Tag: Sir Martin Gilbert

Churchill on the Century

Churchill on the Century

Who here is in their For­ties? Are you as pes­simistic as he was?

Win­ston Churchill was 48 when he penned some “Reflec­tions on the Cen­tu­ry,” which may arrest you with their prescience—and their eerie rel­e­vance.

His words below are in his orig­i­nal “speech form.” This is the way they were set out on the notes he car­ried with him, how­ev­er well he mem­o­rized his lines. They appear in this style in my col­lec­tion of quo­ta­tions, Churchill by Him­self, but dif­fer from the way you may have encoun­tered them in oth­er books:


What a dis­ap­point­ment [this] cen­tu­ry has been.…

     We have seen in ev[ery] coun­try a dis­so­lu­tion,

          a weak­en­ing of those bonds,

               a chal­lenge to those prin­ci­ples,

                    a decay of faith

                         an abridge­ment of hope

                              on wh[ich] struc­ture & ulti­mate exis­tence of civilised soci­ety depends.…

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The Real Churchill’s London (1)

The Real Churchill’s London (1)

Lon­don: The Evening Stan­dard intrigu­ing­ly offers an arti­cle on Churchill’s “favourite spots in the cap­i­tal.” In “The Lon­don Life of Win­ston Churchill” (16 June 2016), read­ers are invit­ed: “Browse the gallery above to find Churchill’s favourite Lon­don spots.”

The accom­pa­ny­ing gallery, alas, offers only a bot­tle of Pol Roger cham­pagne, the Nation­al Lib­er­al Club, a box of Romeo y Juli­eta cig­ars, a restau­rant with a Churchill bar, Pax­ton & Whitfield’s cheese shop, Austin Reed’s menswear, and Brown’s Hotel. (“I don’t stay in hotels, I stay in Brown’s,” they claim he said. The remark is not locat­ed in his pub­lished books, arti­cles, speech­es and doc­u­ments.)

With the excep­tion of the Nation­al Lib­er­al Club (see below), this assort­ment would more apt­ly be enti­tled “Churchill’s house­hold staff’s favourite shop­ping places.”

Hap­pi­ly, how­ev­er, the real Churchill’s Lon­don, “Spin­ning Top of Mem­o­ries,” was described in 1985 by his offi­cial biog­ra­ph­er, the late Sir Mar­tin Gilbert. The text is online, post­ed by The Churchill Cen­tre.…

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Eagles are Silent…

Eagles are Silent…

“Very often the eagles have been squalled down by the par­rots.”   —Churchill, House of Com­mons, 18 Jan­u­ary 1945

Some sea­soned stu­dents of the man were of two minds about the Jan­u­ary 2015 Win­ston Churchill death cel­e­bra­tions: grat­i­fied that peo­ple still remem­ber; shock at the ill-con­sid­ered asser­tions.

Old Chestnuts

“The Ten Great­est Con­tro­ver­sies of Win­ston Churchill’s Career,” 22 Jan 15

This is such a rote per­for­mance, and sad­ly typ­i­cal. First, you tee up Churchill as the sav­ior of 1940. Then you tear him down with the famil­iar litany of charges. I do wish they’d come up with some new ones; the old chest­nuts are get­ting shop­worn.…

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