Churchill and Fisher
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Churchill and Fisher

The titans at the Admiralty who fought the First World War

By Barry Gough

$39.95 Paperback
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A vivid study of the politics and stress of high command, this book describes the decisive roles of young Winston Churchill as political head of the Admiralty during the First World War. Churchill was locked together in a perilous destiny with the ageing British Admiral 'Jacky' Fisher, the professional master of the British Navy and the creator of the enormous battleships known as Dreadnoughts. Upon these 'Titans at the Admiralty' rested British command of the sea at the moment of its supreme test — the challenge presented by the Kaiser's navy under the dangerous Admiral Alfred von Tirpitz.

Churchill and Fisher had vision, genius, and energy, but the war unfolded in unexpected ways. There were no Trafalgars, no Nelsons. Press and Parliament became battlegrounds for a public expecting decisive victory at sea. An ill-fated Dardanelles adventure, 'by ships alone' as Churchill determined, on top of the Zeppelin raids on Britain brought about Fisher's departure from the Admiralty, in turn bringing down Churchill. They spent the balance of the war in the virtual wilderness.

This dual biography, based on fresh and thorough appraisal of the Churchill and Fisher papers, is a story for any military history buff. It is about Churchill's and Fisher's war — how each fought it, how they waged it together, and how they fought against each other, face to face or behind the scenes. It reveals a strange and unique pairing of sea lords who found themselves facing Armageddon and seeking to maintain the primacy of the Royal Navy, the guardian of trade, the succour of the British peoples, and the shield of Empire.


List of Illustrations
A Note on the Board of Admiralty

Introduction: The Daemonic Duo

Part One: The Naval Revolutionary

  1. Fisher Ashore and Afloat
  2. Fisher’s Reforms
  3. Dissension in the Navy
  4. Fisher’s Fall

Part Two: ‘Ruler of the Queen’s Navee’

  1. The Most Glittering Post
  2. Preparing for War

Part Three: Misfortunes of War

  1. ‘Commence Hostilities against Germany’
  2. The Titans at the Admiralty

Part Four: ‘Damn the Dardanelles. They will be our grave.’

  1. Troubles at the Admiralty

Part Five: The Sea Kings Depart

  1. The Titans Exit the Admiralty
  2. Say ‘Resurgam’!
  3. Hazards of War and Last Acts

Postscript: ‘History will give you your due’

List of Abbreviations
Note on Sources
Index of Ships


Short-listed - The Mountbatten Award for Best Book - Martime Media Awards - 2018

"Gough's work is based on a wide use of primary sources and is well written providing many valuable insights ... this book is highly recommended."

- Stephen McLaughlin Finest Hour

Churchill and Fisher is an exhaustive account of the careers of two men who came together to help lead the United Kingdom's fight in the First World War.

- Victoria Times Colonist

"Churchill and Fisher is an impeccably researched, valuable contribution to British naval history and studies of the First World War era."

- James Woods The Ormsby Review

"This work is an impressive re-evaluation of the Churchill and Fisher papers that includes two very helpful photo-plate sections — Very Highly Recommended."

- FIRE Reviews

"Churchill and Fisher: The Titans at the Admiralty who Fought the First World War by Barry Gough is a brilliant study of the relationship between these two gigantic figures. It is lucidly written, thoroughly researched, and convincingly argued; an essential book for students of Churchill, Fisher, the Dardanelles, and the Royal Navy in the Great War."

- Brad Tolppannen A Blog On Winston Churchill

BARRY GOUGH, prize-winning and acclaimed historian and biographer, is a Fellow of Kings College London and Archives Fellow of Churchill College Cambridge. His Pax Britannica won The Mountbatten Literary Award of the British Maritime Foundation and he is author of numerous studies of sea power and imperial affairs. Gough is an Emeritus Professor at Wilfrid Laurier University and a resident of Victoria, BC.

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Publication Details:

Binding: Paperback, 656 pages
Publication Date: 6th October 2017
ISBN: 9781459411364
Format: 9in x 6in
25 b&w images

BISAC Code:  BIO008000, HIS015070, HIS027090, HIS027150
Imprint: Lorimer


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