Sir Martin Gilbert (1936-2015) was a leading British historian and the author of more than eighty books. Specializing in 20th century history, he was the official biographer of Winston Churchill and wrote a best-selling eight-volume biography of the war leader’s life.
Born in London in 1936, Martin Gilbert was evacuated to Canada with his family at the beginning of World War II as part of the British government’s efforts to protect children from the brutal bombings of the Luftwaffe. He was made a Fellow of Merton College, Oxford, in 1962. He is the author of several definitive historical works examining the Holocaust, the First and Second World Wars, and the history of the 20th century.
In 1990, Gilbert was designated a Commander of the Order of the British Empire, and was awarded a Knighthood in 1995. Oxford University awarded him a Doctorate in 1999. Gilbert was a sought-after speaker on Churchill, Jewish history, and the history of the 20th century, and traveled frequently to lecture at colleges, universities, and organizations around the world.
The final volume of the official biography spans Churchill’s life from the defeat of Germany in 1945 to his death nearly twenty years later. It sees him first at the pinnacle of his power, leader of a victorious Britain. In July 1945 at Potsdam, Churchill, Stalin, and Truman aimed to shape postwar Europe. But while still grappling with world issues Churchill returned to Britain for the general election results and was thrown out of office.For six years Churchill worked to restore the fortunes of Britain’s Conservative Party, while at the same time warning the world of Communist ambitions, urging the reconciliation of France and Germany, pioneering the concept of a united Europe, and seeking to maintain the closest possible links between Britain and the United States. His aim throughout was to achieve not confrontation with the Soviet Union but conciliation based firmly upon Western strength and unity.In October 1951 Churchill became prime minister for the second time. The Great Powers were at peace but under the shadow of a fearful new weapon, the hydrogen bomb. Hoping, after the election of Eisenhower in 1952 and the death of Stalin in 1953, for a fresh start in East–West relations, Churchill worked for a new summit conference; but in April 1955 ill health and pressure from colleagues forced him to resign.In retirement Churchill traveled widely; took up painting again; completed the four-volume History of the English-Speaking Peoples; and watched as world conflicts continued, still convinced that they could be resolved by statesmanship. "Never despair" remained his watchword, and his faith, until the end. That end came slowly; for those nearest to him it was a sad decline. Yet almost to his ninetieth year he was able to follow events with hope and faith in the ability of man to survive his own folly.
The 20th century has been one of the most unique in human history. It has seen the rise of some of humanity’s most important advances to date, as well as many of its most violent and terrifying wars. This is a condensed version of renowned historian Martin Gilbert’s masterful examination of the century’s history, offering the highlights of a three-volume work covering more than 3,000 pages.
From the invention of aviation to the rise of the Internet, and from events and cataclysmic changes in Europe to those in Asia, Africa, and North America, Martin examines art, literature, war, religion, life and death, and celebration and renewal throughout the world, and throughout this turbulent and astonishing century.
Few have written about the atrocities of the Holocaust with the combined skill, thoughtfulness, and rigorous devotion to political, social, and military context as Sir Martin Gilbert.Focusing on firsthand narratives from survivors and supported by contextual scholarship, Gilbert presents a masterful cross-section of the experiences of the millions of European Jews who lost their homes, careers, families, and lives at the hands of Hitler’s "Final Solution." The accounts of these journeys are at once unique and unified by both their tragedy and by their triumphs.Gilbert’s vast knowledge on the subject, coupled with his frank and readable style, makes Final Journey accessible to readers and scholars alike. The text is supported by 84 photographs—many of which were published for the first time with the title’s first edition in 1979—and 24 pages of maps prepared by the author, which help to bring the stories of the men, women, and children back to life in unflinching detail.