McKinstry is thorough and scrupulously fair. Unlike too many historians today, he goes in with no axes to grind. He simply tells the story, backed by a voluminous bibliography, extensive research and private correspondence. In scope and balance, the book reminds us of Arthur Herman’s Gandhi and Churchill—another elegant account of two contentious figures. Like Herman, McKinstry captures Churchill’s generosity of spirit, and his rival’s greatness of soul.
The first key to sales is an intriguing title and Mr. Napier succeeds admirably in that regard. But a reader expecting the “goods” will be rather surprised that the preamble and first chapter praise Churchill’s warnings of the need to rearm in the face of Nazi Germany, and his condemnation of the Munich Agreement. Napier then adds several straightforward chapters covering the early days of the war and Churchill becoming prime minister.