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Distributed for Imperial War Museums

Secrets of Churchill’s War Rooms

On May 10, 1940, Britain’s new prime minister strode purposefully down to the basement of an anonymous government building and entered a top secret command center. “This,” growled Winston Churchill, “is the room from which I will run the war.”
At the war’s end, Churchill and his colleagues left the chamber and locked the door behind them—and the War Rooms remained there, untouched and little known, until the early 1980s. Today, those historic chambers are on display as the Churchill War Rooms exhibit. With Secrets of Churchill’s War Rooms, you can go behind the glass partitions that separate the War Rooms from the visiting public, closer than ever before to where Churchill not only ran the war—but won it. This magnificent volume offers up-close photography of details in every room and provides access to sights unavailable on a simple tour of Churchill War Rooms. These are views that few people in the world have ever seen. Go behind closed doors to sit at Churchill’s desk, open up long-abandoned drawers and sift through seventy-year-old papers. See the anxious scratches on the arms of Sir Winston’s chair, pick up the phone that he used to speak to the president of the United States, and examine the map that loomed over his bed as he took his famous afternoon naps.
Including more than three hundred detailed images and firsthand memories of Churchill as a leader, boss, father, husband, and a man, Secrets of Churchill’s War Rooms tells the fascinating story of the work carried out in these underground offices.

288 pages | 150 color plates, 60 halftones | 10 1/4 x 12 1/4 | © 2016

History: Military History

View all books from Unicorn Publishing Group


"Takes readers on a tour through Winston Churchill’s World War II headquarters in London."

Wall Street Journal

"Provides fascinating details of life in this top-secret, subterranean space, such as the portable sun lamp used by staff who spent long hours underground; the specially designed gas masks that would allow switchboard operators to continue working even in the event of an attack; and the top-secret Transatlantic Telephone Room, which was given a toilet-stall style lock so staff presumed it was just Churchill’s own private lavatory. Secrets of Churchill’s War Rooms draws from personal accounts of staff, archival photographs and images of the restored rooms to provide a behind the scenes look at this once-secret space."

Atlas Obscura

"Reveals some of the intriguing details and stories which have emerged from the Churchill War Rooms. Asbury’s book gives readers the chance to examine objects in the rooms up close - and reveals some of the fascinating stories behind them."

Huffington Post UK

"Sheds fascinating new light on life in the bunker."

The Telegraph

"Asbury reveals the behind-the-scenes secrets of Churchill’s War Rooms–sights that members of the public can’t experience on a tour of the bunker. Containing more than 150 photographs and details from once-top secret documents, the book offers a close-up look at items that have until now been seen by only a few people in the world."

BBC History Extra

"Seeing the chairs and tables, the threadbare little rugs, the water basins and drab kitchenware, the microphones through which the Prime Minister addressed the nation, actually ends up doing exactly what the curators of the War Rooms no doubt intended: the sight of it all makes the realization of Blitz-era London very much more immediate and very personal. A great deal of work and unassuming heroism played out in these poorly-lit rooms during the war years, and Secrets of Churchill’s War Rooms brings it all before the reader again."

Open Letters Monthly

"The photographs are clear, crisp, and bright...Among the most interesting images in the book are the wooden arms of Churchill’s chair in the cabinet room that is 'gouged with scratch marks that speak volumes for the nervous energy of its occupant and the tension of the hundreds of meetings that he presided over in this room.'"

Winston Churchill Blog

 "[A] coffee-table volume that documents the underground complex where Churchill often directed combat operations. A close-up of Churchill’s chair reveals gouge marks in the arm, apparently made by a man nervous about how things would turn out."

The Advocate

Table of Contents

Chapter one
The Threat and Shock of War- July 1936 to May 1940
Chapter Two
The Darkest Days- May 1940 to May 1941
Chapter Three
The Tide Turns- June 1941 to December 1943
Chapter Four
The Final Push- January 1944 to August 1945
Chapter Five
Preserving Churchill’s War Rooms
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