Tag: William Manchester

A Fresh Look at the Churchills and Kennedys by Thomas Maier

A Fresh Look at the Churchills and Kennedys by Thomas Maier

When Lions Roar: The Churchills and the Kennedys, by Thomas Maier. New York: Crown Pub­lish­ers, 784 pages, $30, Kin­dle Edi­tion $11.99. Writ­ten for The Churchillian, Spring 2015.

The most touch­ing and durable vision left by Mr. Maier comes toward the end of this long book: the famous White House cer­e­mo­ny in April 1963, as Pres­i­dent Kennedy presents Sir Win­ston Churchill (in absen­tia) with Hon­orary Amer­i­can Citizenship—while from an upstairs win­dow his stroke-silenced father, Joseph P. Kennedy, watch­es close­ly, with heav­en knows what reflections:

What­ev­er thoughts raced through the mind of Joe Kennedy—the ran­cor of the past, the lost oppor­tu­ni­ties of his own polit­i­cal goals, and the trag­ic for­got­ten dreams he had once had for his old­est son, could not be expressed.…

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Churchill’s Common Touch (3)

Churchill’s Common Touch (3)

con­tin­ued from part 2…

Part 3: Ser­vants and Staff

Win­ston Churchill was a Vic­to­ri­an, with most of the atti­tudes of his class and time toward the com­mon folk. “Ser­vants exist to save one trou­ble,” he told his wife in 1928, “and sh[oul]d nev­er be allowed to dis­turb one’s inner peace.”

Once before World War II he arrived in a vio­lent rain­storm at his friend Max­ine Elliott’s Chateau d’Horizon in the South of France. “My dear Max­ine,” he said as she ush­ered him in, “do you realise I have come all the way from Lon­don with­out my man?”…

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How much did Churchill drink?

How much did Churchill drink?

Andy Klein asks whether William Man­ches­ter was being fac­tu­al or just cute when he wrote that Churchill was not a heavy drinker, despite the quan­ti­ties Man­ches­ter enumerated:

…the leg­end that he is a heavy drinker is quite untrue. Churchill is a sen­si­ble if unortho­dox drinker. There is always some alco­hol in his blood­stream and it reach­es its peak in the evening after he has had two or three scotch­es, sev­er­al glass­es of cham­pagne, at least two brandies, and a highball.

Man­ches­ter was right in the sense but wrong in the details. Churchill had an impres­sive capac­i­ty for alco­hol, but nobody saw him put that much away of an evening.…

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Churchill as Racist: A Hard Sell

Churchill as Racist: A Hard Sell

Racist still? In “To See Humans’ Progress, Zoom Out”  (The New York Times, 26 Feb­ru­ary 2012), Pro­fes­sor Steven Pinker asserts that for all their faults, edu­cat­ed peo­ple today are get­ting better:

Ideals that today’s edu­cat­ed peo­ple take for grant­ed — equal rights, free speech, and the pri­ma­cy of human life over tra­di­tion, trib­al loy­al­ty and intu­itions about puri­ty — are rad­i­cal breaks with the sen­si­bil­i­ties of the past. These too are gifts of a widen­ing appli­ca­tion of reason.

Fair enough, but to con­trast what edu­cat­ed peo­ple were like in the bad old days, Prof.…

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“The Last Lion” Volume III is Published

“The Last Lion” Volume III is Published

Paul Reid has not written a biography, but rather an old-style “life & times” narrative with guns and bullets, political conniving, oft-repeated (but worth repeating) anecdotes, lovely touches of the personal, and the most important asset—a hero. It is a nice cruise down a rather lengthy river that you’ve sailed before. Still, it is a lovely and literate view of familiar territory that massages old stories, nurtures legends, and points gently to miscalculations and mistakes of the hero—who flawed though he was, remains a hero.

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