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Churchill's War Lab by Taylor Downing

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  • Churchill's War Lab by Taylor Downing

    I just finished Churchill's War Lab by Taylor Downing and was thoroughly disappointed. A potentially fascinating subject and the author fell way short of the mark with this book. He did so not by telling the story badly but by barely telling the story at all. The entire title is Churchill's War Lab: Code Breakers, Scientists, and the Mavericks Churchill Led to Victory so one would expect to see a fair amount written on the science Britain offered during the war but instead this is a biography starting early in Churchill's life and including many decades previous to the war and its lead up. References are made to the various scientific breakthroughs but far more writing is offered on Churchill's relationships with Roosevelt, his military officers and his travelings.

    Both Churchill and the science of WWII are two subjects I very much want to learn more about and as a result I did not read the reviews of this book offered in Amazon. I now see that aside from the one five star review, which was probably written by his publisher, other reviewers shared my experience. I will not be making this mistake again soon, I hope.

    I also found that despite a huge bibliography (Downing probably just listed every book he owned) the author was inaccurate about a few issues regarding equipment of the war. He fell in to the trap of referring to German armor as superior to that of the Allies and did the same in a remark about German artillery, using the 88mm canon as an example. While this gun was certainly deadly and accurate it does not justify a claim that German artillery as a whole was superior to Allied artillery. Comparison to the 17-pdr. would be enough to show that a superior gun was afield in the hands of Britain.

    Play La Marseillaise. Play it!

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