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Churchill and The King    by Kenneth Weisbrode order for
Churchill and The King
by Kenneth Weisbrode
Order:  USA  Can
Viking, 2013 (2013)
Hardcover, e-Book
* * *   Reviewed by Bob Walch

One would imagine that just about every aspect of Winston Churchill's life has been explored by now, but British historian Kenneth Weisbrode has asked, 'What do we really know about the prime minister's relationship with the royal family during the war years?'

In Churchill and the King: The Wartime Alliance of Winston Churchill and George VI, Weisbrode provides an answer as he explores this relationship between two men, who under different circumstances, may not have really hit it off at all.

They had very different views on politics and their personalities were poles apart, yet the survival of their country demanded that these two men somehow find a way to work together. And, over time, a real friendship evolved as both individuals developed a rather remarkable working relationship.

Four years into George's reign, Churchill became Prime Minister and with war looming on the horizon, both men had to adjust to their new found power. Reserved and quite cautious, the new king was the antithesis of his prime minister who doted on the public's attention and had a volatile temper.

Perhaps proving the validity of that old cliché that opposites attract, Churchill and King George actually managed to find common ground and form a fairly successful working relationship that ultimately got the country through the war.

Weisbrode shows that curious similarities in childhoods, early military service, and sustaining marriages provide some of that commonality that helped these two men understand one another. Also, the author's contention that he sets forth in this book is that neither of these two men could have been so successful without the other.

'Churchill had come to power after a long and complicated political career; many people mistrusted him. He was an embittered man facing a losing war. The king came up unprepared, unconfident, and perhaps unwilling to rule. On the face of it, the two would appear to have inspired little hope, but history suggests otherwise,' writes Weisbrode.

'Churchill could not have been the leader he was without having had so strong a working relationship with his monarch. The king – and more to the point, the monarchy and the British nation – could not have endured the war without it.'

At just under 200 pages, this little book focuses on a specific time in history and sets the record straight on how these two individuals worked to make sure their homeland survived the crushing onslaught of Nazi Germany. It is a fast but very enlightening read and one those individuals interested in British history and World War II should enjoy immensely.

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