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  • Published: 28 September 2017
  • ISBN: 9780241327111
  • Imprint: Penguin eBooks
  • Format: EBook
  • Pages: 288

Darkest Hour

How Churchill Brought us Back from the Brink

A gripping new account of how Churchill turned Britain around - and the Second World War - and soon to be a major film starring Gary Oldman

From the prize-winning screenwriter of The Theory of Everything, this is a cinematic, behind-the-scenes account of a crucial moment which takes us inside the mind of one of the world's greatest leaders - and provides a revisionist, more rounded portrait of his leadership.

May, 1940. Britain is at war, European democracies are falling rapidly and the public are unaware of this dangerous new world. Just days after his unlikely succession to Prime Minister, Winston Churchill, faces this horror - and a sceptical King and a party plotting against him. He wonders how he can capture the public mood and does so, magnificently, before leading the country to victory.

It is this fascinating period that Anthony McCarten captures in this deeply researched, gripping day-by-day (and often hour-by-hour) narrative. In doing so he revises the familiar view of Churchill - he made himself into the iconic figure we remember and changed the course of history, but through those turbulent and dangerous weeks he was plagued by doubt, and even explored a peace treaty with Nazi Germany. It's a scarier, and more human story, than has ever been told.

  • Published: 28 September 2017
  • ISBN: 9780241327111
  • Imprint: Penguin eBooks
  • Format: EBook
  • Pages: 288

About the author

Anthony McCarten

Anthony McCarten’s novels have been translated into 14 languages. His collection of short stories, A Modest Apocalypse, was shortlisted in the Heinemann-Reed Fiction Award in 1991. Death of a Superhero won the 2008 Austrian Youth Literature Prize and was a finalist for the German Youth Literature Prize. It was made into an international film, starring Thomas Brodie-Sangster and Andy Serkis, and won the Prize of the Public and the Prize of the Youth Public at the Les Arcs European Film Festival in December 2011.He has also written numerous stage plays, including co-writing the world-wide success Ladies Night, which won the prestigious Molière prize, the Meilleure Pièce Comique in 2001. While most of his novels have been turned into successful feature films by other film-makers, McCarten directed Show of Hands himself, as well as his adaption of his play Via Satellite.

Blick, Zurich, declared of Death of a Superhero: ‘Not since Günter Grass’s The Tin Drum have the pains of growing up been rendered this powerfully.’ Der Spiegel (online) concluded: ‘A fantastic novel and a small revolution for the literary form. This novel makes one sick with yearning for more such texts, which are sensitive without being kitschy, which don’t mistake coolness for cynicism, which don’t pretend that movies, comics, video games, internet just don’t exist . . . It is impossible to present our modern world of perceptions more adequately and vividly.’

John McCrystal in The New Zealand Listener called In the Absence of Heroes ‘witty, humane and dazzingly clever’ and ‘a damned fine novel’, pinpointing McCarten’s ‘strong plots and superb dialogue’ as not only a writing strength but a reason why his work lends itself so well to screen adaptation. The Dominion Post Weekend praised In the Absence of Heroes: ‘McCarten’s deft and crisp writing, his blend of the online action with the real world, and remarkable sense of pace, make this a lively and intelligent book. It’s a thriller, of a kind, but it’s the flawed and engaging characters who drive this novel. Oddly human and grounded, it is rich and invigorating.’

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Praise for Darkest Hour

This is history written with the verve of a novel. Compelling and provocative

Piers Brendon, former Director, The Churchill Archives

Pacy, refreshing, intimate and clear-eyed

Sonia Purnell, author of 'Clementine'

Impeccably researched, provocative and absolutely thrilling. I couldn't put it down.

Henry Hemming, author of Churchill's Iceman

Engrossing... a bold and hugely readable story about doubts, decision and the power of words that vividly conveys the man and the moment.

Clare Mulley, author of The Woman Who Saved the Children

Darkest Hour has the panache, pace, wit and authenticity of its place and time...a concise and convincing distillation of the events of May 1940.

Lawrence James [on the film]

It is quite simply brilliantly well done. Gary Oldman's performance is nothing short of a masterpiece and Kristin Scott Thomas is remarkable. At one moment in the film I closed my eyes and I thought it was my grandmother speaking. It is also extremely moving - what my mother used to call a "two-handkerchief film"

Nicholas Soames [on the film]

I learned things from the script I didn't know. I just thought, "Can that be right? Were we that perilously close?" And so it just grabbed me.

Gary Oldman

McCarten's pulse-pounding narrative transports the reader to those springtime weeks in 1940 when the fate of the world rested on the shoulders of Winston Churchill. Thoroughly researched and compulsively readable, Darkest Hour is a true story thrillingly told

Michael Bishop

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