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Download Five Days in London: May 1940 Audiobook (Unabridged)

Extended Audio Sample Five Days in London: May 1940 (Unabridged), by John Lukacs
3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 3.00 (305 ratings) (rate this audio book) Author: John Lukacs Narrator: Aelred Rosser Publisher: Recorded Books Format: Unabridged Audiobook Delivery: Instant Download Audio Length: Release Date: April 2011 ISBN:
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In May 1940, the course of history hung in the balance for five long days while Churchill's War Cabinet debated whether to negotiate with Hitler or continue opposition. In this compelling narrative, scholar and renowned author John Lukacs draws on memoirs and papers to convey the drama of those troubled times. Prime Minister Winston Churchill, regarded by many to be hotheaded, has only been in office for a fortnight when a quarter of a million British solders become trapped by the Germans at Dunkirk. With the public illinformed and the Cabinet divided on what action to take, Churchill fights an uphill battle to gain both political and popular support. As the events unfold hour by hour, Churchill struggles to rally the citizenry and persuade the politicians to stand fast. John Lukacs' literary style and Aelred Rosser's compelling interpretation transport you to London to listen in on the high level talks at 10 Downing Street and observe the mood of the people in the street.

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Listener Opinions

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 James Murphy | 2/19/2014

    " The well-known Phony War (Lukacs calls it the Reluctant War) followed Germany's invasion of Poland in September 1939 and the subsequent declarations of war by Britain and France. The following May Germany ended the Phony War by invading Belgium. French, British and Belgian forces were quickly overwhelmed by the new German tank-forward, airplane-supported tactics. Belgium capitulated. The beleaguered French and British retreated to the coat where 300,000+ troops were eventually evacuated from Dunkirk. In the five May days Lukacs is concerned with, the British debated whether to continue fighting or seek the most favorable terms they could wring from Hitler. The crux of this history concerns the debate between Churchill, who'd become prime minister the day the Germans bolted through the Ardennes, Lord Halifax, the foreign secretary, and the rest of the War Cabinet. Halifax, with the British Expeditionary Force backed against the Channel and facing defeat, with Britain possibly facing a subsequent invasion by the Germans, and with France almost certainly to be overrun, encouraged seeking terms with Germany to prevent total defeat. Churchill argued against negotiations with Hitler because the British would essentially get the same terms by going ahead and fighting it out. Plus they would avoid becoming a puppet government for Hitler and would be able to save the fleet, almost certainly part of the terms. Churchill's views prevailed. The British continued the war, Hitler was unable to gain a favorable enough military position--air superiority--for a move across the Channel, and he eventually turned his attentions to the Soviet Union, whose vast European landscape was his primary goal in the war. Lukacs' main point is that this period in May 1940 was the most decisive of the war. Hitler came very close to winning the war at that time but eventually lost because Churchill refused to give in when the overall picture looked the bleakest. Hitler failed to win because Churchill refused to lose. Much of the book is simply recounting what the record is, those War Cabinet meetings where Churchill finally persuaded the government he was right. Lukacs also refers to diaries, letters, and personal memoirs of those days. What makes the book such a valuable read is his interpretations of those events in the brighter light of the war and the 50-year ripples affecting Europe and the world. And in his cogent thoughts on history as a whole. He says 2 of the most important elements in history are understanding and knowing. He gives weight to the distinction that understanding of a historical event or process may precede our knowing all the facts and how we can see how this works by our following the news of our day. He explains how this is important in the decisions made by the British during May 1940 and how we're today still awash in the reverberations from those decisions made when understanding preceded knowledge. Lukacs' ideas are convincing, especially because we can see, as he states, how Churchill's vision encompassed and sought a future for all of Europe rather than being concerned only with Britain. Becuse Churchill refused to allow defeatism Hitler couldn't neutralize them as an enemy and left a base for the Allies buildup and from which the counterattack would come. "

  • 1 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 5 Kate | 2/19/2014

    " This book was so turgid, it was almost unreadable. Lukacs is a professor and an expert on World War II, and this is an account of the five-day period in which Hitler, in Lukacs's opinion, came as close to conquering England as he ever would. He has a deep knowledge of Churchill and his inner sanctum, who are the focus of the book. With such great knowledge and such a tantalizingly tight framework, then, why is so much ink devoted to backstory, footnotes, and media clippings from the time? "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Karl | 2/16/2014

    " In praise of Winston Churchill ...and with merit. I enjoyed the book. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Frederick Bingham | 2/2/2014

    " The story of the British decision to continue fighting Germany in WWII. Churchill was just elevated to Prime Minister when it became clear that the French and Belgians would not continue in the war. During the period May 24-28, 1940, the British cabinet considered the possibility of making peace with Hitler on his terms. At the same time, the British Army in Europe was being gravely threatened and Churchill ordered it evacuated from the Continent at Dunkirk. The British after much deliberation decided not to yield and to keep fighting no matter how bad things looked. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 David Bird | 1/19/2014

    " As with Stephen Ambrose, Lukacs writes for a target market, and his success is in meeting the interest of that demographic, rather than in a real advance in the study of history. But my sense is that he's not pandering quite as hard. The notion of Churchill as pivotal figure in WWII goes back to Churchill, and there probably back before September 1939. But Lukacs makes his tale entertaining. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Dave | 1/18/2014

    " Very interesting read. A pageturner. Good description of how close England came to making peace with Hitler in May 1940, and how clueless the British public were in knowing the danger. The "five days" was a bit limiting in scope, but I suppose that's what helped make the book so dramatic. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Jim Zubricky | 1/12/2014

    " Great little book about Churchill and how he saved Britain from compromising its national identity in may 1940 . A fast read! "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Greg | 1/2/2014

    " Short and sweet. Loved it's narrow focus. "

  • 1 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 5 Nicole Marble | 12/24/2013

    " dull, dull, dull "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Hugh Evans | 12/11/2013

    " Slow, detail good, not convincing. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Joseph-Daniel Peter Paul Abondius | 8/11/2013

    " A faboulous look at what goes on in the face of war. In particular this book discuss UK and Churchill "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Denise | 12/10/2012

    " This little CD/book has caused me to want to know more about World War I and II. So I'm looking for a good history on both wars... "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Moureco | 8/2/2012

    " Os meus amigos oferecem-me livros aliciantes. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Cory Beatty | 7/6/2012

    " Really interesting for WWII buffs (which I am not). I enjoyed it. Interesting to hear a perspective on a perhaps unglorified turning point in history--the 5 days discussed here. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Christine Sermons | 12/1/2011

    " The Statistics are a bit boring but the insight into those 5 days is fascinating. I love anything about Churchill. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Brian | 2/9/2011

    " rivetting! "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Charlotte | 12/6/2010

    " This was awesome. Reads like a thriller, but real. I'm just learning the details of WWII, since we never did anything beyond the American Revolution in school, and it is intense. This is a slim book, but a super interesting one. "

  • 1 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 5 Lindsay | 6/24/2010

    " Found this book in a closet at work, it was so boring that I was convinced I was reading a prop book left by the last show........ "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Kim | 4/1/2010

    " A whole book about 5 days of political intrigue, and it's actually enjoyable. The author focuses on Churchill, Halifax, Chamberlain, and of course Herr Hitler. I'll be reading more from him. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Greg | 10/28/2009

    " Short and sweet. Loved it's narrow focus. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Karl | 9/2/2009

    " In praise of Winston Churchill ...and with merit. I enjoyed the book. "

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