Churchill: Myth and Reality

Churchill: Myth and Reality

"We don't know where we're going but we're on our way." Churchill was urging demolition of "the foul baboonery of Bolshevism"—or was he? Strube in the Daily Express, 8 September 1919.
“We don’t know where we’re going but we’re on our way.” Churchill was urg­ing the end of “the foul baboon­ery of Bolshevism”—or was he? (Strube in the Dai­ly Express, 8 Sep­tem­ber 1919.)

Per the pre­vi­ous post, I append for read­er com­ment the con­tents of my next book, Win­ston Churchill, Myth and Real­i­ty: What Churchill Stood For.

I have writ­ten on most of these mat­ters in the past; the book recasts it afresh. I also acknowl­edge and cross-ref­er­ence the work of experts who know far more than I, par­tic­u­lar­ly in the fields of geneal­o­gy and med­i­cine. I would be glad to hear your thoughts; please use the “con­tact” page.

The his­to­ri­an David Stafford wrote: “Myth only devel­ops and takes hold when the time is right, and the cli­mate has long been ripe for the emer­gence of myths about a wartime hero who stood firm against a total­i­tar­i­an foe and smote an evil empire.”

Churchill myth is born both of exag­ger­a­tion and crit­i­cism, cre­at­ed either to glo­ri­fy the record or to bela­bor it. The for­mer I sup­pose is some­what less harm­ful, born of igno­rance. The lat­ter obfus­cate the record and dis­tract us from the truth, some­times intentionally.

Paul Addi­son wrote, “Para­dox­i­cal­ly, I have always thought it dimin­ish­es Churchill to regard him as super­hu­man,” Yet Pro­fes­sor Addi­son has no doubt about Churchill’s great­ness. The most mem­o­rable words on that sub­ject were by Churchill’s offi­cial biog­ra­ph­er, the late Sir Mar­tin Gilbert:

In every sphere of human endeav­our, Churchill fore­saw the dan­gers and poten­tial for evil. Many of those dan­gers are our dan­gers today. Some writ­ers por­tray him as a fig­ure of the past, an anachro­nism, a grotesque. In doing so, it is they who are the losers, for he was a man of qual­i­ty: a good guide for the gen­er­a­tions now reach­ing adulthood.

The aim of this book is to skew­er the most pop­u­lar alle­ga­tions about Churchill, to offer read­ers what he real­ly thought and did, some­times about mat­ters that are still on our minds today—for as Twain wrote, his­to­ry nev­er repeats; but some­times it rhymes.

Youth: Lady Randolph’s indiscretions…The parent­age of Jack Churchill…The Men­ace of Education….The death of Lord Ran­dolphWomen’s Suf­frage.

Young Par­lia­men­tar­i­an: The loss of  the Titan­icThe unpleas­ant­ness on Sid­ney Street…”The sullen feet of march­ing men in Tony­pandy“…Irish inde­pen­dence.

World War I: War­mon­ger image, peace­mak­er reality…Defense of AntwerpDar­d­anelles and Gal­lipoli…Sink­ing the Lusi­ta­niaChem­i­cal war­fare...America’s involve­ment in the Great War.

Between the World Wars: “Tak­ing more out of alcohol”…“The foul baboon­ery of Bol­she­vism”…Tri­al by Jew­ry…”Half-Naked Fakir“…”The Truth About Hitler.”

World War II: Broad­cast­ing the war speeches…Refugees and ene­my aliens…Torture as tool or ter­ror…Bomb­ing of Coven­tryPearl Har­bor…The Holo­caustFamine in Ben­gal…Destruc­tion of Monte Cassi­no…Over­tures to Mus­soli­ni…Feed­ing occu­pied Europe…Fire­bomb­ing Dres­den.

Post­war Years: The fate of East­ern Europe…Nuking the Soviets…The Con­ser­v­a­tive Party…”Only to have accom­plished noth­ing in the end.”

Appen­dix: “Things That Go Bump in the Night” (so far-fetched that they defy cat­e­go­riz­ing). Con­vert­ing to Islam…A life twice-saved by Alexan­der Flem­ing...Engi­neer­ing the Wall Street Crash…The myths of the Black Dog and an unhap­py marriage.

 

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