Churchill Warrior

How a Military Life Guided Winston's Finest Hours

Brian Lavery

Biography of Sir Winston Churchill, looking at how his military background and experience of command shaped his ability to play a key role in achieving victory in WWII.
Date Published :
September 2017
Publisher :
Illustration :
16 pages of b/w photos
Format Available    QuantityPrice
Binding. : Hardback
ISBN : 9781910860229
Pages : 448
Dimensions : 9 X 6 inches
Stock Status : In stock
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On a typical day during the Second World War, Winston Churchill, as Prime Minister and Minister of Defense, issued numerous memos to the ministers and service commanders on different subjects, on both the grand strategy and the detail of the war effort. It was not just his work rate and his self-confidence which allowed him to do this. He had a unique and intimate inside knowledge of all three services which allowed him to assess their real needs – a crucial task when money, material resources, and especially manpower, were reaching their limits. No defense minister in modern times has faced such severe problems. No-one else has ever been able to balance the needs of the services in such a way – most of them came from outside with little service experience, while for those trained inside one service, it is almost impossible to gain inside knowledge at a lower level without a bias in favor of one service or another. But Churchill’s knowledge of the three services was almost perfectly balanced by his experiences since he first joined the army in 1896. He made his share of mistakes as a war leader, but this unique balance served him, his cause and his country well.

Churchill Warrior looks at how Churchill gained his unique insight into war strategy and administration, and the effect this had on his thinking and leadership. Each period (before, during and after the First World War, and in the Second World War) is divided into four parts – land, sea and air warfare, and combined operations. The conclusion deals with the effect of these experiences on his wartime leadership.

Written in Brian Lavery’s acclaimed, insightful and anecdotal style, a grand narrative unfolds starting with the Marlborough toy soldiers and the army class at Eton, which then leads us through those early military and journalistic experiences, the fascinating trials and lessons of the First World War, the criticism and tenacity culminating in the ultimate triumph of the key events in the Second. It explores how some of Churchill’s earliest innovations were to bear fruit decades later, how his uncompromising, but uniquely informed, hands-on approach, and his absolute belief in combined forces in Normandy, led to a systemic victory against the odds.

About The Author

Brian Lavery is one of Britain’s leading naval historians and a prolific author. A Curator Emeritus at the National Maritime Museum, Greenwich, and a renowned expert on the sailing navy and the Royal Navy, in 2007 he won the prestigious Desmond Wettern Maritime Media Award. His naval writing was further honoured in 2008 with the Society of Nautical Research’s Anderson Medal. His recent titles include Ship (2006), Royal Tars (2010), Conquest of the Ocean (2013), In Which They Served (2008), Churchill’s Navy (2006), and the Sunday Times bestseller Empire of the Seas (2010). Brian lives in London.


Part I Preparing for War
1 Becoming a Soldier
2 Wars and Words
3 South African Springboard
4 Ruling the Navy
5 Strategy and Tactics
6 Churchill at Work
7 Personnel
8 Matériel
9 The Naval Air Service
10 The Aircraft

Part II The Fortunes of War
11 The North Sea War
12 Antwerp
13 Defence and Attack in the Air
14 Armoured Car and Tank
15 The Underwater War
16 The Rest of the World
17 Plans for Attack
18 Work and Conflict
19 Forcing the Straits
20 Landing and Withdrawal
21 In the Trenches
22 The Ministry of Munitions

Part III Peace and War
23 The Old Army and the New
24 Saving the Air Force
25 A Role for the RAF
26 The World Crisis
27 An Iron Chancellor
28 Marlborough
29 The Study of Air Power
30 The Drift to War
31 Winston is Back
32 The Navy at War

Part IV Finest Hour and After
33 Finest Hour
34 War Leader
35 War on Land
36 War at Sea
37 Air Power in Operation
38 Air Support
39 Combined Operations



“Lavery does a nice job of tracing Churchill’s ideas, suggestions, and strategies during World War II to his earlier military experiences.”

- New York Journal of Books

“…what Lavery does best is track Britain’s military development through the half-century prior to World War II, a process that often centered on Churchill… Lavery gives life to the arguments and compromises behind some of the most consequential military decisions of the last century, folding together crisp narration with quotes from British leaders.”

- Paul X. Rutz, HistoryNet

“How the knowledge that Churchill had accumulated shaped his perceptions and actions during the Second World War is a subject very much worth examining.”

- International Churchill Society

“Lavery's account of the coming of World War II and his analysis of how Churchill's military experience played out in his management of the British war effort are truly exceptional.”

- Booklist

“Exhaustively researched, impressively informative, exceptionally well written, organized and presented, "Churchill Warrior" is an outstanding contribution to the growing library of World War II literature.”

- Midwest Book Review, January 2018

“…very readable… [Churchill] also applied many lessons of the first war to help win the second. Indeed, that key point is too often forgotten or glossed over: Churchill was just about the only leader who occupied senior positions in both wars and was thus in a position after mid-1940 to apply all that he’d seen, done, and written about. We can all be grateful that he did.”

- The Churchill Project

“The new work affords a thorough analysis and history of Winston Churchill the soldier and how he applied it to lead Great Britain to victory in World War II… The result is a fascinating look at one of history’s greatest wartime leaders through a new lens.”

- Military Heritage, March 2018

“The tension between Churchill and Fisher creates a backdrop by which Lavery demonstrates the motivation for a unified combining of forces after Churchill takes the helm as prime minister. To his credit, Lavery shows us the collage of personalities engaged in the multiple frictions of the military conflicts and how these characters sway a critical decision toward success or failure.”

- Manhattan Book Review

“Sir Winston Churchill's admirers are currently spoiled for choice...Churchill Warrior's author, Brian Lavery, is one of Britain's leading – and most readable - military and naval historians...5 stars.”

- Army Rumour Service

“An excellent book for anyone interested in the problem of leadership in wartime.”

- The NYMAS Review, Winter 2018

“…this well-written book is a good first read for those new to the subject. Summing Up: Recommended. Public libraries and lower-division undergraduates only.”

- Choice

“The book’s great strength is its clever intertwining of the existing secondary literature with a host of archival sources...this is an excellent addition to a crowded field, that provides much-needed analysis to an aspect of Churchill’s leadership often taken for granted.”

- Humanities and Social Sciences Online

“Brian Lavery provides a good recounting of the prime minister’s military experiences”

- Brad Tolppanen, A Blog on Winston Churchill

Churchill Warrior is an excellent book for anyone interested the Second World War, and in the problem of leadership in wartime.”

- StrategyPage

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