Churchill's Phoney War

A Study in Folly and Frustration

  • Format:
    Hardcover
  • Pages:
    360
    pages
  • Illustrations:
    Given the dearth of scholarship on the Phoney War, this book examines the early months of World War II when Winston Churchill’s ability to lead Britain in the fight against the Nazis was being tested.
  • Published:
    October 15, 2019
  • ISBN-10:
    1682472795
  • ISBN-13:
    9781682472798
  • Product Dimensions:
    9 × 6 × 1 in
  • Product Weight:
    25 oz
Hardcover $44.95
Member Price $35.96 Save 20%
Book: Cover Type

Overview

Given the dearth of scholarship on the Phoney War, this book examines the early months of World War II when Winston Churchill’s ability to lead Britain in the fight against the Nazis was being tested.

Graham T. Clews explores how Churchill, as First Lord of the Admiralty, proposed to fight this new world war, with particular attention given to his attempts to impel the Royal Navy, the British War Cabinet, and the French, toward a more aggressive prosecution of the conflict. This is no mere retelling of events but a deep analysis of the decision-making process and Churchill’s unique involvement in it. This book shares extensive new insights into well-trodden territory and original analysis of the unexplored, with each chapter offering material which challenges conventional wisdom. Clews reassesses several important issues of the Phoney War period including: Churchill’s involvement in the anti-U-boat campaign; his responsibility for the failures of the Norwegian Campaign; his attitude to Britain’s aerial bombing campaign and the notion of his unfettered “bulldog” spirit; his relationship with Neville Chamberlain; and his succession to the premiership.

A man of considerable strengths and many shortcomings, the Churchill that emerges in Clews’ portrayal is dynamic and complicated. Churchill’s Phoney War adds a well-balanced and much-needed history of the Phoney War while scrupulously examining Churchill’s successes and failures.

About the Author

Editorial Reviews

“This is a meticulously researched and important new look at the early months of the Second World War in Europe and Winston Churchill's part in British decision making. The record is set straight and much new light shed on the positive relationship of Churchill and Prime Minister Chamberlain and the true dynamics of the First Lord's  rise to the premiership.” –Professor Eric Grove, Visiting Fellow, International Institute for Strategic Studies
“An important account of a crucial period in world history.” —Jeremy Black is author of Rethinking World War Two  
“This is an excellent book that significantly advances our understanding of Winston Churchill as a naval strategist and the role he played in British planning at the start of the Second World War. Through a forensic examination of official documents and correspondence, Graham Clews overturns existing orthodoxies about Churchill’s performance at the Admiralty in 1939-40. A genuinely novel and impressive book, Churchill’s Phoney War should be read not just by those with an interest in Churchill and the Second World War at sea, but also by anyone who wants to learn more about the complex business of how strategy is formulated and implemented - and how strategic choices and high politics intersect with decisive effect.” —Daniel Todman, Professor of Modern History, Queen Mary University of London, Britain's War: Into Battle, 1937-1941
Churchill’s Phony War is a fresh look at the period between the seizure of Poland and the full out assault on the rest of Europe. It provides a significant update from original sources concerning the inside baseball of the British government, notably the War Cabinet, with regard to the period of the Phony War. As such, it provides a significant contribution to understand the Churchill-Chamberlin transition. It also provides insights into the challenges facing liberal democracies in dealing with aggressive authoritarian regimes generating a crisis.” —Defense.info
“In a truly interesting and well-written book…. A man of considerable strengths and many shortcomings, the Churchill that emerges in Dr. Clews’ portrayal is dynamic and has a complicated personality. Churchill’s Phoney War adds a well-balanced and much-needed history of the Phoney War while scrupulously examining both Churchill’s successes and his manifold failures.” —New Books Network
“Clews reveals how Churchill’s “Phoney War” weaknesses, his energy and constant desire to do something, his stubborn loyalty and unwillingness to quit, became strengths while prime minister.” —The Daily News
“The author ... describes well the important relationships and decision-making processes of the period. He is particularly good on the often poorly described relationship between Churchill and Neville Chamberlain, the Prime Minister he finally replaced in May 1940. A fascinating period brilliantly described.” —Baird Maritime
Churchill’s Phoney War is an essential read for anyone with an interest in the war or national leadership in wartime.” —StrategyPage
“Clews offers an innovative investigation of old material that is neither hagiographic nor polemic. His book is an objective reinterpretation of the events and motivations that brought Churchill to power.... Clews’s book is a useful contribution to World War II scholarship.” —The Churchill Project
“Clew’s lays out clearly in the book’s introduction a chapter-by-chapter outline of what he intends to achieve. Certainly, the book is well-researched, with appropriate photos, maps, an up-to-date bibliography, a thorough index, and helpful footnotes.” —The Finest Hour
“Graham T. Clews’ Churchill’s Phoney War: A Study in Folly and Frustration is a welcome addition ... continuing to fill holes in the larger examination of Churchill’s wartime leadership.” —The Strategy Bridge
Churchill’s Phoney War must be a standard work of reference for Churchill scholars and, more generally, a study of historical leadership successes and failures. It adds yet another chapter to the life of this fascinating, ruthless and infuriating man.” —Australian Naval Institute
Churchill’s Phoney War is a detailed academic study…. An important, balanced, and much needed comprehensive study of Churchill as First Lord of the Admiralty.” —A Blog on Winston Churchill

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