Book Review – ‘Churchill and the Dardanelles’ by W. Mark Hamilton

By W. Mark Hamilton, published December 2020


First Lord of the Admiralty (1911–15) Winston Churchill was a key player in the Dardanelles campaign, and Canadian historian Christopher Bell is determined to distinguish the myth from the reality. In Bell’s book Churchill emerges as a figure deserving much sympathy, but also a somewhat flawed personality who was responsible for numerous costly mistakes.

Bell’s discussion of Churchill’s efforts to justify his actions is a fascinating and much neglected area of research given the many books published relating to Churchill and the Dardanelles campaign.

Bell has provided in separate chapters an excellent historiographical review of the many sources, using a combination of primary and secondary sources to address all the twists and turns of the Dardanelles campaign. The bibliography shows a thorough command of the most recent literature, and the author’s writing style is engaging.

Bell’s historical judgments are balanced and fair. He has made a major contribution to British naval history and to a clearer understanding of that towering twentieth-century political figure, Winston Churchill. Bell’s book will stand as the definitive study of the Dardanelles campaign and the central role of Churchill for many years to come …

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Filed under: WW1 | Mediterranean | Twentieth Century
Subjects include: Battles & Tactics | Navies | Strategy & Diplomacy

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