There was a time, in a long-ago and innocent age, when national leaders would walk about unaccompanied by security. Sometimes, they would even walk alone.
Four such episodes came to mind last week which exemplify this vanished era. Questions arrived from colleagues about Churchill: his encounters with Canadian soldiers and his North Carolina connections. Then The New York Times published a retrospective on Woodrow Wilson, during the 1918 Paris Peace Conference. This was remindful of a fourth episode, involving Harry Truman. The sadness is that none of these could have happened in, the last fifty years. Maybe longer.…
Winston S. Churchill, My Early Life: A Roving Commission. (London: Thornton Butterworth, 1930; New York: Scribners, 1930.) Numerous reprints and editions since, including e-books. Excerpted from the Hillsdale College Churchill Project. For the full article, click here.
My Early Life appeared a year before the last volume of The World Crisis. The subtitle, “A Roving Commission,” is from the first chapter of Churchill’s Ian Hamilton’s March. It seems he took it from an earlier novel by G.A. Henty, one of his favorite authors. The titles changed places in the first American edition.
A wonderful treat is in store in this most approachable of Churchill’s books. Harold Nicolson in his 1930 review likened My Early Life to “a beaker of champagne.” His bubbly expression is not shy of the mark.…
A colleague asks if it’s true that Churchill comrade Jack Seely was “arrested for arrogance” in the Boer War! It doesn’t sound to either of us like an arrestable offense, but fits the character—a lordly aristocrat-adventurer, and thus almost inevitable Friend of Winston.
A Churchill biographer, Esme Wingfield-Stratford, agreed: “Gallant Jack Seely, from the Isle of Wight…a light-hearted gambler with death, was about the one man who could claim a record to compare with that of Winston himself.”
C.N Trueman thinks that Jack Seely could not have lived in the 21st century. “He truly belonged to an era associated with the British Empire and the attitudes embedded into a society that at one point had a government that controlled a quarter of the world.”
Digging in, we find Seely a fascinating character, enough to encourage an article.…