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Greatest War Speeches 1939–1945
Foreword by Sir Nicholas Soames
A unique Folio edition of Winston Churchill’s 50 finest speeches to inspire Britain during the Second World War, with a new introduction by his grandson, Sir Nicholas Soames.
Greatest War Speaches
We shall fight on the beaches, we shall fight on the landing grounds, we shall fight in the fields and in the streets, we shall fight in the hills; we shall never surrender.
In Britain’s darkest hours, Winston Churchill harnessed the power of words to rouse and unify the nation. Seventy-five years on from victory, countless of his phrases are not just part of Second World War history but part of the expressive stock of the English language itself. Based on a long out-of-print 1946 collection, this exclusive Folio Society edition brings together 50 of Churchill’s greatest wartime speeches. It adds a new foreword by Churchill’s grandson, Sir Nicholas Soames, offering a personal insight into why people ‘huddled around their radios to listen to him’. Each chapter is headed by a detailed chronology of events, making it possible to read the book as a vivid history of the war itself. The binding features a striking design by the award-winning illustrator Peter Strain, known for his highly distinctive style. He uses intricate hand-lettering and a single bold portrait to capture Churchill’s fortitude and character.
Bound in blocked and printed textured paper with a design by Peter Strain
Set in Dante with Gill Sans as display
Black & white frontispiece
9½˝ x 6¼˝
A unique collection
‘There was nothing inauthentic about his oratory or the rhetoric that he deployed. They were from the heart and the spirit of the man.’
- Sir Nicholas Soames
Greatest War Speeches 1939–1945 gathers the finest wartime orations of the 20th century’s most eloquent statesman, whose writings would later earn him a Nobel Prize in Literature. It includes the trio of speeches that electrified Parliament and the nation in 1940, commonly known by their most celebrated phrases: ‘Blood, toil, tears and sweat’, ‘We shall fight on the beaches’ and ‘This was their finest hour’. His tribute to ‘the Few’ of the Royal Air Force is another masterpiece, and lesser-known gems include speeches to the Canadian Parliament, General de Gaulle and the men of the Eighth Army at Tripoli. The Folio edition corrects some notable omissions from the original 1946 collection, providing a definitive record of Churchill’s most stirring wartime rhetoric.
About Winston Churchill
Winston S. Churchill (1874–1965) was born at Blenheim Palace, the seat of his grandfather, the seventh Duke of Marlborough, to Jennie Jerome, an American socialite, and Lord Randolph Churchill, a Conservative politician. Educated at Harrow and Sandhurst he joined the Queen’s Own Hussars and served as both a cavalry officer and war correspondent. He entered Parliament in the 1900 General Election as MP for Oldham, and became First Lord of the Admiralty in 1911, after a brief period as home secretary. Following the ill-fated Dardanelles campaign he left the Admiralty and served another brief period in the army. Rescued from the political wilderness by Lloyd George, Churchill remained in Parliament until 1922 when he lost his seat, but returned as Chancellor of the Exchequer in Baldwin’s Conservative Cabinet in 1924. He became prime minister in 1940, after the fall of Chamberlain, and served in that post throughout the Second World War, until his defeat in the 1945 election. Churchill regained the prime ministership in 1951, but finally resigned in 1955. Throughout his life and career he was a prolific writer and was awarded the 1953 Nobel Prize in Literature ‘for his mastery of historical and biographical description’.
About Nicholas Soames
Nicholas Soames was born in 1948, the son of the late Lord Soames and grandson of Sir Winston Churchill KG. After completing his education, he was commissioned into the 11th Hussars serving in Germany and the United Kingdom, and was subsequently equerry to the Prince of Wales. Soames was a Conservative Member of Parliament for almost 40 years, serving as a junior minister at the Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food and from 1994 to 1997 as Minister of State for the Armed Forces. Between November 2003 and May 2005 he served in the shadow cabinet as Shadow Secretary of State for Defence, was made a Privy Counsellor in 2011 and was knighted in 2014.
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