“There was about Churchill a faith that nothing was beyond our reach: A DETERMINED OPTIMISM. ‘I confess,’ he said, ‘that like Disraeli I am on the side of the optimists. I do not believe that humanity is going to destroy itself.’” —RML
Lectures at Sea (2): Churchill and the Myths of Ireland

Lectures at Sea (2): Churchill and the Myths of Ireland

Myths Amid the Mists of Ireland

This is the Ire­land por­tion of my lec­ture on the 2019 Hills­dale Col­lege Round-Britain cruise. Hills­dale cruis­es with “lec­tures at sea” are an annu­al event. They usu­al­ly occur in the spring. For infor­ma­tion on the 2020 cruise to Jerusalem and Athens, click here.

My book con­sid­ers the tall tales, exag­ger­a­tions, lies, myths, rumors and dis­tor­tions about Churchill over the years. Nowa­days, the old adage that you don’t speak ill of the dead is obso­lete. It seems more impor­tant now to decon­struct his­to­ry and punc­ture heroes.…

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Consistency: Politics Before Country, 1936-2011, Part 2

Consistency: Politics Before Country, 1936-2011, Part 2

Con­sis­ten­cy in Pol­i­tics: con­tin­ued from Part 1… Updat­ed with mate­r­i­al from my book, Churchill and the Avoid­able War (2015). It exon­er­ates, par­tial­ly, the actions of Mr. Bald­win.

Churchill reflect­ed in his mem­oirs on why Prime Min­is­ter Stan­ley Bald­win refused to admit his coun­try had a defense problem—Nazi Germany—because he thought the admis­sion might cost him an elec­tion. (Ref­er­ence to Baldwin’s “mis­cal­cu­la­tion” refers to his admis­sion, in Par­lia­ment, that his pre­vi­ous low esti­mates of Ger­man air strength had been cat­a­stroph­i­cal­ly low)….

Mr. Bald­win was of course not moved by any igno­ble wish to remain in office.…

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Robert E. Lee and the Fashionable Urge to Hide from History

Robert E. Lee and the Fashionable Urge to Hide from History

Youthful encounter

“Who’s that man on the horse?” I asked my father at the age of about sev­en. “That’s Robert E. Lee,” my Dad said.

“Who was he?” … “He led the South in the Civ­il War.”

He gave me a book for young peo­ple which I still have. Illus­trat­ed Minute Biogra­phies: 150 Fas­ci­nat­ing Life-sto­ries of Famous Peo­ple, from the Dawn of Civ­i­liza­tion to the Present Day, Dra­ma­tized with Por­traits and Scenes from Their Lives, by Willam A. DeWitt. It’s still avail­able and inex­pen­sive. It’s far out of date now, but still a fine read for the young.…

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