The longest biography in history takes a long step to completion with publication of The Churchill Documents, Vol. 19, Fateful Questions, September 1943-April 1944. (Order your copy here). Fastidiously compiled by the late Sir Martin Gilbert and edited by Dr. Larry Arnn, these 2700 pages serve up another fresh contribution of documents crucial to our understanding of Churchill in World War II. It is a vast new contribution to Churchill scholarship.
Winston S. Churchill, the official biography consists of eight narrative volumes and now nineteen companion or document volumes, all kept in print and offered at modest prices as both hardback and electronic editions.
There are four more to go and the “great work” will be complete, at thirty-one total volumes. Volume 20 (later this year), will take us through the 1945 election. Volumes 21-23 will cover the opposition years 1945-51, the second premiership 1951-55, and the finale 1955-65. The Great Work will be finished by 2019. We will celebrate in several unique ways.
The documents take the reader from the Allied invasion of Italy to the first Big Three conference at Teheran, Russian successes on the Eastern Front, fraught arguments over tactics and strategy as the Allies began closing in on Nazi Germany. The third of four companion volumes to Gilbert’s narrative Volume 7, Fateful Questions takes us to the eve of D-Day: the invasion of France in June 1944.
I played just a bit part as one of the editors-perusers of this gigantic screed. The real thanks are owed to Soren Geiger and our Churchill student Associates, graduate and undergraduate, who started with Martin Gilbert’s “wodges” of documents–virtually one wodge for each day of Churchill’s life.