His Finest Hours: The War Speeches of Winston Churchill

Published by Quercus on 4th October 2007

The greatest British statesman and a truly outstanding orator, Winston Churchill steered his nation through the bloodiest war in history. His famous speeches raised the morale of an anxious people – but also warned them of the perils ahead. In his honesty and unshakeable belief, he inspired and reassured Britons and their allies around the world.

Opening with his 1939 broadcast on the looming war, which had cast ‘a hush over Europe’, and closing with his prophetic statement in 1946 that ‘an iron curtain has descended across the Continent’, His Finest Hours presents Churchill’s most rousing wartime speeches. From the tensions on the eve of conflict, to the bravery of an embattled nation, and ultimately the relief and elation of victory, each speech paints a vivid picture of the world at war..

But not only are Churchill’s speeches rich in historical content, they also demonstrate his mastery of language. With such eloquent phrases as ‘a riddle wrapped in a mystery inside an enigma’ and the patriotic rallying cry for each individual to ‘stand alone in the breach’, Churchill’s words offer a lyricism unrivalled by any other speechmaker of the era. His power to captivate an audience earned him the trust of those who heard him, and continues to stir our emotions today.

Graham Stewart’s perceptive commentary introduces each speech by explaining its background and the key events of the time. Together with Churchill’s own words and iconic wartime photography, His Finest Hours is a concise and compelling history of the Second World War.

Included here are Churchill’s best-known addresses: ‘Their finest hour’, ‘Blood, toil, tears and sweat’, ‘Fight them on the beaches’, ‘Never in the field of human conflict’, ‘Some chicken. Some neck’, and ‘This is your victory!’ – as well as 30 other momentous speeches by the remarkable leader who gave hope to his country in its darkest hour.