Churchill, Eisenhower, and the Making of the Modern World

Lyons: Globe Pequot. Nov. 2022. 280p. ISBN 9781493050529. $29.95. HIST
Catherwood (history, Cambridge; His Finest Hour) explores the changing power relationship between Churchill and Eisenhower from 1942 to 1955. In 1942, the unreadiness of American expeditionary forces gave Churchill the deciding voice on war plans. But a year later, at Yalta, a more realistic balance of powers set the stage for the postwar world, and the “Big Three”—the U.S., USSR, and a much reduced UK—became smaller. Elected PM again in 1951, Churchill’s Iron Curtain speech defined the new world of warring power blocs, but when he met with the new American president in 1953, Winston argued that Europe didn’t matter: only the two white empires counted. He refused Ike’s plea for European unity. Britain wouldn’t join the European Community until 1973 (and now it’s out again). Efforts to renew Churchill’s and Eisenhower’s special relationship ultimately foundered on the realities of power, culminating, post-Churchill, in Britain’s humiliating defeat over the Suez Canal in 1956. Catherwood doesn’t mince words in contradicting his peers. He accuses Churchill’s biographer Andrew Roberts of misreading the past and, against Kevin Ruane, asserts that Churchill was never incapable of denying Eisenhower anything.
VERDICT For history enthusiasts only.
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