seem unable to see the bigger picture. We get to see a lot of messages to and from Roosevelt, his American counterpart, as their relationship which defined the allies grows. We get to see Stalin constantly demanding a second front against the Germans to try and blunt Hitler’s invasion of Russia. Finally, you get to see everyone underestimating the Japanese threat in Asia.
With great quotes such as “If Hitler invaded hell I would make at least a favourable reference to the devil in the House of Commons,” and “When you speak of ‘a superhuman effort’ you mean I presume an effort rising superior to time, space and geography. Unfortunately, these attributes are denied to us” you will at least have some entertainment between the monotony of the actual guiding of a country at war. If you are not interested in the tonnes of shipping lost in the Atlantic to the Germans in 1941, or the spat Churchill had with the Australian government over the placement of the Australian division in Libya, then this book is not for you. However, if you are interested in the minutia of history or simply have too much spare time, then this book comes with my recommendation.