Ministers at War

Ministers at War

Winston Churchill and His War Cabinet

Book - 2014
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Baker & Taylor
Explores how Winston Churchill was able to defeat Hitler with the help of a team of powerful ministers who managed the war effort while he rallied a beleaguered nation.

Perseus Publishing
In May 1940, with France on the verge of defeat, Britain alone stood in the path of the Nazi military juggernaut. Survival seemed to hinge on the leadership of Winston Churchill, whom the King reluctantly appointed Prime Minister as Germany invaded France. Churchill's reputation as one of the great twentieth-century leaders would be forged during the coming months and years, as he worked tirelessly first to rally his country and then to defeat Hitler. But Churchill—regarded as the savior of his nation, and of the entire continent—could not have done it alone.

As prize-winning historian Jonathan Schneer reveals in Ministers at War, Churchill depended on a team of powerful ministers to manage the war effort as he rallied a beleaguered nation. Selecting men from across the political spectrum—from fellow Conservative Anthony Eden to leader of the opposing socialist Labor Party Clement Attlee—Churchill assembled a War Cabinet that balanced competing interests and bolstered support for his national coalition government. The group possessed a potent blend of talent, ambition, and egotism. Led and encouraged by Churchill, the ministers largely set aside their differences, at least at first. As the war progressed, discord began to grow. It reached a peak in 1945: with victory seemingly assured, Churchill was forced by his Minsters at War to dissolve the Government and call a General Election, which, in a shocking upset, he lost to his rival Attlee.

Authoritatively recasting our understanding of British high politics during World War II, Schneer shows that Churchill managed the war effort by managing his team of supremely able yet contentious cabinet members. The outcome of the war lay not only in Churchill's individual brilliance but also in his skill as an executive, and in the collective ability of men who muted their personal interests to save the world from barbarism.

Book News
Schneer presents students, academics, researchers, and general-interest readers with his alternative interpretation of British high politics during World War II, arguing that Winston Churchill managed the war effort by managing a cabinet full of capable ministers who were often at odds over the best course of action. The author has organized the thirteen chapters that make up the main body of his text in three parts devoted to the making of the war cabinet, Churchill and his ministers at war, and sundering the war cabinet. Jonathan Schneer is a faculty member of Georgia Tech. Annotation ©2015 Ringgold, Inc., Portland, OR (

& Taylor

A prize-winning historian brilliantly explores how Winston Churchill was able to defeat Hitler with the help of a team of powerful ministers who managed the war effort while he rallied a beleaguered nation, which earned him the reputation of one of the great 20th-century leaders.

Publisher: New York :, Basic Books,, 2014
ISBN: 9780465027910
Characteristics: 323 pages


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Oct 04, 2015

Overly detailed for my taste - clunky and slow development of main stories or characters studied. I had hoped for definitive picture of the main players and evidence of their interplay - but the tedium and obsession with hour-by-hour detail make it read like a time-study in a factory. Missed opportunity and only for folks who revel in very close up minutiae. Half way through, it seems apparent that author wishes to portray Churchill as dithering, cautious, reluctant to bark and demand power - possibly the first study to come to that conclusion. Hard to accept some 65 years into his life story became an industry for publishers.

Sep 07, 2015

A very interesting read, provides great insight in the working of the was cabinet.

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