Masters and Commanders describes how four titanic figures shaped the grand strategy of the West during the Second World War. Why, when the most direct route from Britain to Germany was through north-western France, did the western allies first launch assaults on North Africa, Sicily and Rome? Why, if D-Day was intended to be the start of the Allies’ great thrust into Germany, did four hundred thousand men land five hundred miles to the south, in southern France, two months later? Why did the Allies not take Berlin, Vienna or Prague, and allow the Iron Curtain to descend where it did?

One of the aims of the book is to show the degree to which the answers to these and many other key riddles of the Second World War turned on the personalities and relationships between two political masters – Winston Churchill and Franklin D. Roosevelt – and the military commanders of their armed forces – the Chief of the Imperial General Staff, General Sir Alan Brooke, and the US Army Chief of Staff, General George C. Marshall. Each was exceptionally tough-willed and strong minded, and each was certain that he knew best how to win the war. Yet each knew that he had to win at least two of the others in order to get his strategy adopted. The book traces the mutual suspicion and admiration, the rebuffs and the charm, the often explosive disagreements and wary reconciliations which resulted.

In reconstructing the debates between these four principals and many of the other leading senior Allied figures, Roberts draws upon the private papers of nearly seventy contemporaries and on verbatim accounts of Churchill’s War Cabinet meetings never before reproduced in book form. The result is a strikingly intimate and enjoyable account, which recreates with dramatic immediacy the atmosphere, debates and manoeuvrings through which Allied grand strategy was forged, and shows clearly the impact of personality upon history.

Click here to view Andrew speaking about his new book, Masters and Commanders

Click here to read more about Andrew and his new book, Masters and Commanders through his publishers, Penguin

Video interview
Andrew Roberts reassesses how Winston Churchill will be regarded in light of the revelations in his new book, Masters and Commanders. View now