Six Minutes in May: How Churchill Unexpectedly Became Prime Minister

Author(s): Nicholas Shakespeare

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London, early May 1940- Britain is on the brink of war and Neville Chamberlain's government is about to fall. It is hard for us to imagine the Second World War without Winston Churchill taking over at the helm, but in SIX MINUTES IN MAY Nicholas Shakespeare shows how easily events could have gone in a different direction. The first land battle of the war was fought in the far north, in Norway. It went disastrously for the Allies and many blamed Churchill. Yet weeks later he would rise to the most powerful post in the country, overtaking Chamberlain and the favourite to succeed him, Lord Halifax.It took just six minutes for MPs to cast the votes that brought down Chamberlain. Shakespeare shows us both the dramatic action on the battlefield in Norway and the machinations and personal relationships in Westminster that led up to this crucial point. Uncovering fascinating new research and delving deep into the backgrounds of the key players, he has given us a new perspective on this critical moment in our history.


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"A superbly written drama..Shakespeare's research is thorough and he has a novelist's flair for depicting the characters and motives of great and lesser men...Fascinating." -- Book of the Week * The Times * "Riveting...never less than gripping. But the real delight of its book is the convincing, and often revelatory, portraits of the main protagonists." * Evening Standard. * "Superb...Enthralling." * Daily Telegraph * "Magnificent... The book, though totally anchored in the facts, has a novelist's eye for feeling and atmosphere" * i * "Shakespeare brings both meticulous research and fictional artistry to illuminate the machinery of government under extreme stress and the abrasive conflict of large, self-confident personalities. It's a superb achievement." -- Ian McEwan

Nicholas Shakespeare was born in 1957. The son of a diplomat, much of his youth was spent in the Far East and South America. His books have been translated into twenty languages. They include The Vision of Elena Silves (winner of the Somerset Maugham Award), Snowleg, The Dancer Upstairs, Secrets of the Sea, Inheritance and Priscilla. He is a fellow of the Royal Society of Literature. He currently lives in Oxford.

General Fields

  • : 9781846559723
  • : Vintage Publishing
  • : Harvill Secker
  • : October 2017
  • : 240mm X 162mm X 45mm
  • : United Kingdom
  • : books

Special Fields

  • : Nicholas Shakespeare
  • : Hardback
  • : 941.084092
  • : 528