In 1686 the Oxford English Dictionary described “red herring,” a metaphor to draw pursuers off a track, as “the trailing or dragging of a dead Cat or Fox (and in case of necessity a Red-Herring) three or four miles…and then laying the Dogs on the scent…to attempt to divert attention from the real question.” I apply the term to quotes, allegedly by Churchill, which he never said—or if he did, was quoting somebody else.
Hence my Red Herrings Appendix, updated herewith, for the new, expanded edition of my quotes book Churchill by Himself. “You could fill a book with what Winston Churchill didn’t say,” remarked his sometime colleague, Rab Butler.…
Andrew Roberts, Churchill: Walking with Destiny. New York, Viking, 2018, 1152 pages, $40, Amazon $25.47, Kindle $17.99. Also published by the Hillsdale College Churchill Project. For Hillsdale reviews of Churchill works since 2014, click here. For a list of and notes on books about Churchill from 1905 currently through 1995, visit Hillsdale’s annotated bibliography.
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.…