Sunday, 18 July 2010
I came to this book about the run up to the first major engagement in WWII with two TV programmes echoing in my mind: The Wilderness Years by Ferdinand Fairfax and The Gathering Storm by Hugh Whitemore. These excellent films take as read that Churchill is the hero. Michael Dobbs is more circumspect. In his epilogue he offers his own view on the vital role played by Churchill, but his fiction allows the reader to ask the questions that Chamberlain must have asked over and over. Was Churchill a war monger; was there even at the final hour a peaceful alternative? Dobbs takes his reader through the politics. A country with a frail economy and growing unemployment needed peace and trade; it got war. Dobbs allows five or so plots to run side by side, and this allows the reader to see the action from a number of different points of view. The stories are fully written; there is a good deal of content in this book. What is so clever is that, whilst we know how it ends, we cannot see how that end will be reached until very near the end.
Phil Hamlyn Williams's current project is a book entitled Charlotte Bronte's First Devotee about the man who discovered and mentored her.
His previous book, Ordnance, tells the story of how the British Army was equipped for the Great War. It is to be published by The History Press in June 2018. His first book, War on Wheels, telling the story of the thousands of ordinary men and women who together worked to mechanise the British Army in WW2 was published by The History Press on 8 September 2016. He wrote the story of the MacRobert's Reply collaborating with Story Terrace, published in December 2016. He writes regularly on contemporary issues for a number of periodicals and his own blogs. He is chair of trustees at The Lincoln Arts Trust which runs the Lincoln Drill Hall arts venue. He also chairs The Lincoln Book Festival. He works with others on CompassionateLincoln.
He was awarded an MA in Professional Writing at University College Falmouth in 2009. As a result of the this course, he wrote a novel, Broken Bonds, on human dimension of the Banking Crisis. He has been writing for fifteen years, having spent much of his career in professional services and the not for profit sector.