- Title: Churchill's Secret War: The British Empire and the Ravaging of India During World War II
- Author: Madhusree Mukerjee
- ISBN: 9780465022601
- Page: 484
- Format: ebook
A dogged enemy of Hitler, resolute ally of the Americans, and inspiring leader through World War II, Winston Churchill is venerated as one of the truly great statesmen of the last century But while he has been widely extolled for his achievements, parts of Churchill s record have gone woefully unexamined As journalist Madhusree Mukerjee reveals, at the same time that ChuA dogged enemy of Hitler, resolute ally of the Americans, and inspiring leader through World War II, Winston Churchill is venerated as one of the truly great statesmen of the last century But while he has been widely extolled for his achievements, parts of Churchill s record have gone woefully unexamined As journalist Madhusree Mukerjee reveals, at the same time that Churchill brilliantly opposed the barbarism of the Nazis, he governed India with a fierce resolve to crush its freedom movement and a profound contempt for native lives A series of Churchill s decisions between 1940 and 1944 directly and inevitably led to the deaths of some three million Indians The streets of eastern Indian cities were lined with corpses, yet instead of sending emergency food shipments Churchill used the wheat and ships at his disposal to build stockpiles for feeding postwar Britain and Europe.Combining meticulous research with a vivid narrative, and riveting accounts of personality and policy clashes within and without the British War Cabinet, Churchill s Secret War places this oft overlooked tragedy into the larger context of World War II, India s fight for freedom, and Churchill s enduring legacy Winston Churchill may have found victory in Europe, but, as this groundbreaking historical investigation reveals, his mismanagement facilitated by dubious advice from scientist and eugenicist Lord Cherwell devastated India and set the stage for the massive bloodletting that accompanied independence.
Recent Comments "Churchill's Secret War: The British Empire and the Ravaging of India During World War II"
"I DIDN'T SEE MUCH DIFFERENCE BETWEEN CHURCHILL'S OUTLOOK AND HITLER'S" Guess who said that? Perhaps it was Subhas Chandra Bose leader of the Japanese alligned Indian National Army? Or Nehru or Gandhi during an intemperate moment? Or some other Indian nationalist? The reality was that none of these Indian political figure made the comparison, rather it was spoken by Churchills contemporary at Harrow, his accomplice in the rearmament debates of the 1930's and his then Secretary of State for India [...]
I give this book an unqualifiedly enthusiastic recommendation. Here is excruciatingly documented proof that Winston Churchill is truly one of the last century's greatest war criminals and genocidal, racist autocrats. In the case of the terrible famine that swept the Indian state of Bengal during World War II, we have a clear instance of a mass extermination that could, at multiple times, have been prevented by the actions of the British government under Churchill, but that was consciously allowe [...]
This is not just another book on the horrendous famine in Bengal in 1943-44 when 3 million people died, according to most independent accounts. This book is about how Winston Churchill and his chief advisor Lord Cherwell became responsible for inducing and perpetuating the famine and how their racist and contemptuous attitude towards Indians, particularly Hindus, eventually resulted in millions of deaths and laid the foundations for partitioning India on religious lines resulting in further trag [...]
Churchill is still idolized, somewhat unquestionably. I can't go a week without seeing a "inspirational" Churchill quote. Mukerjee's account shows the true nature of Churchill. Everything we may think about Churchill is relentlessly examined, taken apart, and debunked. The book's main focus is on how Churchill was largely responsible for the famine in Bengal in India in 1943. Whatever food was being produced in Bengal during that time was forcibly exported to feed the British empire, leading to [...]
Living in the West, I see such an adulation for Churchill as the saviour during the WWII. The dark side of this man, his imperial arrogance, barely concealed racist views and the diatribe against India's freedom fighters, particularly Gandhi, is never talked about. As a matter of fact, most here in Canada and in the other commonwealth countries including Britain do not even know how this side exists. I suppose one good deed conceals one hundred evil ones.This brilliantly written book base on pai [...]
Downright eerie and disturbing. And this is non-fiction. Not for the emotionally weak and faint-hearted, especially if you happen to read about the places devastated by the Bengal famine of '42 just as you are passing them by on a dreary August afternoon. This book presents hard-hitting facts that offer a chilling newsroom-speaker-oid narrative of the horrors that was the Bengal famine. It lays bare facts (the bibliography and reference list is humongous. That is some serious and if I may say, v [...]
I thought I was well read on the general subject of the Second World War, at least in terms of the Western Allies, until I read this book. I even took a University course on the History of the British Empire and Commonwealth, and I don't recall any discussion of the war time famines in India. This is clearly written from the Indian point of view, and there are some conclusions which seem speculative. Overall, the book is quite damning of Imperial policy and the comparisons between food requireme [...]
Mukerjee, a physicist turned journalist, attempts to shed light on the conduct of the British government and its treatment of its colony of India, especially the provinces of Bengal, in her most recent work. Resource rich and with an extensive bibliography, she includes documentary evidence from recently released British imperial documents. Unfortunately, the author fails to provide an adequate analysis in a coherent way to truly satisfy those searching for a good narrative on this tragic period [...]
Heartbreaking and disturbing - one of those books which makes you put it down because you just can't take the atrocities that humans have perpetrated against other humans. Impeccably researched and somehow written in a detached manner which makes it all the more chilling.This is the book that brought to the forefront the horrors that Indians in Bengal had to face during the second World War, because of the British Raj, and exposed the hypocrisy of the defenders of the Raj. Never before has the p [...]
Some times you feel like reading the history of India time and again and everytime you come up with something new. But the sad part is the new is always very sad and disappointing. Mukherjee in her book gives you a detailed description of Bengal famine , how Churchill and his war cabinet overlooked the necessity of controlling the Famine situation in Bengal. Her book is good work of research on various accounts giving diary notes, cables, telegrams and meeting minutes during those periods. Churc [...]
Not every one's cup of tea, obviously, but I had a blast with it. Well researched and even better written, the book describes the implications that Churchill and his War Cabinet decisions had on the fate of India and Bengal in particular.Due to their contempt and racism, they performed what can be considered daylight robbery: take rice and wheat from India to feed Indian troops fighting outside the subcontinent and leave Bengalis starving to death, literally. The lesser figures for 1943 indicate [...]
This book is quite a harrowing read. It is a significant examination of Churchill who was most certainly no different than Hitler in intention or actions. Mukherjee's book documents the way in which Churchill engineered and actively maintained famine in Bengal during World War II. It's an essential read if one wants a more global understanding of World War II as well as its relationship to maintaining empire.
An extremely well researched and documented book outlining the horrors of the famine that devastated the country as Churchill "fiddled with his cigar". Churchill's "secret war" was more devastating, at least in the Indian context, than the war against the Axis Powers. He may have won the other war but will always be condemned for what he did to India.
A brilliant book. Extremely well researched. Provides detailed yet succinct account of war torn colonial economy and its exploitation.
I can't help but agree with Leopold Amery - the parallels between Hitler's contempt for the Jews and Churchill's contempt for the Brown Man (however repentant he may have later been about it) are strikingly similar. I'm surprised he didn't see it, despite being so poisoned by the whisperings of Cherwell. Also, going with the Hitler theme, I swear I read the name of Churchill's physician as "Dr. Morell".
This book sort of shook me to the core to a point that 4 years after I have finished reading it, there is not a single day which goes by that i didnt think about what has been described in this book. To the extent that the book I intend to write is influneces to a major degree from the events described by her
A great book, and really opens your eyes to why India has some of it's problems today
An unknown shamful chapter of WWII which remained hidden until this book.
This was a tough book to read, both because of the subject matter and because of the density of the writing. In history classes and previous reading, I never learned about India’s role in WW2. What I did know was more related to Indian independence and the life of Gandhi. If I’d had any illusions that Churchill was without flaws, this book pretty much exploded then. Well worth the (albeit depressing) read.
I was interested in reading this book since I had heard about this ghastly famine from my parents and seeing some old bengali movies. This famine and its enormity was dwarfed by two other major events going on at that time : a) The Second World War and b) India's Freedom movement. The author has provided a very detailed account of the communications that took place at that time between the Bengal government, the India office and Churchills War council. I do however note that the author has appor [...]
It is hard to admire Churchill (as I have) after reading this book. The story of India's role in the war, and the resulting famines, is devastating. It is a credit to the writer that I felt myself watching the events as they unfolded, with my anxiety increasing, as the factors which would cause the famines unfolded. Churchill diverted food stuffs away from India in order to guarantee plentitude for the English and in order to be able to feed the enemy population after the eventual peace. He refu [...]
"I hate Indians. They are a beastly people with a beastly religion." - Winston Spencer ChurchillThis book has nicely narrated the cause and effect of the 1943 bengal famine. Although the writer was more focused on the political implications but I think that was what we have always missed whenever a man-made calamity occurs.Will recommend this book to anyone who wants to know how a racist empire with the help of a bigoted muslim league and a traitorous communist party of India has cause one of th [...]
Impressive book, though the title is a little bit misleading,,, the book talks next to nothing about any part other than Bengal, A lot was happening across the country but book focused on Bengal.Book is good for people who want to understand how British umpire treated its subjects and followed double standards.
A very rare to find analysis of Churchill's "Heroics". Proclaimed as the "Hero" of World war II with his own history books Chrurchill turns out to be a bigger war criminal than Hitler. We need bold authors like Madhusree.
Engrossing, brutal. Brutal. The things people in power will do to stay in power look much like a junkie trying to get their next fix.
The book is an amazing look at the horrors that Indians , especially the Bengalis faced during the British Raj and especially under Churchill. As we analyze how Economics grew in India we are told repeatedly that India was an agrarian society which magically turned into a service economy in the 1990s but missed the manufacturing bus. This book dispels the myth and gives us a closer look into how the Company and her majesty's loyal servants destroyed the advanced manufacturing base already presen [...]
While the book will not portray Churchill as a monster, it nonetheless shows his imperialism, racism, militarism and general unwillingness to even consider the independence of British colonies and unwillingness or inability of him to consider that the British Empire is not a good thing.Sadly this book can be quite dry and boring as a reading experience, quite often. But it does have its gripping points, especially the stories from the Bengal famine.And oh boy some Brits would not like how Armery [...]
We - the people of India, thanks largely to our media and our history books are well aware of this particular bit of unsavoury history of the 1930s and 1940s. We are told that this was an act unparalleled in documented history, and was carried out by Adolf Hitler. That just goes to show how ludicrously poor our knowledge of history - specifically our own history is. The Year: Circa 1942-1943. The Venue of the display of generosity and humanity that lead to the Indian version of the holocaust: Be [...]
An erudite and carefully researched account of 1943's Bengal famine, a tragedy that killed millions yet is often forgotten or unheard of in the west. Beyond reporting on the atrocity itself, author Madhusree Mukerjee exposes its causes: intentional acts by Winston Churchill's War Cabinet that routed food stores around the starving continent to be shipped to Europe, only to sit unused until the end of the war.This book, beautifully sourced and footnoted, must have taken years of deep research. It [...]
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