Winston Churchill: The Flawed Genius of WWII

Winston Churchill: The Flawed Genius of WWII

by Christopher Catherwood
3.2 9

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Winston Churchill: The Flawed Genius of WWII 3.2 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 9 reviews.
Major_Kelly More than 1 year ago
It is the most repetetive book I have ever read. Catherwood seems to make the same point twenty times in every chapter. His use of parenthetical phrases is, if I may digress, which I can because, as the poet said, "He who can't digress is at a loss", but I digress, distracting if not, to use the vernacular, maddening! Catherwood's book could be condensed to twenty pages, or even one paragraph: Churchill completely misunderstood mechanized warfare, and never fully grasped America's power and Britain's puniness. He was a scattershot general who played on Roosevelt's desire to be seen fighting Germans ASAP to put off Marshall's brilliant plan for a massive invasion of France. Churchill delayed D-Day by two years, costing countless millions of lives and ensuring that the Soviets would overrun half of Europe. Catherwood's book reads like a "publish or perish" assignment written over a summer holiday, Christmas even.
JurgenSchulze More than 1 year ago
Catherwood's review of Churchill's wartime performance provides a good review of current writings by other other authors, and adopts a realistic approach towards explaining why the sub-title refers to Winston as a "flawed" genius. It falls somewhat short on justifying the "genius" part. He rightly highlights the staggering price in human lives paid by those participating in the war on the eastern front, not shying away from adding that Stalin happily (?) added a few more millions during his "purges". Sadly, Catherwood excludes an aspect from his analysis (which could also have been entitled: why, because of Churchill, the war took a year longer and the Holocaust claimed at least another million victims) that should have been included, namely: would the devastating bombing of civilian targets in Germany have been necessary (and the resulting loss of life avoided) if Churchill had not prevaricated with his insistence on indirect attacks in Sicily, the Balkans, and Norway, thus allowing an earlier D-Day invasion on less fortified beachfronts with less German troops? Whilst Catherwood accepts (hence the "flawed" genius title) that Churchill's reluctance to allow US troops to attack German troops in or near Germany effectively allowed Stalin to march across parts of Europe and force them to embrace communism (or be shot) which could have been avoided if Marshall had had his way (with an earlier D-Day invasion), the "genius" part of the subtitle becomes even less persuasive given the fact that Churchill's inability (or unwillingness) to consider post-war strategies effectively led to the creation of the Iron Curtain and the Cold War. Having said this, 20/20 hindsight vision (to which many historians succumb) is no major achievement, and the question that Catherwood might have given preference in his analysis is whether, based on the facts as they were known at the material time, Churchill's conduct of the war (or perhaps we should say: participation) would have allowed, if not called for, different decisions. Here, Catherwood leaves us in limbo, citing on the one hand Churchill's memories of the human sacrifices in the trenches of WWI, the "English" preference for avoiding direct conflict and instead act in a round-about way, and on the other hand his inability to realize that US troops were not toys he could play around with at will to preserve the glory of the English empire. Catherwood's writing is easy to follow, although at times a trifle convoluted. His narrative stays on course for most of the time, although it is in parts repetitive and includes, despite editing, somewhat irritating sentence openers such as "As we shall see later..." In all, whilst Catherwood falls short in his quest to justify his book's subtitle, he makes a good and honest attempt at removing at least some of the falsely attributed glory, shaking Churchill's pedestal vigorously without toppling the statue resting on it. Eliminating the repetitions, the book could easily have been shrunk from 282 pages to a more concise and pointed 200 pages, and keep the reader more focused. Nevertheless, despite its shortfalls, a worthy read.
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Bill_Hartshorn More than 1 year ago
At last, a book that takes George C Marshall seriously. Worth reading for that alone.
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