Michael Dobbs in his most recent historical novel, Churchill’s Triumph: A Novel Of Betrayal spins another mesmerizing portrayal of one of the greatest statesman, Winston Churchill who, as we are reminded at the very beginning of the book stated: “History with its flickering lamp stumbles along the trail of the past, trying to reconstruct its scenes, to revive its echoes, and kindle with pale gleams the passions of former days.”
Dobbs in his latest foray into the life and times of Churchill brings us back to Yalta in February of 1945 just before the end of World War II when a week-long series of historic meetings involving the leaders of the three largest nations of the world, Russia, England and the United States gathered. It was here where the brutal Stalin, the aging yet feisty Churchill and an ailing Roosevelt met and came with their own agendas as to how to deal and carve up Europe once Hitler was defeated.
As in his past historical novels, Dobbs acts as if he were a fly on the wall as he construes what transpired and what was said during the various conversations among the three leaders.
Roosevelt was particularly interested in the creation of the United Nations to replace the League of Nations, Stalin was steadfast in his desire to completely destroy Poland and Germany, and Churchill was concerned about protecting the frontiers of Poland as well as making sure of its freedom.However, as we read, it was not too much of each of the leaders to cheat and betray one another and in so doing leave a lasting legacy that would have dreadful ramifications not only affecting Europe but also the Far East.
As Dobbs points out, it was quite ironic that it was Molotov the Russian Foreign Minister who informed the others how the war would be finished. It was this same Molotov who thought little of executing starving peasants and children as young as twelve, and who had endorsed the massacre in the forests of Katyn. This same beast planned the destruction of the kulaks, deporting and obliterating millions of innocent people long before Hitler entered the scene. And it was the same Molotov who signed the pact with his German counterpart, von Ribbentrop that flung the world into war.
The idealist Roosevelt was so wrapped up in his desire to create the United Nations and to get Russia involved in the war on Japan that he didn’t mind selling off Poland and half of Europe to Stalin. And both thought very little of betraying not only the Chinese but also the British with their wheeling and dealing.
Churchill was quite upset about losing Poland however, justly or mistakenly he assumed he could not save her on his own. To Churchill, he had nothing to fight with, except words, and he realized that words alone wouldn’t do the job. Poland was to be buried beneath a table of lies. Moreover, if Poland was lost, what else might he lose? As he stated, win the war, yet lose the peace-the timeless legacy of fools.
Dobbs informs us in his Acknowledgments that he tried to remain true to the course of events pertaining to the happenings at Yalta. He does admit to omitting huge chunks of the proceedings while at the same time taking dramatic liberties with other parts, yet for the most part what he has written about the major events actually did happen.
In order to effectively capture the flavor of events and Churchill’s betrayal, Dobbs interlaces into the narrative the fictional character Marian Nowak as well as the fictional town of Piorun.
Churchill’s Triumph: A Novel Of Betrayal is a fast paced novel blending known facts with fiction and to classify it as historical fiction would be to rob it of its realism and distinctiveness. Dobbs has re-imagined so vividly that cusp of time when the destiny of the world was planned out by three men who perhaps with the exception of Churchill were not too troubled about the outcome of their decisions. All that matter was to fulfill their own agendas and be damned with the aftermath.
The above review was contributed by The Publisher & Editor of Bookpleasures.com, Norm Goldman, B.A. LL.L, Retired Title Attorney: Norm is also a travel writer and together with his artist wife, Lily, the couple meld Norm's words with Lily's art. To check out their travel site click on Sketchandtravel.comClick here to view Norm’s Reviews & Interviews.
To read an interview conducted by Norm with Michael Dobbs
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