The Second World War

by Winston Churchill

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Last Updated September 5, 2023.

Winston Churchill achieved enormous political success in his lifetime and remains a larger-than-life figure primarily remembered for his stirring leadership as prime minister of Britain during the immensely challenging years of World War II, as well as for his significant guidance in helping to form the war strategies of the Allies. However, Churchill was also a prolific and award-winning author with a special interest in writing about the history of his country.

The Second World War is a monumental work in six volumes, published between the years 1948 and 1953. The following are the titles of the six volumes: "The Gathering Storm," "Their Finest Hour," "The Grand Alliance," "The Hinge of Fate," "Closing the Ring," and "Triumph and Tragedy."

The Times Literary Supplement, quoted on the dust jacket, published the following glowing review of the series:

The Second World War dwarfs in scale the scanty memoirs of the great figures of the past. The imagination boggles at the task of finding just comparison.

Churchill did not work alone, however, on this acclaimed series. He enlisted the help of a group of research assistants over a number of years and used his special networks within the government to access a wide breadth of information. Churchill could not, though, share the classified military information that played an important part in the history and outcome of World War II. There were some details that were only declassified much later.

Churchill was a man of strong opinions, and Cabinet Secretary Sir Norman Brook played an important role in rewriting some portions of this work so that it would not cause offense to the United States. Churchill had a great deal of help from very knowledgeable people in the creation of this work.

The Second World War focuses on Britain's role in the war, but the series enjoyed much popularity and success not only in the United Kingdom but also in the United States. The publication of The Second World War brought Churchill significant financial rewards. It remains, to this day, a highly respected record of the major turning point of the twentieth century, written from the perspective of an individual with great personal involvement in the events that shaped this era.

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