Category: Literary

Manchester and Reid: “The Last Lion: Defender of the Realm”

Manchester and Reid: “The Last Lion: Defender of the Realm”

In a flourish suitable to a great work, Paul Reid ends his story on January 30th, 1965 with the best words Lord Moran ever wrote: "The village stations on the way to Bladon were crowded with his countrymen, and at Bladon in a country churchyard, in the stillness of a winter evening, in the presence of his family and a few friends, Winston Churchill was committed to English earth, which in his finest hour he had held inviolate." Bill Manchester would like that.

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Holiday Gifts: “Marlborough: His Life and Times”

Holiday Gifts: “Marlborough: His Life and Times”

"Marlborough" was originally published in four volumes in England (Harrap) and Canada (Ryerson and Harrap) and six in America (Scribner). Fine first editions are pricey. The current paperback edition is by the University of Chicago Press. Copies is not, but for gift giving, you may want something nicer. There are many alternatives.

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Churchill’s Shakespeare: Quoting “Romeo and Juliet”

Churchill’s Shakespeare: Quoting “Romeo and Juliet”

Darrell Holley offers one citation from "Romeo and Juliet." In his biography of his father, Lord Randolph Churchill, Sir Winston writes: “Would he, under the many riddles the future had reserved for such as he, snapped the tie of sentiment that bound him to his party, resolved at last to ‘shake the yoke of inauspicious stars’….?” As so often in that better-read age, Churchill didn’t bother to cite the source, assuming most of his readers would know the source.

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Winston Churchill and Thucydides

Winston Churchill and Thucydides

"Open no more negotiations with Sparta. Show them plainly that you are not crushed by your present afflictions. They who face calamity without wincing, and who offer the most energetic resistance, these, be they States or individuals, are the truest heroes." —Lord Beaverbrook's advice to Churchill, quoting Thucydides, 1942.

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“The World’s Great Stories” Retold by Winston Churchill

“The World’s Great Stories” Retold by Winston Churchill

Why would Churchill wish to retell such classics as "Uncle Tom’s Cabin," "The Count of Monte Cristo," "Don Quixote," or "A Tale of Two Cities"? Because he was paid well to do so. Never independently wealthy, he worked hard to maintain his luxurious lifestyle—and the heavy entertainment and travel overhead of an active political career. “I earned my livelihood by dictating articles which had a wide circulation not only in Great Britain and the United States,” he wrote, “but also, before Hitler's shadow fell upon them, in the most famous newspapers of 16 European countries. I lived in fact from mouth to hand.”

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Churchill. the Kilkenny Cats, and the U.S. Congress

Churchill. the Kilkenny Cats, and the U.S. Congress

"Indeed, the more we force ourselves to picture the hideous course of a modern naval engagement, the more one is inclined to believe that it will resemble the contest between Mamilius and Herminius at the Battle of Lake Regillus, or the still more homely conflict of the Kilkenny cats." —Churchill, 1912

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Hillsdale Dialogues Explore Churchill’s “The World Crisis”

Hillsdale Dialogues Explore Churchill’s “The World Crisis”

"It was the custom in the palmy days of Queen Victoria for statesmen to expatiate upon the glories of the British Empire, and to rejoice in that protecting Providence which had preserved us through so many dangers and brought us at length into a secure and prosperous age. Little did they know that the worst perils had still to be encountered and that the greatest triumphs were yet to be won…."

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Churchill’s Novels: Escape Valves or Reality Checks?

Churchill’s Novels: Escape Valves or Reality Checks?

Churchill was motivated by Wells’s views of military science: “The irresistible Juggernaut, driving through towns and villages as through a field of standing corn—a type which Armageddon itself could not achieve….” That was an accurate description of France in 1940. Churchill himself called it “a remarkable combination of air bombing and heavily armoured tanks.” He then admonished Britons: “Arm yourselves, and be ye men of valour."

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Don’t Fall for Them! Facsimile Churchill Holograph Letters

Don’t Fall for Them! Facsimile Churchill Holograph Letters

People are still falling for those reproduction Churchill thank-you letters produced by the thousands using a spirit duplicator. "The ultimate thrift shop haul," headlined the Daily Mail in July 2023. "Budget shopper is left STUNNED after buying a 'priceless' handwritten letter signed by Winston Churchill for just $1—after finding it buried in a New York store." Actually, $1 is about what it's worth—plus perhaps $50 for a nicely matted and framed example.

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“A Good House of Commons Man”: Robert Rhodes James

“A Good House of Commons Man”: Robert Rhodes James

Randolph Churchill had sacked Robert from his research team on the Official Biograhy, and Robert never forgave him (or his dislike of Eden). He maintained that Randolph just repeated the “case for the defence” Sir Winston had already made in his own books. Robert always said exactly what he believed—in the most forceful terms available to a gentleman. In an age of prevaricating phonies of Left and Right, such a character is rare. Winston Churchill would have loved him.

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