Churchill and the King: The Wartime Alliance of Winston Churchill and George VI [NOOK Book]


For fans of The King's Speech, the intriguing bond between monarch and prime minister and its crucial role during World War II

The political and personal relationship between King George VI and Winston Churchill during World War II is ...
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Churchill and the King: The Wartime Alliance of Winston Churchill and George VI

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For fans of The King's Speech, the intriguing bond between monarch and prime minister and its crucial role during World War II

The political and personal relationship between King George VI and Winston Churchill during World War II is one that has been largely overlooked throughout history, yet the trust and loyalty these men shared helped Britain navigate its perhaps most trying time.

Despite their vast differences, the two men met weekly and found that their divergent virtues made them a powerful duo. The king’s shy nature was offset by Churchill’s willingness to cast himself as the nation’s savior. Meanwhile, Churchill’s complicated political past was given credibility by the king’s embrace and counsel. Together as foils, confidants, conspirators, and comrades, the duo guided Britain through war while reinspiring hope in the monarchy, Parliament, and the nation itself.

Books about these men as individuals could fill a library, but Kenneth Weisbrode’s study of the unique bond between them is the first of its kind.
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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
Historian Weisbrode (On Ambivalence: The Problems and Pleasures of Having It Both Ways) shares the story of how two of the most important figures in 20th-century Britain, Churchill and King George VI, worked tirelessly to maintain British interests throughout WWII. Though told with humor, Weisbrode presents lackluster evidence to support his notion that the king’s role during the war was on the level of Churchill’s. Throughout, readers will get to know Churchill’s eccentric personality, his successes and failures, but relatively little of the king’s. Indeed, there are similarities between the two men’s natures and opinions, but the story proves to reveal parallel, if complementary, lives instead of comparable powers. Only at the end of the book does Weisbrode make good on his belief in the pair’s significant partnership: “after reconstructing the history of the two men in tandem it becomes very difficult to imagine Churchill succeeding in that without the full support of the king.” Furthermore, many anecdotes feel unfinished, or contain British-isms Americans are unlikely to understand. The friendship that grew between these two historical figures makes for an uplifting story, but not an entire book. (Nov.)
Kirkus Reviews
An organic comparison of two highly flawed and deeply sympathetic characters at the helm of England at her most perilous hour. Historian Weisbrode (On Ambivalence: The Problems and Pleasures of Having it Both Ways, 2012, etc.) navigates among the infinite accounts already existing on Churchill and the House of Windsor for a touching dual portrait of two historical characters whose greatness largely relied on the support of the other. The recent film The King's Speech brought out the painfully human shortcomings of King George VI, "Bertie," who always expected his big brother to become king and certainly wasn't educated for the role. Churchill, although remembered as the country's savior during World War II, had spent many years previously in the political wilderness. Both men had endured terrible school years and a deep-seated anxiety of influence vis-à-vis their fathers. Both had to step up patriotically to fill the vacuum created by political crisis: Edward VIII's abdication dropped the royal hot potato in his younger brother's lap, and Churchill was the only one capable of running the government after the disgrace of Neville Chamberlain. Although Churchill (not then in power) had urged Edward not to abdicate, it is hard to imagine how the prime minister would have minded such a king "with appeasement in the air and his integrity thrown into question." Churchill and Bertie met for weekly luncheons during the war, with or without the queen; both men used language very deliberately; both had few intimates around them ("they were essentially friendless," writes the author) but relied on the asymmetry of their relationship and the urgency of official duty to build "an armature of knowledge and trust." Weisbrode makes a very compelling case that each man was "working against his own faults, on behalf of the other." An inspired, engaging comparative portrait.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781101638088
  • Publisher: Penguin Group (USA)
  • Publication date: 10/31/2013
  • Sold by: Penguin Group
  • Format: eBook
  • Pages: 224
  • Sales rank: 361,745
  • File size: 590 KB

Meet the Author

Kenneth Weisbrode is a writer and historian living in Turkey. His previous book is The Atlantic Century: Four Generations of Extraordinary Diplomats Who Forged America's Vital Alliance with Europe.
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