February 13, 2015

Finest Hour 162, Spring 2014

Page 8


Sir Martin Gilbert’s biography, the longest in history, takes a giant step toward completion as Hillsdale College Press publishes The Churchill Documents: Testing Times 1942—the first document volume supporting biographic volume 7 (1942-1945), seventeenth in a projected twenty-three document volumes, and twenty-fifth in all counting the eight volumes of biography.

This is the first new volume since The Ever-Widening War 1941, published fourteen years ago. Since then, supported by friends and donors of Hillsdale College, H.C.P. has republished all eight of the biographic and the previous sixteen document volumes. Churchill Centre Chairman Laurence Geller aided the new volume by a kind gift to support Sir Martin’s work. Churchill Centre members may buy all twenty-five volumes at a 30% discount, all seventeen document volumes at 20% discount, and Document Volume 17 at $51, a 15% discount off the cover price. Provide proof of membership when you order from HIllsdale’s bookshop: http://bit.ly/1jF3nYL.  (Note: the discount will not appear on your confirmation, but will be given when the order is processed. )

The contents of this volume cannot be underestimated. Here are the papers Churchill wrote and reviewed during the grimmest year of the war, with the Axis powers supreme. The reader looks over Churchill’s shoulder during his North  American visit after Pearl Harbor, the fall of Singapore and Tobruk, his visit to Moscow and a Stalin clamoring for a Second Front, the counterattack in North Africa, the desperate Battle of the Atlantic, the turn of the tide at El Alamein and Stalingrad.

The Churchill world owes a vast debt to Larry Arnn, Hillsdale president and editor in chief who, early in his career, was Sir Martin Gilbert’s research assistant, and actually met his wife in the process. Devoted to Sir Martin’s life’s work, Dr.  Arnn was determined that the biography be completed. He remained “undaunted by odds,” including reluctant publishers, taking on the job at his own college, and pushing forward despite Sir Martin’s recent illness.

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Soren Geiger, research assistant to Dr.  Arnn, tells FH Associate Editor David Freeman that “an entire team at Hillsdale College is working every day on the document volumes. We anticipate at least six additional document volumes. Volume 18 will cover January-August 1943;  Volume 19 will cover September 1943 through April 1944;  Volume 20 will finish off the year 1944;  Volume 21 will cover 1945; and two or three volumes will cover the remaining two decades of Churchill’s life. Copy editor Gillian Somerscales has worked on several books with Sir Martin and will continue to aid us in the completion of the document volumes. Sir Martin was not able to begin work on this volume, but he did bequeath to us his personal archive, from which he wrote the narrative volumes. It is our guide.” Congratulations all round!

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