A website named “IL Conservative” posted in June 2009 eight Churchill “quotes,” six of which he never said. These quotes are all over the Internet, none of them attributed to WSC. They just seem to multiply and get passed on, like the common cold. They are all examples of “Churchillian Drift” (or “Yogi Berra Drift,” if you are a baseball fan): neat little sayings attached to somebody famous to make them sound more interesting.
The purpose of my “Red Herrings” appendix of eighty incorrect quotations in Churchill by Himself is to counteract the raft of misinformation conveyed, largely through the web, but it’s like the Dutch boy sticking his finger in the dyke. Since publication of the book some years ago I’ve found at least another eighty, none of which I can find any record of in Churchill’s 15 million published words.
Anyway, and for the record, all of these are NOT CHURCHILL (and I will not dignify them with quotemarks):
1. A pessimist sees the difficulty in every opportunity; an optimist sees the opportunity in every difficulty.
2. A lie gets halfway around the world before the truth has a chance to get its pants on.
3. However beautiful the strategy, you should occasionally look at the results.
4. If you’re going through hell, keep going.
5. Success is not final, failure is not fatal: it is the courage to continue that counts.
6. A prisoner of war is a man who tries to kill you and fails, and then asks you not to kill him. (This one is close, but no cigar. What Churchill did say—House of Commons, 1 July 1952—was: “What is a prisoner of war? He is a man who has tried to kill you and, having failed to kill you, asks you not to kill him.”)