“To Belloc this generation owes big glimpses of the Homeric spirit. His mission was to flay alive the humbugs and hypocrites and the pedants and to chant robust folk-songs to a rousing obligato of clinking flagons….” He later concluded that Liberal reforms merely offered the “propertyless worker perpetual security…in exchange for the surrender of political freedom.”
Col. Gault (Military Assistant to General Eisenhower, 29 April 1945): “John Peck, is that you? The General told me to ask you if the war is over.”
Peck: “I beg your pardon?”
Gault: “Seriously, we’ve got a press message here which says quite clearly that it’s all over. If so, nobody has told the General and he thought you would be the most likely to know at your end.”
Peck: “Well, if it has ended, nobody has told the Prime Minister either.”
Gault: “Do you think we had better carry on?”
Peck: “Yes, I think so.” [John then went back to sleep, and the war went on.]
With colleagues I discussed which of young Winston’s early war books was derisively called, “A Subaltern’s Advice to Generals.” This was a popular wisecrack after his early works had the temerity to propose British military strategy in India, Sudan and South Africa. Churchill was in his mid-twenties at the time—but not reticent to speak his mind. Nothing we didn’t know here….
Malakand Field Force?
Without consulting references, I thought the “advice” line involved The Story of the Malakand Field Force (Churchill’s first book, 1898). I was influenced by its last chapter, “The Riddle of the Frontier.” Plenty of advice there, though it is as much political as it is military.…