In Command of History: Churchill Fighting and Writing The Second World War by David Reynolds - review by Richard Overy

Richard Overy

How I Won

In Command of History: Churchill Fighting and Writing The Second World War

By

Allen Lane The Penguin Press 746pp £30 order from our bookshop
 

In 1950, reviewing the third of Winston Churchill's six volumes on the Second World War, Michael Foot perceptively noted his 'carefulness as an autobiographer' and his 'carelessness as an historian'. This is in essence the text of David Reynolds's fascinating and equally perceptive account of how Churchill came to write what did amount to the story of 'Churchill's war'. Economical with the truth, eloquently silent on so many things, Churchill manufactured a legend which fifty years of subsequent scholarship has scarcely diminished.

Yet the famous six volumes might never have appeared. Reynolds begins his story with a blow-by-blow account of Churchill's literary and financial position in the 1930s and during the war. For anyone who might think the details of book deals, agents and royalty advances a yawn (authors, of course, will

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