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His Finest Hour: A Biography of Winston Churchill

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Who was Winston Churchill? Even fifty years after his death, he is one of the most iconic figures in British history. As a young man he was a maverick journalist; his many positions in politics before 1940 marked him as a courageous but foolhardy man. Yet it is Churchill’s record in war, which has recently been questioned, that confirms his genius as a military commander a Who was Winston Churchill? Even fifty years after his death, he is one of the most iconic figures in British history. As a young man he was a maverick journalist; his many positions in politics before 1940 marked him as a courageous but foolhardy man. Yet it is Churchill’s record in war, which has recently been questioned, that confirms his genius as a military commander and national leader—someone who understood the dangers of Nazi Germany before 1939 and someone uniquely capable to lead the empire through the turmoil of the Second World War. Christopher Catherwood argues that it was Churchill’s stand in 1940-41 that saved Britain and that only he was able to bring together the allies that eventually defeated Hitler in 1945. Catherwood has produced a challenging yet lively reassessment of the life and career of Winston Churchill, lion of British history and flawed hero.


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Who was Winston Churchill? Even fifty years after his death, he is one of the most iconic figures in British history. As a young man he was a maverick journalist; his many positions in politics before 1940 marked him as a courageous but foolhardy man. Yet it is Churchill’s record in war, which has recently been questioned, that confirms his genius as a military commander a Who was Winston Churchill? Even fifty years after his death, he is one of the most iconic figures in British history. As a young man he was a maverick journalist; his many positions in politics before 1940 marked him as a courageous but foolhardy man. Yet it is Churchill’s record in war, which has recently been questioned, that confirms his genius as a military commander and national leader—someone who understood the dangers of Nazi Germany before 1939 and someone uniquely capable to lead the empire through the turmoil of the Second World War. Christopher Catherwood argues that it was Churchill’s stand in 1940-41 that saved Britain and that only he was able to bring together the allies that eventually defeated Hitler in 1945. Catherwood has produced a challenging yet lively reassessment of the life and career of Winston Churchill, lion of British history and flawed hero.

30 review for His Finest Hour: A Biography of Winston Churchill

  1. 5 out of 5

    Caity

    3.75 stars Had I not read many books on Winston Churchill I may have given this book a higher rating. However, in comparison to other biographies on Churchill, I felt this was lacking the same oratory and rhetoric, possibly it was just to basic in its writing at points. Nevertheless, some of the writing was enjoyable and I saw a lot of depth and understanding in Catherwood’s conclusion. That being, “while the most draconian revisionist or hagiographer will never be satisfied, most of us will sure 3.75 stars Had I not read many books on Winston Churchill I may have given this book a higher rating. However, in comparison to other biographies on Churchill, I felt this was lacking the same oratory and rhetoric, possibly it was just to basic in its writing at points. Nevertheless, some of the writing was enjoyable and I saw a lot of depth and understanding in Catherwood’s conclusion. That being, “while the most draconian revisionist or hagiographer will never be satisfied, most of us will surely realise that to look at Churchill ‘warts and all’ is still to believe that he was, for all his faults, nevertheless very much the greatest Englishman in history.” I could not have summed up my opinion better on Churchill than how Catherwood did in his conclusion.

  2. 4 out of 5

    Printed Pages and Coffee

    Churchill is one of my favourite politicians: this is NOT a ringing endorsement of every decision he ever made or every policy he ever supported, because I will be one of the first to say that the guy made some truly disastrous choices throughout his long and storied tenure as a British politician. However: I also believe that, for all his faults, Churchill is one of the greatest Britons in history, and certainly had a flair for oratory which is so very, very rare today. It isn't an exaggeration Churchill is one of my favourite politicians: this is NOT a ringing endorsement of every decision he ever made or every policy he ever supported, because I will be one of the first to say that the guy made some truly disastrous choices throughout his long and storied tenure as a British politician. However: I also believe that, for all his faults, Churchill is one of the greatest Britons in history, and certainly had a flair for oratory which is so very, very rare today. It isn't an exaggeration to say that his speeches echoed through decades, and still do. For example: he was the one to coin the term the Iron Curtain (so says this bio!!). He is also the author of one of my very favourite political quotes: "If Hitler invaded Hell, I would at least make a favourable reference to the Devil in the House of Commons" (p.153). Iconic. He was a sassy gentleman, and despite some truly draconic ideas and beliefs, a wonderful statesman without whom the outcome of the Second World War would have been drastically different. Christopher Catherwood makes a good point several times in this book about previous biographies of Churchill: they are often extreme in nature, either propelling Churchill to the status of icon or completely trashing him. This book doesn't do that, a specific aim of the author and one that I'm thankful for because Churchill was neither an icon nor a disaster, he was human. He was a genius, he was depressed, he was a soldier, he was a political, he was an Imperialist and he was a commoner. I don't think we'll ever really see his like again, The bulldog of Britain was a man of many talents and many mistakes, and I truly recommend reading this biography (or any other that you can find that is either well-balanced, or so overtly extreme that you can balance your reading of it) to get an idea of who Churchill actually was and why he made some of the decisions that he did. Why he is both revered and despised.

  3. 5 out of 5

    Seth

    Winston Churchill is a man filled to the brim with courage and excitement. He has the willpower to never give up and keep fighting on even in the darkest of days. The book, His Finest Hour, by Christopher Catherwood is an exciting and compelling story about the “Bulldog of England” and his audacity in the most ferocious times the world has ever witnessed. Winston was known to be a slob, ferocious, brash, abrupt and the most important, courageous. His patriotism and tenacious will to succeed an Winston Churchill is a man filled to the brim with courage and excitement. He has the willpower to never give up and keep fighting on even in the darkest of days. The book, His Finest Hour, by Christopher Catherwood is an exciting and compelling story about the “Bulldog of England” and his audacity in the most ferocious times the world has ever witnessed. Winston was known to be a slob, ferocious, brash, abrupt and the most important, courageous. His patriotism and tenacious will to succeed and survive through the rise of the Third Reich was a wild attempt to slay the dark cloud of Nazism trying to cover the world with evil. Hitler has set Europe ablaze and is moving like a wildfire across western and eastern Europe. His attempts to conquer the world will be slowed down and almost put to a halt by a man that most would think unqualified for the job. Winston started as a statesman and worked his way up through the clanging chains of the House of Commons. He soon became the Prime Minister of Royal England in 1940-1945. He created his own underdog story by himself while everyone tried to exterminate him and his stereotypical slobbish persona from office. Winston was seen as unroyal and unprepared for the job ahead of him. His extraordinary vocabulary and eloquent way with words would soon gain the respect and honor from the old, stubborn men within the dark gloomy rooms of the House of Commons. The Book, His Finest Hour is for people that love to learn about the insides of the English and American governments. The pages are filled with monumental occurrences and history dating back to the early days of Churchill and his times during WWI. Christopher Catherwood’s book is a five out of five star writing and perhaps one of the greatest books anyone can ever read.

  4. 5 out of 5

    Edwin White Chacon

    A balanced biography on Churchill that highlights his strengths and weaknesses. By the end of the book you see him less as an icon and more of a human who was incredibly brilliant and at the same time deeply flawed.

  5. 5 out of 5

    Erin Russell

    Good read. Picked it up on my last trip to the UK (impulse buy). Glad I did though, he was a very inspiring and influential man. I appreciate this books realistic look at his faults as well. Alas, he was still just a man.

  6. 5 out of 5

    Allison

    A brief and balanced biography of the greatest Englishman, warts and all, in history.

  7. 5 out of 5

    Mike Zellers

    The author takes on a daunting task: create a short biography of Churchill, that is balanced - that recognizes his accomplishments without ignoring his faults. Overall, the author is very successful in his goal. The book is brief yet fairly thorough, and balanced. The only flaw I would say is that the author seems to assume the reader has a more vast knowledge of history than the typical reader of a popular, not academic, work might... Still, a quick google search here or there, or context clues The author takes on a daunting task: create a short biography of Churchill, that is balanced - that recognizes his accomplishments without ignoring his faults. Overall, the author is very successful in his goal. The book is brief yet fairly thorough, and balanced. The only flaw I would say is that the author seems to assume the reader has a more vast knowledge of history than the typical reader of a popular, not academic, work might... Still, a quick google search here or there, or context clues kept me from losing the plot.

  8. 4 out of 5

    Brooke

    Three sentence summary: Churchill was a very ambitious, many times admirable, often interfering and stubborn character. This book showed that he made many mistakes, just as he also made many choices which I'm dearly grateful for today. He wasn't perfect and he had some blinding errors of judgment like not supporting Indian independence, but I'm glad he was in England when he was anyway. And my thoughts: This was an enjoyable read. I did get a little bored in some of the more detail oriented pages Three sentence summary: Churchill was a very ambitious, many times admirable, often interfering and stubborn character. This book showed that he made many mistakes, just as he also made many choices which I'm dearly grateful for today. He wasn't perfect and he had some blinding errors of judgment like not supporting Indian independence, but I'm glad he was in England when he was anyway. And my thoughts: This was an enjoyable read. I did get a little bored in some of the more detail oriented pages talking about battle logistics and plans- but in general I'm not too interested in things like that, so I'm not sure I can fault the author. I think to write a book on someone you have to generally admire them quite a bit, and this author wasn't an exception. Although he claimed not to be biased, he did end the book with the assertion that Churchill was the best English man to have ever lived or something like that. But I still think he did a decent job giving a balanced view. I learnt a lot from this book and appreciate the author having written it. It was quite accessible. I particularly appreciated learning about just how much more casualties occurred in the Soviet Union in comparison to Britain and France. That's not to say British and French and American's etc sacrifice was any less, but it is good to know perspective accurately when you think about history- and accurately the fighting in Russia was a bloodbath above any other fighting in WW2.

  9. 5 out of 5

    Mir

    Winston Churchill indeed a great stateman for the British people in the entire history. A remarkable and astounding political career. The one who witnessed and participated in both wars as the victor, the one who become prime minister twice is not something a layman who achieved and attributed. The book is a brief to colourful and magnificent Churchill’s journey in this world that was written in easily to be understandable by reader. A middle approach and not Churchillian’s or finding faults of t Winston Churchill indeed a great stateman for the British people in the entire history. A remarkable and astounding political career. The one who witnessed and participated in both wars as the victor, the one who become prime minister twice is not something a layman who achieved and attributed. The book is a brief to colourful and magnificent Churchill’s journey in this world that was written in easily to be understandable by reader. A middle approach and not Churchillian’s or finding faults of the great leader. I think there is mistake at page 224 which stated as follows “Lyndon Baines Johnson, boycotted the funeral, theoretically because Churchill had not attended Roosevelt’s in 1965” US President Roosevelt died in 1945 and not in 1965. I hope the author can make the necessary correction.

  10. 5 out of 5

    Kristi

    Dissatisfied with this book as a whole. It is not a biography of Winston Churchill but more of a commentary on other biographers view of Winston Churchill and a commentary on the policies of Winston Churchill. It has very little to do with his personal life and everything to do with the political whirlwinds he found himself in. Call me American, but I could care less about what Lord Cuckooface of the House of Commons said of Winston during a 1941 4oclock Tea Time Blackout. I just really wanted to Dissatisfied with this book as a whole. It is not a biography of Winston Churchill but more of a commentary on other biographers view of Winston Churchill and a commentary on the policies of Winston Churchill. It has very little to do with his personal life and everything to do with the political whirlwinds he found himself in. Call me American, but I could care less about what Lord Cuckooface of the House of Commons said of Winston during a 1941 4oclock Tea Time Blackout. I just really wanted to know the mans personal life. I'll keep looking, and so should you if that's the type of biography your hoping to pick up. This is mostly policies, and balanced I think, but dry and the majority is what other biographers thought of Winston Churchill.

  11. 5 out of 5

    Blair Hodgkinson

    This is a brief biography of Winston Churchill, but I was impressed with how impartial it was, both praising him for being the right person in the right place at the right time with the right idea and pointing out his many faults. The book resists the opportunity to become an exercise in hero worship and so I learned about a lot of Churchill's failings. In spite of this, Churchill remains high in standing and his achievements and his failings make him more human and accessible. It does the reade This is a brief biography of Winston Churchill, but I was impressed with how impartial it was, both praising him for being the right person in the right place at the right time with the right idea and pointing out his many faults. The book resists the opportunity to become an exercise in hero worship and so I learned about a lot of Churchill's failings. In spite of this, Churchill remains high in standing and his achievements and his failings make him more human and accessible. It does the reader good to follow the study of an individual who made catastrophic mistakes but came back from them to do great and important things. Recommended for anyone in the market for an introduction to Churchill.

  12. 5 out of 5

    Atiqah Ghazali

    One of the greatest Englishman of all time... From his episodes of Black Dog when he was in school to his early years in politic, to his fall and then his wilderness, this book summarized the political side of Churchill. As much as I enjoy reading this book, please also know that this is one of the 'popular' book on Churchill. It couldn't cover every aspect and facts. It is still a good book to start, despite warts and all. Will find more books on him. One of the greatest Englishman of all time... From his episodes of Black Dog when he was in school to his early years in politic, to his fall and then his wilderness, this book summarized the political side of Churchill. As much as I enjoy reading this book, please also know that this is one of the 'popular' book on Churchill. It couldn't cover every aspect and facts. It is still a good book to start, despite warts and all. Will find more books on him.

  13. 4 out of 5

    Abdullah Baheer

    Wonderfully balanced take on the iconic figure of Winston Churchill. I enjoyed the journey throughout the decades long political life of, as the author puts it, "the greatest Englishmen in history". Most amazing was the human shortcomings coupled with the genius that was Churchill. Wonderfully balanced take on the iconic figure of Winston Churchill. I enjoyed the journey throughout the decades long political life of, as the author puts it, "the greatest Englishmen in history". Most amazing was the human shortcomings coupled with the genius that was Churchill.

  14. 4 out of 5

    Paul Allan

    Liked it. Good review of Churchill's time as British PM, focusing primarily on the war years. Liked it. Good review of Churchill's time as British PM, focusing primarily on the war years.

  15. 4 out of 5

    Jeffrey

    Fantastic. Just what I needed this summer.

  16. 5 out of 5

    Jason Corea

    As a biography I've definitely read better. But succeeds in painting an accurate picture of the legend, 'warts and all's. I would give it a 2.5 :) As a biography I've definitely read better. But succeeds in painting an accurate picture of the legend, 'warts and all's. I would give it a 2.5 :)

  17. 4 out of 5

    Andrew Foley

    An interesting approach to Churchill, but the organization of the book is a bit haphazard: the flow of the biography is obscured by the author's chosen method of framing the work in such a way as to communicate a novel interpretation of Churchill's character and decision-making. While this perspective is compelling, it could have likely been communicated in a way that didn't repeatedly require the reader to jump forward or backward multiple decades at a time in order to appreciate it. An interesting approach to Churchill, but the organization of the book is a bit haphazard: the flow of the biography is obscured by the author's chosen method of framing the work in such a way as to communicate a novel interpretation of Churchill's character and decision-making. While this perspective is compelling, it could have likely been communicated in a way that didn't repeatedly require the reader to jump forward or backward multiple decades at a time in order to appreciate it.

  18. 5 out of 5

    John Nash

    Well written biography that focuses mainly on the political choices of Churchill. Not much of his personal life is discussed but this is understandable as he was iconic for his contribution to parliament. A good read that gives a balanced view of this choice bloke

  19. 5 out of 5

    Linda Edwards

    A brief history of Sir Winston Churchill and World War 11. I enjoyed reading about Churchill and the politics of the war.

  20. 5 out of 5

    Roberta Rizzo

    great book! a good concise history coming from someone who never had history - can get a bit technical at times!

  21. 5 out of 5

    Alyssa Marie

    Great, short overview of Churchill's life. If you want to gain a general knowledge of the man, this book is for you. Great, short overview of Churchill's life. If you want to gain a general knowledge of the man, this book is for you.

  22. 5 out of 5

    Mathew Campbell

  23. 4 out of 5

    Thomas Brooke

  24. 4 out of 5

    Nick

    As the author himself confessed, this is not a thoroughly researched academic paper; but rather a "popular work". Many times throughout it, the author forgets his focus and loses himself into foreign (to the topic) issues. This is allowable, since this was a popular work, lacking the rigorous effort - yet still, it left me with a taste of incomplete satisfaction. I found this book very summary, its input simplified to the point of becoming irrelevant. I wonder if it was written more for serving As the author himself confessed, this is not a thoroughly researched academic paper; but rather a "popular work". Many times throughout it, the author forgets his focus and loses himself into foreign (to the topic) issues. This is allowable, since this was a popular work, lacking the rigorous effort - yet still, it left me with a taste of incomplete satisfaction. I found this book very summary, its input simplified to the point of becoming irrelevant. I wonder if it was written more for serving as an excuse to have the "Acknowledgements" promoted into the public eye (the author is integral party to the famous animal that is called THE ACADEMIA, seeking support and awarding lavish praise accordingly).

  25. 5 out of 5

    NauticaMNAutica

  26. 5 out of 5

    Kyosti Toivola

  27. 4 out of 5

    Everett

  28. 4 out of 5

    Heinrich Käsner

  29. 4 out of 5

    David Nimart

  30. 5 out of 5

    Nikita

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