“We've all heard that a million monkeys banging on typewriters will eventually produce THE ENTIRE WORKS OF SHAKESPEARE. Now, thanks to the Internet, we know this is not true.” ―Robert Wilensky
Black Swans Thrive at Churchill’s Chartwell

Black Swans Thrive at Churchill’s Chartwell

"Mr. Churchill frequently engaged the birds in 'swan-talk,' in which he claimed exclusivity. In fact, the swans would cry out to anyone who approached within a certain distance. Some time after this discovery that I was walking down to the lake with Mr. Churchill. I was a little in front, and watched carefully for the critical spot. I then called out in 'swan-talk' and the birds dutifully replied to me. Mr. Churchill stopped dead. I turned round and he looked me full in the eye for a moment or two. Then the faintest suspicion of a smile appeared and he walked on in silence. No comment was ever made that this secret was shared." —Ronald Golding

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Did Eisenhower Offer to Quit Over WW2 Bombing Policy?

Did Eisenhower Offer to Quit Over WW2 Bombing Policy?

As supporters of Israel argue over the civilian casualties in Gaza, this history lesson is relevant. It seems that civilian casualties only occur to leaders of civilized governments. Hitler, Stalin, Saddam Hussein, and certainly Hamas never worried about them. In 1944, the arguments, heart searchings and constant changes of targets continued almost up to D-Day. In 1945, the battle of Manila resulted in 250,000 civilian casualties including 100,000 deaths. When told that statistic recently, Prime Minister Netanyahu was astonished. "100,000...well, we have incurred considerably fewer."

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Get Ready for Churchill’s Anti-Sesquicentennial

Get Ready for Churchill’s Anti-Sesquicentennial

"Don't worry about attacks on Churchill. He is alive and kicking and haunts the British imagination like no other. He will always be caricatured, as he was in his lifetime. But freedom of speech and expression was one of the things he fought for, and in his time he gave as good as he got. The more provocative comments about him are a backhanded tribute, as they work on the assumption that most people admire him." —Paul Addison

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Gotcher in the Nye: Winston Churchill on the National Health

Gotcher in the Nye: Winston Churchill on the National Health

Winston Churchill was fighting for national health services when Nye Bevan was still in short pants. After July 1945, national health policy fell to Labour, Robert Colville writes: "In other words, we owe to Bevan not THE National Health Service but THIS National Health Service—the one that turned the existing profusion of provision into something regimented, standardised, centralised and nationalised.... Bevan’s role in persuading America to enter the war is grossly overblown; his enthusiasm for Soviet Russia completely unmentioned. In John Bew’s biography of Attlee, Bevan’s index entry starts with 'tries to undermine Attlee and his supporters,' and goes on from there."

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Fake Churchill Quotations: Democracy, Life, Living, Enemies

Fake Churchill Quotations: Democracy, Life, Living, Enemies

<> Among fake quotations, this one is famous. It was revived by broadcaster Trevor Phillips in The Times. Mr. Phillips was explaining that British Conservatives, almost certainly to be the Opposition after the next election, need to stand strong—particularly against themselves. No quarrel with his logic, only his attribution.

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Vanishing National Anthems: Do We Still Know the Words?

Vanishing National Anthems: Do We Still Know the Words?

There’s always been something faintly concerning to important or fancy people about national anthems. Early on, the disenchantment was relatively trivial. During Queen Victoria’s Jubilee in 1897, Lady Randolph Churchill arranged for a young man with a music box to play God Save the Queen whenever Her Majesty sat down in her Jubilee dress. When she rose, the song stopped, only to recommence when she sat down again. Nowadays, the critics are more frantic, and most lyrics have been forgotten.

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Facing Disaster with a Smile: The Dick Teague I Knew

Facing Disaster with a Smile: The Dick Teague I Knew

"So I told Red Lux to cut up the last Packard prototype. This welder had been there since the cornerstone, and was hanging on by his thumbnails. I came back and the pieces were lying all around like a bomb had gone off. It was probably the dirtiest trick I ever played but I said: 'My God, Red, what have you done? Not this one, man—the one over in the corner!' The poor guy had to have had a strong heart, because if he didn’t, he would have died right there. His face drained, and when I told him I was just kidding he chased me around the room. You’ve got to have a sense of humor in this business." —Dick Teague

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Churchill Quotes: “Law Above the King” and “All Will Be Well”

Churchill Quotes: “Law Above the King” and “All Will Be Well”

"A law which is above the King" occurs in Churchill's "The Birth of Britain" (London: Cassell, 1956). He was explaining Magna Carta, the Great Charter of Freedoms, one of the towering benchmarks of Western Civilization. “All will be well” was a very frequent expression. In South Africa in 1899-1900, the young Winston had picked up the Afrikaans phrase "Alles sal regkom" or “All will come right.” He used both phrases interchangeably because they expressed his sentiment.

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“Empire First”: the Bowman War on Churchill’s D-Day

“Empire First”: the Bowman War on Churchill’s D-Day

Greenock, Scotland, played a noble part in Britain’s war effort. Perhaps its historians might now busy themselves with a travelogue. They could tell of an old man’s courageous journeys from Greenock into U-boat-infested seas in pursuit of victory in a global war. Or they could describe the ships and munitions built in Greenock to support the “lodgment on the continent” the old man had supported since 1941. They might even mention the Mulberry Harbors, the old man’s conception that made possible a successful D-Day. 

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Churchill, Palestine and the State of Israel, Part 2: 1945-1951

Churchill, Palestine and the State of Israel, Part 2: 1945-1951

"The Middle East is one of the hardest-hearted areas in the world. It has always been fought over, and peace has only reigned when a major power has established firm influence and shown that it would maintain its will. Your friends must be supported with every vigour and if necessary they must be avenged. Force, or perhaps force and bribery, are the only things that will be respected.... At present our friendship is not valued, and our enmity is not feared." —WSC, 1958

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