Excerpt from Warlords by Simon Berthon, Joanna Potts, plus links to reviews, author biography & more

Summary |  Excerpt |  Reviews |  Beyond the Book |  Readalikes |  Genres & Themes |  Author Bio

Warlords

An Extraordinary Re-Creation of World War II Through the Eyes and Minds of Hitler, Churchill, Roosevelt, And Stalin

by Simon Berthon, Joanna Potts

Warlords by Simon Berthon, Joanna Potts X
Warlords by Simon Berthon, Joanna Potts
  • Critics' Opinion:

    Readers' Opinion:

     Not Yet Rated
  • First Published:
    Mar 2006, 358 pages
    Paperback:
    Apr 2007, 384 pages

  • Rate this book


Book Reviewed by:
BookBrowse Review Team

Buy This Book

About this Book

Print Excerpt

Prologue
May 10, 1940

Just after midnight, Friday, May 10, 1940. Two imposing steam engines at the head of ten luxuriously appointed coaches in bottle-green livery slid towards a junction 140 miles west of Berlin. The train had been traveling north from Hanover towards Hamburg, but now a set of points switched it to the west. It smoothly and slowly changed direction. On board this special train, code-named Amerika, was Adolf Hitler. The Führer was on a one-way ticket to Armageddon.

With Hitler was his personal secretary, Christa Schroeder, a breezy and attractive young woman of 32 who was full of admiration for the charm and vitality of the "boss." She wrote an excited letter to a friend describing her great adventure. The day before, the "inner" circle in Hitler’s office in the Reich Chancellery, of which she was thrilled to be part, had only been told that they were going "on a trip." Its destination and length were a secret. Once the train had left Berlin, they asked the "boss" if they were going to Norway, the main theater of battle on that day between Germany and Great Britain. Teasingly Hitler appeared to confirm their guess: "If you behave you will be allowed to take a seal hide home with you."

At dawn the train arrived at a station whose name plates had been removed. It turned out to be Euskirchen, 30 miles from the German frontier. Hitler and his party transferred to cars which took them through villages whose names were also missing and replaced by military signs. Finally they headed up a dirt track overshadowed by birches towards a small, flat clearing high in the forest spotted with concrete bunkers and posts. They had reached their destination: Felsennest, Hitler’s new headquarters.

In the background the rumble of artillery started up. Hitler pointed a uniformed arm westwards and announced: "Gentlemen, the offensive against the western powers has begun." The governments of Belgium, Holland and France were about to wake up to 136 highly trained and well-equipped German divisions storming across their frontiers. The "phoney war" was over; the Blitzkrieg had begun. Hitler’s unique mind had plunged the world for the next five years into the deadliest war ever.

As the Luftwaffe’s squadrons blackened the sky over Felsennest and the forces of the Wehrmacht poured down roads and tracks towards the west, a young man was taking an early morning ride among the deer of Richmond Park on the southwest fringes of London. He was John Colville, aged 25, and like Christa Schroeder he was a private secretary; in his case to another European boss, the British Prime Minister Neville Chamberlain. But, Colville knew, not for long. As he dismounted, his groom told him that Holland and Belgium had been invaded by the Nazis. Colville felt the heat of the political turmoil surging through Westminster and, as he noted in his diary, one thing was becoming depressingly obvious: "If the PM does go, I am afraid that it must be Winston."

Winston Churchill, who had returned to the British Cabinet as First Lord of the Admiralty on the outbreak of war on September 3, 1939, was considered reckless, untrustworthy and insufferable by much of the political establishment. But Churchill woke up on this fateful day, knowing that by its end and barring accidents he would achieve his life’s ambition of becoming British prime minister.

Churchill’s opportunity had arisen only from a fiasco for which he bore the heaviest responsibility: the campaign in Norway, in which the British navy had been outwitted by German paratroopers. Its aim was to cut Germany’s link to supplies of steel and iron ore from Sweden. But while British warships lumbered up the Norwegian coast and deposited their ill-supported land forces, Hitler struck from the air, forcing his opponents into a humiliating retreat. The Norwegian failure hardened political opinion in London that Chamberlain was not a man for battle; whatever Churchill’s disadvantages, nobody could mistake that he was the type of leader the nation needed—a warlord who had long understood that the enemy was Hitler.

Reprinted from Warlords, Copyright 2006. Reprinted by permission of Da Capo Press.

Membership Advantages
  • Reviews
  • "Beyond the Book" backstories
  • Free books to read and review (US only)
  • Find books by time period, setting & theme
  • Read-alike suggestions by book and author
  • Book club discussions
  • and much more!
  • Just $10 for 3 months or $35 for a year
  • More about membership!

Support BookBrowse

Become a Member and discover books that entertain, engage & enlighten!

Join Today!

Editor's Choice

  • Book Jacket: Only Child
    Only Child
    by Rhiannon Navin
    Rhiannon Navin's debut novel, Only Child received an overall score of 4.8 out of 5 from BookBrowse ...
  • Book Jacket: Brass
    Brass
    by Xhenet Aliu
    In 1996, Waterbury, Connecticut is a town of abandoned brass mills. Eighteen-year-old Elsie ...
  • Book Jacket: Timekeepers
    Timekeepers
    by Simon Garfield
    If you can spare three minutes and 57 seconds, you can hear the driving, horse-gallop beat of Sade&#...
  • Book Jacket: How to Stop Time
    How to Stop Time
    by Matt Haig
    Tom Hazard, the protagonist of How to Stop Time, is afflicted with a condition of semi-immortality ...

Book Discussion
Book Jacket
The Women in the Castle by Jessica Shattuck

A nuanced portrait of war, and of three women haunted by the past and the secrets they hold.

About the book
Join the discussion!

First Impressions

  • Book Jacket

    Only Child
    by Rhiannon Navin

    A dazzling, tenderhearted debut about healing, family, and the exquisite wisdom of children.
    Reader Reviews

  • Book Jacket

    The French Girl
    by Lexie Elliott

    An exhilarating debut psychological suspense novel for fans of Fiona Barton and Ruth Ware.
    Reader Reviews

Win this book!
Win Beartown

Now in Paperback!

From the author of a A Man Called Ove, a dazzling, profound novel about a small town with a big dream.

Enter

Word Play

Solve this clue:

T I M A Slip B C A L

and be entered to win..

Books that     
entertain,
     engage

 & enlighten

Visitors can view some of BookBrowse for free. Full access is for members only.

Join Today!

Your guide toexceptional          books

BookBrowse seeks out and recommends books that we believe to be best in class. Books that will whisk you to faraway places and times, that will expand your mind and challenge you -- the kinds of books you just can't wait to tell your friends about.