14 October 1066, 950 years since Duke William II of Normandy conquered the Anglo-Saxon King Harold Godwinson at the Battle of Hastings, and established Norman rule in England, depicted in five maps in Sir Martin's Routledge Atlas of British History
I have made a close study during my Churchill work of the low points and high points of his war leadership. In this article, I have chosen seven, between May and December 1940.
The first low point, from the earliest days of Churchill’s premiership in May 1940, was the bleak outlook for Britain as German troops swept through Belgium, Luxembourg, the Netherlands and France, and continued their conquest of Norway. On the third, bleak day of Churchill’s premiership, on May 13, his Military Secretary, General Ismay recalled, “I walked with him from Downing Street to the Admiralty. A number of people waiting outside the private entrance greeted him with cries of 'Good luck, Winnie. God bless you.' He was visibly moved, and as soon as we were inside the building, he dissolved into tears. 'Poor people,' he said, 'poor people. They trust me, and I can give them nothing but disaster for quite a long time.' ”
Churchill greets Roosevelt's personal emissary, Harry Hopkins, at 10 Downing Street on 10th January 1941. Between them is Brendan Bracken, who was one of Churchill's "closest confidants."
Churchill At War: His 'Finest Hour' in Photographs Photo credit Imperial War Museum Archive
From Esther Gilbert
In 2006, Martin, who had been appointed a Distinguished Fellow at Hillsdale College in Michigan, was there speaking on "What Did Democracy Mean to Winston Churchill". After his lecture, I made my way up to him. The moment he spotted me, he called out to me and turned to a gentleman standing next to him.“ This is Joel Elkes,” he said. I looked at Martin, at the gentleman, and tears began running down my face.
One of the first books of Martin's that I had read after I met him was his edition of Avraham Tory's diary, called Surviving the Holocaust, The Kovno Ghetto Diary. An extraordinary document, it is one of the few – if not the only – complete day-to-day diary of a Secretary of a Jewish Council under German occupation. Smuggled out after the war, the diary was reunited with its author who turned up on Martin's door in Israel bearing a suitcase that contained the diary and other documents. Martin was determined that it should be published in English and with full explanations and documentation.
Among the documents that Martin included in the book was the “Last Testament”written by Dr Elchanen Elkes, the Head of the Jewish Council in Kovno, to his son Joel and his daughter Sara who had gone ....'
Photocopy of Dr Elchanan Elkes'
with Sir Martin's notation at the top
"Sir Martin's work has been referred to in Mr Gibb's World War 1 topic and his Conflict in Europe topic - both of which call for expert historian views to consolidate the knowledge of his students." Nicola De Jong, student
Mr Gibb, Head Teacher of History, Merewether Selective High School, Newcastle, NSW, Australia. Mr Gibb also teaches Modern History and Extension History.
Dear Sir Martin,
I am the coordinator of the Write Your Story program operating from the Lamm Jewish Library of Australia. Since it began in 1998 the program, publishing under the Makor imprint, seems to have become one of the largest publisher of Holocaust memoirs in English.
I have been with the program since 2000 - and knew nothing at all. I am a Buddhist, in the Tibetan tradition. Your books have stood at my shoulder through so many terrible stories. I am so grateful - it makes a world of difference to be able to locate a moment on a death march, give it a date - sometimes new information comes flooding out. You have been my anchor. Thank you.
Sir Martin donates books to
The National Churchill Library and Center (NCLC)
Before Sir Martin became ill, he had set aside a series of books which have been donated to the National Churchill Library. Sir Martin was proud of his association with George Washington University (receiving an honourary degree in May 2000) and thrilled with the idea of a Churchill Library there.
The opening of the Library at the 33rd International Annual Churchill Conference in Washington, D. C. later this month is a triumph in the world of Churchill scholarship.
The Book Club Winner
Meet Sir Martin's September 2016 Book Club Winner, Alan Langstaff from the UK
Interestingly, I recently viewed “Winston Churchill the Wilderness Years” made by Southern Pictures in 1980 – 81 and starring Robert Hardy and a stellar cast of famous actors, many of whom are sadly no longer with us. I had not realised that Sir Martin had been the historical adviser to the series, but the authenticity of the dialogue and settings, as well as the salient facts brought out to illustrate the period, bear all his hallmarks.
The Winner will feature in the October Newsletter and receive a copy of Churchill A Life from Sir Martin's private library Question: In what year did Sir Martin complete the eighth volume of the Winston S. Churchill Biography?