Churchill Defiant: Fighting On: 1945-1955 (Hardcover)

Fighting On: 1945-1955

By Barbara Leaming

Harper, 9780061337581, 368pp.

Publication Date: October 1, 2010



Winston Churchill rages against time and his own mortality in this tumultuous political drama of his last ten years of public life. Here is Churchill at his most outrageous, maddening, and devious—but also at his most human, courageous, and defiant.

"I am an obstinate pig." This was how Winston Churchill described himself.

At the end of July 1945, Winston Churchill was a defeated man—hurled from power by the British people at the end of the war in which he had just saved his country.

Churchill Defiant is the story of how, when it seemed impossible, Churchill fought his way back over the next six years to the center of great events—the only place he ever wanted to be. In 1951, at last prime minister once more, he was ready to begin his dash to win "the last prize I seek": the enduring peace that had eluded the world after Hitler's defeat.

But Churchill's battles were just beginning. He would have to wage war with both his closest colleagues and his most indispensable allies, the Americans, to get where none of them wanted him to go: the negotiating table with the Soviets.

Barbara Leaming has written a gripping, fast-paced narrative of bare-knuckle politics, of life-and-death decisions, of old grudges and fresh blame. It is the story of how, between 1945 and 1955, Churchill simultaneously fought to prevent a third world war and to defy his own mortality as the clock ticked away and time threatened to run out for him.

This is Winston Churchill in close-up—a compelling, vivid, and deeply poignant portrait of the great man at a time when almost no one wanted him to remain on the public stage and when he was willing to do absolutely anything to stay there.

Praise For Churchill Defiant: Fighting On: 1945-1955

“Accomplished biographer Leaming tracks Winston Churchill’s masterful postwar comeback. . . . A lively chronicle. . . . Tight, polished and effectively focused on the lesser-known end of Churchill’s career.”
-Kirkus Reviews

“Leaming spins a gripping yarn of epic dimensions….A moving chronicle of one extraordinary man’s determination to overcome seemingly crushing adversity…In the true sense of the word, it is a great story…A fascinating take on momentous events, with a truly human hero at its heart.”
-Eastern Daily Press (UK)

“Absorbing. . . . Illuminating. . . . Eminently readable political history.”

“Fascinating. . . . A memorable and very readable portrait of one of the 20th century’s towering figures.”
-Roanoke Times

“’Never give in!’ The fighting spirit of Winston Churchill comes alive in Barbara Leaming’s brutal chronicle of the great man’s second premiership.”
-Chris Matthews, Host of MSNBC's "Hardball with Chris Matthews"

“A fascinating new book.”
-Daily Express (London)

“A well-written book . . . . Full of interesting details . . . . The manner in which Leaming has captured the essential Winston commands our admiration.”
-Church Times (UK)

“Leaming has produced a splendid book about Britain’s last lion. Even in winter, he never lost his roar.”
-Washington Times

“Insightful and highly entertaining…Leaming’s masterfully written and intimate book is a rich insider’s tale of back-stairs palace intrigue. Her superb sources provide wonderful insight into the personalities of the players and Leaming brings them alive in this period as few other authors have done.”
-Sarasota Herald Tribune

“Sympathetic and highly readable…Leaming takes the reader on an intimate cruise of British politics.”
-San Francisco Chronicle

“Leaming tells a rousing story. . . . This is exciting historical writing. . . . Churchill was the greatest figure of an epic century. You need to know about the last ten years of his public life.”
-Liz Smith

“I knew Winston Churchill in his last years—as well as a callow 18-year-old can know a great man and world leader more than half a century older; and I am astounded at Barbara Leaming’s almost uncanny perception of the workings of his mind.”
-John Julius Norwich, author of A History of Venice

“Colorful details abound. . . . A beguiling portrait of a leading politician who refuses to acknowledge his waning powers.”
-Daily Express (London)

“The plot, which covers the last 10 years of [Churchill’s] political life, could hardly be more gripping. . . . Barbara Leaming has fashioned a poignant narrative. Like any good storyteller, she focuses sharply on the protagonist and his aspirations. . . . Compelling.”
-Sunday Times (London)

“2010 Churchill Book of the Year . . . . Leaming’s insight is extraordinary.”
-Richard Langworth, Finest Hour: The Journal of Winston Churchill