Readership: All those interested in the life of Winston Churchill, Britain's role in the First and Second World Wars, and British international and military history in the twentieth century.
Christopher M. Bell, Associate Professor, Dalhousie University
Christopher M. Bell is Associate Professor of History at Dalhousie University in Halifax, Nova Scotia. He is the author of The Royal Navy, Seapower and Strategy between the Wars (2000) and co-editor of Naval Mutinies of the Twentieth Century: An International Perspective (2003).
"The author of an outstanding first book on the Royal Navy between the world wars, Christopher M. Bell carefully examines Churchill's lengthy naval career in this superb new volume... Bell's detailed exegesis intends "not to absolve him of blame, but to understand his motives, assess the extent of his responsibility, and evaluate the soundness of the charges" against him. In this task the author succeeds admirably." - J. Garry Clifford, H-Net
"Ranging over events covering nearly half a century, this is an important addition to the already vast literature on Churchill as a military leader. Bell's volume rewards close reading. His final summation is measured and warranted." - Christopher H. Sterling, Finest
"Bell's volume is a far-ranging, elegantly written and insightful analysis of Churchill's interest in seapower across the five decades that he was a major public figure. Perhaps surprisingly, Christopher Bell's reappraisal of Churchill demonstrates that detailed scrutiny even of the most famous of personalities can still pay major dividends." - Matthew Seligmann, Journal of Strategic Studies
"Bell's findings are based on extensive scholarly research: the Ten Year Rule episode, for instance, which reveals Churchill's peripheral role in the decision-making, is supported by numerous primary and secondary sources." - Military History Monthly
"This is a powerful and original case for the defence, based on extracting
Churchill from the myth-history and putting him back into a realistic account of his times... Overall this is a cogent and important study based on a great deal of research." - N. A. M. Rodger, The Journal of Military History
"Even Churchill's greatest critics will have to make some revisions of their opinions after reading this important book." - Eric Grove, author of The Royal Navy Since 1915
"A very well argued defence of Winston Churchill against those who rebelled against his immense post-World War II prestige ... it is authoritative and rigorous, and a good read for naval history buffs." - Conrad Black, Standpoint
"What makes this book so readable and rewarding is its taut, paced development of
Churchill as thinker, politician and Whitehall servant-we see his strategic world-view developing and we read his remarkably incisive, beautifully wrought appreciations of strategic dilemmas and problems. He was a vivid writer and clear thinker, and Bell has done the profession (and Churchill fans everywhere) a great service with this captivating text." - Geoffrey Wawro, History Book Club
Introduction: Sea Power in the Age of Churchill
1: Apprenticeship: 1901-1914
2: Learning Curve: The First World War
3: Adjusting to the Post-war World, 1919-24
4: The Treasury Years: The Ten Year rule, the Japanese 'Bogey', and the 'Yankee Menace'
5: Disarmament, Rearmament, and the Path to War: The 1930s
6: First Lord of the Admiralty, 1939-1940: The Phoney War and the Norwegian Campaign
7: The War against Germany and Italy, 1940-1941
8: Courting Disaster: The Deterrence of Japan and the Dispatch of Force Z
9: The Battle of the Atlantic, the Imports Crisis, and the Closing of the 'Air Gap'
10: The Defeat of Nazi Germany and Imperial Japan
11: Churchill's Last Naval Battle
Epilogue: The Verdict of History