Monday, July 13, 2009

Their Finest Hour - my response

I'm basically done with this book. At least, as done as I'm going to be. I skimmed the last few chapters but I've got other books I've got to get to.

It was an interesting read. I left my notes on it upstairs and I'm too lazy to go get them. I didn't take many notes because I mostly read while I'm nursing and lately nursing has been a two-handed affair. I think my favorite story was the one Churchill told about his idea to create an insurance company for those affected by the bombing. I loved his description that at first the treasury thought it was a waste, until it started making money and then they felt very statesman-like. Made me laugh.

I love the title of the book. I have always been partial to WWII in my history studies. However, most of what I've read in the past has been decidedly American-centric. I felt this book gave me a great appreciation for the British people and the circumstances they experienced. I enjoyed Churchill's obvious and well-deserved pride in his countrymen.

I also found it interesting to read about American politics from another perspective. Churchill's letters to Roosevelt where he called himself "former naval person" made me chuckle every time.

It fascinates me that the choices of one individual can have so much impact on the world-stage. Churchill did a good job balancing the general movement of the war with the specific actions of individuals in order to create a picture of the influences behind every decision. One example is that of a few in the French government who really set the course for France's capitulation to Germany. I've always considered Churchill to be a true statesman. Maybe without meaning to, he manages to show the difference between true statesmanship (himself and others), and a lack (France's Petain).

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