Winston Churchill: The Years of Preparation

Winston Churchill: The Years of Preparation

Winston Churchill: The Years of Preparation

Winston Churchill: The Years of Preparation

Excerpt

First, I should express my appreciation to my American publishers who have made it possible for me to carry out this final revision of my biography of Sir Winston Churchill. For long enough it had been clear that drastic revision would be necessary, but I was unable to undertake what I knew must be a considerable task. It has proved to entail not the revision but the rewriting of a great part of the book.

I now complete a biography which has engaged me, on and off, for twenty-five years. It was in the early thirties that I began first to accumulate the material. In an abbreviated form, the book appeared early in World War II as one of a series concerning Britain's leaders. As a full-length biography it was published in 1941, bringing the record of events up to the meeting with President Roosevelt and the signing of the Atlantic Charter. It was republished in 1946, carrying the story to Sir Winston's fall from power; three further chapters were added in 1951; a further extension in 1952 enabled me, with satisfaction, to restore him to his place in Downin Street. In 1956 appeared the edition marking the close of the long public career.

Publication by installments of the biography of a still living statesman has its drawbacks. With the appearance of each edition, its predecessors become progressively out of date. The accumulation of knowledge about Sir Winston and the war, the disclosures of official papers, and the abundance of memoirs have produced a wealth of material embarrassing to a biographer in its copiousness. Matters that fifteen years ago could only be deduced are now established. Facts not to be guessed at have become known. The part played by Sir Winston at the various crises of the war has been . . .

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