The Fleming myth is updated from an article originally published in 1998.
Is it true that Lord Randolph Churchill financed the education of Alexander Fleming, the discoverer of penicillin, as a result of Fleming (or his father) rescuing Churchill from drowning in a swamp when young Winston was a youth—and a Fleming discovery, penicillin, saved Churchill’s life years later in 1943? A friend of mine has sent me this email regarding it and I wanted to verify . —L.M.
This question comes up regularly, but both parts of the story are untrue. Neither Alexander Fleming nor his father were with Churchill at the times suggested.…
“A Century Ago, the Modern Middle East Was Born,” announced The New York Times in December. A colleague asks: “Are you not struck by how difficult (impossible?) it is to encapsulate history in an op-ed? Is that really how and when the modern Middle East was born?”
Good questions. The Times’s idea is that after World War I, avaricious imperialists moved in to enslave Turkey’s former slaves. This familiar theme will dominate through the centenary of the Cairo Conference in March 2021. It’s been around at least since 2001, when Osama bin Laden referred to 9/11 as payback for what he then called “eighty years of injustice.”
Herewith some contrarian, revisionist and politically incorrect thoughts.…
Somewhere east of Ottawa, a special train bore the Prime Minister of Great Britain toward Washington. He had been in Canada to address Parliament. His most memorable lines came as he spoke of the French in 1940:
When I warned them that Britain would fight on alone, whatever they did, their generals told their prime minister and his divided cabinet, “In three weeks England will have her neck wrung like a chicken.” Some chicken! … Some neck.