Harper, £9.99 (664pp) £9.49 from the Independent Bookshop: 08430 600 030
Finest Hours, By Max Hastings
Friday 01 October 2010
Churchill during the war must be the most thoroughly ploughed field in British biography, but the incomparable Max has achieved a near-miracle. His account of the great warlord is excitingly told and, as Andrew Roberts has pointed out, endowed with "fresh stories".
It is a portrait in the round of a man who "thrilled to the cannon's roar", yet was deeply moved by the cost. With forensic skill, Hastings exposes Churchill's defects: "dictatorial, eloquent and muddle-headed," according to Leo Amery.
We learn of the "second Dunkirk" in 1940 when Churchill would have condemned 200,000 men of the British Expeditionary Force to "death or captivity" were it not for Alan Brooke's insistence on retreat. Yet Churchill took the right decision. This is a terrific portrait of a flawed giant.
ReviewThese heroes in a half shell should have been left in hibernation
Sek, k'athjilari! (That’s “yes, definitely” to non-native speakers).TV
Arts & Ents blogs
- 1 Jack the Ripper: Scientist who claims to have identified notorious killer has 'made serious DNA error'
- 2 Banksy arrest hoax: Internet duped by fake report claiming street artist's identity has been revealed
- 3 Drink alcohol and eat meat to improve male fertility - but cut down on coffee, studies suggest
- 4 Former East 17 frontman Brian Harvey turns up at Downing Street and 'demands to speak to Prime Minister'
- 5 The inventor of the Facebook 'like' button says he never made a 'dislike' button because he feared the 'unfortunate consequences'
Doctor Who, Flatline - review: Clara isn’t half bad as the Time Lord
Downton Abbey review series 5, episode 5: Period drama falls disappointingly flat
Star Wars memorabilia called a 'bit of plastic' on Antiques Roadshow by Fiona Bruce valued at £50,000
Fury, film review: Brad Pitt is intriguing as unsympathetic war hero
Star Wars Episode 7 has almost finished filming
Cameron is warned 'no possibility' of UK reducing immigration and that bid to bring in quota on migrant workers would be illegal
Residents should throw a street party and mix with immigrant neighbours, councils told
Russell Brand threatened with arrest after filming outside Fox News headquarters
London bus driver 'kicks gay couple off for kissing'
Lord Freud: Tory welfare minister apologises after saying disabled people are 'not worth’ the minimum wage
Lord Freud hangs on as MPs of all parties 'call for his head' over disability comments