Tag: Alexander Fleming

Churchill: Myth and Reality

Churchill: Myth and Reality

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.…

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The Dallying Duke of Marlborough

The Dallying Duke of Marlborough

This his­tor­i­cal cor­ner of the Web is exer­cised over the mis­quotes and tall tales about Win­ston Churchill that clut­ter the Internet—by every­body from Wash­ing­ton quar­ter­back Robert Grif­fin III to assort­ed authors and politi­cians (see “Churchillian Drift”).   

They range from RG III’s recent “Courage is what it takes to stand up and speak” (nobody knows who said that, but Churchill didn’t) to the fic­tion that Alexan­der Flem­ing twice saved Churchill’s life.

But here’s an amus­ing exam­ple of Churchill him­self destroy­ing a Churchill myth—about his ances­tor John Churchill, First Duke of Marl­bor­ough. Ref­er­ence is to the ear­ly pages of Marl­bor­ough: His Life and Times, vol.

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“Fleming Twice Saved Churchill’s Life”

“Fleming Twice Saved Churchill’s Life”

Is it true that Lord Ran­dolph Churchill edu­cat­ed 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 that Fleming’s 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.

I receive this ques­tion reg­u­lar­ly, but the sto­ry is untrue. Nei­ther Flem­ing nor his father were with Churchill at the times sug­gest­ed. Offi­cial biog­ra­ph­er Mar­tin Gilbert inves­ti­gat­ed, and found that the dates did not coin­cide.…

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