One of the greatest historians writing today gives us a defining portrait of the incomparable Winston Churchill
In his landmark biography of Winston Churchill, acclaimed historian John Keegan offers a very human portrait of one of the twentieth century's enduring symbols of heroic defiance. From Churchill's youth as a poor student to his leadership during World War II, Keegan reveals a man whose own idea of an English past—eloquently embodied in his speeches—allowed him to exhort a nation to unprecedented levels of sacrifice. The result is a uniquely discerning look at one of the most fascinating personalities in history.
“The best military historian of our generation.” –Tom Clancy
The Old Testament and The Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire were the most important influences on one of the 20th century's great wartime leaders. These books essentially created the man, argues renowned military historian Keegan (The First World War), and Churchill's own words would, in turn, be the key to his greatness: "In the end the personality of Churchill and the prose that inspired his being so interpenetrated each other as to be indistinguishable and mutually inextricable." This is somewhat ironic, Keegan shows in his concise, elegant biography, as Churchill (1874 1965) was a middling student who barely passed the entrance exam for military college. But his one love was history from his voracious, lifelong reading he gained a profound belief in Britain's glorious destiny. Keegan traces the familiar formative events in the future prime minister's life. During the Boer War, he was taken prisoner and his daring escape made him a national hero. After winning election to Parliament (as a Conservative) in 1900, Churchill began his political career championing social reforms that would help the working class. Indeed, his views were so pro-worker that he temporarily switched to the Labour Party. As Hitler rose to power, Churchill began a long, frustrating campaign calling for military preparedness in order to meet the growing fascist threat. Churchill's genius, Keegan stresses, was in his ability to communicate his vision of Britain as a glorious nation with a great civilizing mission, and the book does an excellent job describing his subject's rhetorical power. This is a pithy, highly accessible biography that can be enjoyed over a couple of sittings. (On sale Oct. 14)
Customer ReviewsSee All
A decent book, but it should have been longer in page length, so as to provide more insight into the man, known as Sir Winston Churchill. I was hoping for additional information about how he saw Communism, Socialism, and their inherent evils in these political theories, which are evil and debase its citizens.
I'm a Keegan fan. This account of Churchill's life is nice and concise. Although I thought I was already familiar with the topic it turns out I really wasn't. I had no idea he "crossed the aisle" twice. His life was a complicated one but this account put it all in context. Keegan's style is complex but always rewarding for those who tough it out. If you want to know a lot about the man and what made him great, warts and all, this is for you.