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Five Days in London


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About the Author

John Lukacs is the author of numerous books, among them The Hitler of History, The End of the Twentieth Century and the End of the Modern Age (which was nominated for the Pulitzer Prize), The Last European War, The Duel, and A Thread of Years (0 300 08075 1, pb. 12.95), the last three of which have been published by Yale University Press.


"A brilliant, heavyweight little book... This is a modern history that refuses easy answers: its skillful concision cuts painfully to the bone and spills real blood on the carpets of Whitehall and Westminster." The Times "This gem of a book, the distillation of an important historian's life work, is a compelling antidote for those afflicted with historical amnesia." Kai Bird, Washington Post "A fascinating work of historical reconstruction... Lukacs gives us much to ponder in this intriguing - and perhaps still controversial - story." Stanley Weintraub, Wall Street Journal "[This book] has the power and sweep of Shakespeare's chronicle plays." Robert Taylor, Boston Globe "Superb... at once a provocative work of history and a marvelous historical entertainment, one that can be compared to such classics as Hugh Trevor-Roper's The Last Days of Hitler and Barbara Tuchman's The Guns of August." Michael Korda, Harper's Magazine

Eminent historian Lukacs (Thread of Years, etc.) delivers the crown jewel to his long and distinguished career with this account of five daysÄMay 24-28, 1940Ä"that could have changed the world." Lukacs posits that it was during those five days in London "that Western civilization, not to mention the Allied cause in WWII, was saved from Hitler's tyranny." A grand view, to be sure, but the consequences are not in dispute: "Had Britain stopped fighting in May 1940, Hitler would have won his war," writes Lukacs. "Thus he was never closer to victory than during those five days in May 1940." A quarter-million British troops were trapped by the Germans at Dunkirk. The British public, ill-informed about this reality, remained apathetic, and the War Cabinet was divided over what action to take. Neither the United States nor the Soviet Union had yet entered the war, but Churchill resolved to fight "till Hitler is beat or we cease to be a state." Lukacs draws heavily on newspapers and public opinion research of the time to re-create the rapid series of events that turned the tide, swaying both the citizenry and the War Cabinet to rally behind Churchill. Though Churchill did not win the war in May 1940, as Lukacs puts it, he "did not lose it" then. Lukacs covered some of the same turf in The Duel, yet this new work focuses on these five days with a microscopic view. It is the work of a man who lives and breathes history, whose knowledge is limitless and tuned to a pitch that rings true. (Oct.) Copyright 1999 Cahners Business Information.

By May 1940, just one year into World War II, Great Britain stood virtually alone against Hitler and the unstoppable German Army. Belgium and France were only days away from capitulation, and the British Expeditionary Force was being squeezed into the beachhead at Dunkirk. Things were not going at all well for Britain, and Churchill and his War Cabinet had some tough decisions to make. Lukacs, a history professor and prolific author (The Hitler of History) examines the dynamics of the five days, May 24-28, 1940, when Churchill and his War Cabinet actually debated whether to negotiate peace with Hitler. This scholarly study reveals the drama, uncertainty, suspense, and courage of the men who would ultimately decide the fate of Britain. This is a marvelous example of the complex, behind-the-scenes diplomatic wrangling involved in seeking a national advantage in the deadly game of strategic move and countermove. Recommended for public and academic libraries.ÄWilliam D. Bushnell, USMC (ret.), Brunswick, ME Copyright 1999 Cahners Business Information.

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