Winston’s War by Michael Dobbs


You may all know by now that I primarily read mysteries. I don’t know why, but I enjoy that genre a lot. I recently have started to branch out, largely due to the fact that I am now down to re-reading mysteries.

I chanced upon Winston’s War while looking through my Amazon recommendations for something to read – anything. It was advertised that Mr. Dobbs wrote the book House of Cards, from which the Netflix series was taken.

I haven’t watched that series, but I remember when it was first done for British TV and how I enjoyed not only The House of Cards, but also To Play the King. They were both excellent British TV dramas. I already had an idea I would like Winston’s War.

A little historical background here. The British were involved in WWII years before Japan attacked the US and we joined in the fight. Hitler had been rumbling all over Europe giving the excuse that German nationals were being mistreated.

Britain had Neville Chamberlain as its prime minister. Bet you don’t recognize the name, huh? That’s because he was an appeaser – no THE appeaser – and tried to work out deal after deal with Hitler so that he would not have to go to war. Hitler kept breaking the agreements until finally Chamberlain had to announce that he would guarantee Poland’s right to independence. He did this so that he could maintain control over the government. People were starting to get sick of him.

The book, which Dobbs does state is a novel, not necessarily historical fact, still the book includes an awful lot of information about pre-war Britain and the build-up to the fight.

Winston Churchill, a man I admire greatly, was portrayed as brilliant in the book. He was a brilliant, dogged man who suffered from depression. He had an instinct for what was right and what needed to be done in regards to Hitler and he knew that Britain could not survive without a fight. He spent an enormous amount of time trying to convince Chamberlain that Britain must prepare for war, must build up armaments and must not cower before the fight. Chamberlain hated Churchill.

Chamberlain and his aides tapped Churchill’s phone and office and tried to find some scandal, any scandal, to put him out of the public eye. In Winston’s War, they got close, but no cigar.

The book weaves the lives of Chamberlain, Churchill, a young drunken homosexual called Burgess and a survivor of the work camps in Russia now turned barber. The intrigue never stops, there’s a climax on almost every page and the outcome is predictable, but still satisfying.

If you can’t tell, I highly recommend this book. I’m searching out more of Dobbs’ work for my summer reading.


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