Dobbs, Michael. Churchill's Triumph. A Novel of Betrayal. Sourcebooks Landmark. Apr. 2008. c320p. ISBN
978-1-4022-1045-7. pap. $14.95. Fiction.
Dobbs’s fourth Winston Churchill novel (after Never Surrender), and his twelfth book, attempts to humanize the Yalta Conference of February 1945 by presenting the thoughts and feelings of Churchill with an occasional glimpse into the minds of President Roosevelt and Marshal Stalin. Interspersed with the historical events of the conference’s eight days, Dobbs's novel tells the story of a Polish cavalryman who witnessed the massacre of Polish officers in the forest at Katyn and now, a plumber for the Soviets, wants Churchill to rescue him before he is unmasked. In Dobbs’s reconstruction, Churchill is a drunken fighter; Roosevelt, a doddering fool interested only in creating the United Nations and in enlisting Soviet assistance against Japan; and Stalin, a ferocious bully but a shrewd negotiator. The betrayal of the novel’s subtitle is that of “dull-witted” Roosevelt, who seems set on appeasing the Soviets at Poland's expense. Churchill’s triumph, revealed only in the epilog, turns out to be saving France and Germany as a bulwark against further Soviet expansion. He is thus credited with the eventual fall of communism and the freedom of Poland! While the rape of Poland is graphically portrayed, Dobbs’s three protagonists come across as unsympathetic caricatures. Roosevelt is so odious that one wonders if any American other than a die-hard Anglophile will enjoy this book. A marginal purchase. [The author of the best-selling House of Cards, adapted into a popular PBS series, served as a chief adviser to prime ministers Margaret Thatcher and John Major.—Ed.]