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Closing the Ring
Patriotic as Churchill was, he managed to maintain a balanced impartiality in his description of the war. What is perhaps most interesting, and what lends the work its tension and emotion, is Churchill´s inclusion of a significant amount of primary material. We hear his retrospective analysis of the war, to be sure, but we are also presented with memos, letters, orders, speeches, and telegrams that give a day-by-day account of the reactions - both mistaken and justified - to the unfolding drama. Strategies and counterstrategies develop to respond to Hitler´s ruthless conquest of Europe, his planned invasion of England, and his treacherous assault on Russia. It is a mesmerizing account of the crucial decisions that have to be made with imperfect knowledge and an awareness that the fate of the world hangs in the balance.
Volume Five, Closing the Ring, shows the Allied forces going on the offensive. Mussolini falls, Hitler is besieged on three sides, and the Japanese find themselves hard-pressed to maintain a grip on the territories they had recently overtaken. The work ends in triumph and anticipation as the Allies take Rome and prepare for the invasion of Normandy. As victory comes into sight, coordination and agreement between the three powers becomes crucial, both in terms of the endgame strategy for the war and the plans for peace. Stalin, Churchill, and Roosevelt work towards keeping their uneasy partnership working in concert, and much of this volume is dedicated to describing their intricate and fascinating negotiations.
Churchill won the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1953 due in no small part to this awe-inspiring work.