Churchill's War Lab

Code-breakers, Scientists, and the Mavericks Churchill Led to Victory
Churchill's War Lab: Code-breakers, Scientists, and the Mavericks Churchill Led to Victory. Overlook, dist. by Penguin. Jun. 2011. c.416p. photogs. bibliog. index. ISBN 9781590205655. $30. HIST
World War II saw the introduction of numerous new weapons and procedures, with the British prime minister desperate for ways to counter German strength. Churchill enthusiastically supported experiments, new military units, changes in procedures, and unorthodox thinkers who had been disregarded by the establishment. Downing (Battlestations: War Winning Weapons of the Second World War) shows here how, unlike President Roosevelt, Churchill took great pleasure in the details of weapons development and military operations. World War II was as much a scientific/mental war as one of sheer force, and Churchill strove to exploit British advantages. Downing reminds readers how Churchill's own military career had been marked by independence and daring. This well-researched book, organized by broad themes (e.g., the air war, the naval war), focuses on the contentious interactions between Churchill and his exasperated top officers and war cabinet, who resented his energetic interference in their departments. It is a good overview of how a visionary leader must encourage and coordinate the talents of various personalities and organizations to achieve a common goal. Readers will also enjoy Stuart Macrae's recently republished Winston Churchill's Toyshop.
VERDICT General readers from high school up will enjoy this fast-paced and informative book. It won't give new information to specialists, but they may enjoy it nonetheless.
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