May 1940. German troops, having swept through Europe had finally arrived at Britain’s doorstep. Several hundred thousand British soldiers are apparently trapped across the English Channel in Dunkirk. England seemed to be Hitler’s for the taking. Winston Churchill, two weeks into his tenure as prime minister, calls the British War Cabinet together to debate whether to negotiate with Hitler or to continue what became known as the Second World War. John Lukacs, in his book Five Days in London, May 1940
(Yale University Press, 1999), provides a vivid hour by hour account of the proceedings at 10 Downing Street as Churchill attempts to convince his Cabinet colleagues to rally behind him, establishing as official British policy the unswerving resolve to fight on no matter what. In this behind the scenes chronicle, Lukacs weaves a compelling narrative marked by deep knowledge combined with high literary style. Join us as we examine in detail this brief but critical period in twentieth-century history.