s To view and search these “Works about,” please visit the Bibliography at the Hillsdale College Churchill Project. Herewith, some comments and a few sample entries.
In 2018, Andrew Roberts wrote in Churchill: Walking with Destiny, works about Sir Winston Churchill topped 1000. This catalogue piles on, listing more than 1100, nearly 900 of which we have annotated. Winston Churchill was the subject of his first biography in 1905 when he was 30 years old. The flow hasn’t stopped. Here in the 21st century, 100 years later, some years see over 20 new Churchill titles.
The word “works” denotes any item individually published, from brief pamphlets to books large and small. Compiling and describing them is the purpose of this online listing, which will be updated seriatim. I hope it will serve as a living guide to the vast literature on the Greatest Briton.
This catalogue would not exist without the efforts of two bibliographic pioneers, H. Ashley Redburn (1914-1996) and Curt J. Zoller (1920-2014). They worked separately, and then together, updating their findings through the Churchill Societies. Curt also co-authored (with Michael McMenamin) Becoming Winston Churchill: The Untold Story of Winston and his American Mentor. Ashley’s work abides, not least with the Hillsdale College Churchill Project. See “Remembering Richard Haking: The General Who Saved Churchill’s Life.”
Curt Zoller’s Annotated Bibliography of Works about Sir Winston S. Churchill (M.E. Sharpe, 2004) contains the full publishing history of works through that date. It also offers several additional lists not covered here: books and articles “substantially about” Churchill (e.g., the Alanbrooke Diaries); reviews of Churchill’s own works; dissertations and theses. His book remains available, and is the best source for this data.
For books with contributions, all contributors are identified, although their full titles may be edited for space. The word “Reprints” means only that a work was reprinted, hardbound or softbound. Consult the Zoller Bibliography for complete publishing histories. The word “e-book” indicates either a Kindle or other electronic edition.
Annotations (✸) and Acknowledgements
Annotations were written only for books personally examined. Through 2004, all save a handful (bylined) were written by me for Zoller Section A: “Works Entirely about Winston S. Churchill.” From 2005 on, bylines are supplied, most frequently: Antoine Capet (AC), Paul H. Courtenay (PHC), Michael McMenamin (McM), William John Shepherd (WJS) and myself (RML). Other bylines are spelled out. Links to reviews are provided for Hillsdale and other publications with which the writers are connected.
The efforts and assistance of many contributors were profound. I am particularly grateful to Antoine Capet, Dave Turrell, Soren Geiger, and the Hillsdale College Churchill Fellows for kind assistance and corrections. Professor James Muller, University of Alaska, Anchorage, valuably proofread and made numerous corrections. The remaining errors are all mine. —Richard M. Langworth
How to search the list.
Click here. Please do not attempt to find items by scrolling. Instead, use the search box on your browser. On Macs, click “Apple-f.” A box will appear where you can enter an author, title, date or topic. PCs offer similar browser searches.
Sample entries from first to last
Scott, A. MacCallum. Winston Spencer Churchill. London: Methuen, 1905, 270 pp. ✸ The first biography, written by an admirer when Churchill was only 31. Though untainted by knowledge of future greatness, the author wrote favorably about young Winston and predicted that he would eventually become prime minister.
Sydenham of Combe, Col. The Lord, et al. ‘The World Crisis’ by Winston Churchill: A Criticism. London: Hutchinson, 192 pp., 1928. Reprints. ✸ A critique of Churchill’s The World Crisis, vol. 3, 1916-1918. Contributors also consider the Dardanelles campaign in Churchill’s vol. 2. An important critical work, sufficiently powerful that Churchill replied to it in part in his 1931 abridged edition of The World Crisis. Contributors: Admiral Sir R. Bacon: “Mr. Churchill and Jutland.” Major-General Sir W.D. Bird: “Mr. Churchill’s Opinions: Some Other Points of View.” Major-General Sir F. Maurice: “Joffre, Galliéni and the Marne.” Sir Charles Oman: “The German Losses on the Somme.” Lord Sydenham of Combe: “Mr. Churchill as Historian.”
Unknown. Winston Churchill: Mein Bundesgenosse. Aussprüche aus zwei Jahrzehnten [Winston Churchill: My Ally. Sayings of Two Decades]. Berlin: Nibelungen Verlag, 1942, 110 pp., softbound, text in German; several translations, including Mon Allié Staline in French. ✸ Forward by “Victor” [Arnold Littmann]. German propaganda, quoting Churchill’s anti-Bolshevik writings from pre-World War II years, with reproductions of political cartoons, which offer many a ripe irony indeed. The “Ally” was Stalin.
Coote, Colin R. and Batchelor, Denzil, eds. Maxims and Reflections of the Rt. Hon. Winston S. Churchill. London: Eyre and Spottiswoode, 1947, 176 pp. Reprints through 1992. ✸ The first book of Churchill quotations, and still a model of the genre. Coote, a friend of Churchill’s with a long tenure at London’s Daily Telegraph, diligently sought the most interesting expressions from Churchill’s speeches and writings, verifying his citations, arranging them by general categories and adding accompanying notes. And so this became an authoritative source, a first.
Taylor, Robert Lewis. Winston Churchill: An Informal Study of Greatness. Garden City, New York: Doubleday, 1952, 434 pp. Reprints through 1961. Retitled The Amazing Mr. Churchill, 1962. Translations: German, Hebrew, Norwegian, Spanish, Swedish. ✸ Outwardly bearing every sign of a postwar potboiler, this is actually a scholarly anecdotal biography in which Taylor found and quoted people who knew Churchill as far back as the Boer War. Though hampered by the lack of footnotes, index and bibliography, it offers many unique sources.
Urquhart, Fred, compiler. WSC: A Cartoon Biography. London: Cassell, 1955, 242 pp. ✸ Published to mark Churchill’s 80th birthday, this is still a standard work on Churchill political cartoons. Sources run from Nazi to Tory, Liberal to Bolshevik, tracing Churchill’s entire career from youthful war correspondent to postwar Prime Minister. Explanatory notes by the editor place each illustration in context and credit the artist and publication.
Thompson, R.W. The Yankee Marlborough. London: George Allen and Unwin; Garden City, New York: Doubleday, 1963, 364 pp. Translations: French. ✸ A critique perhaps overly based on recollections of Churchill’s rueful ex-friend Desmond Morton, who was dropped by WSC and never got over it. Thompson contends that WSC’s American blood gave him energy, his British blood romance, but Kirkus Reviews dissented: “That Churchill is egocentric is not a new charge, but that his was a narcissism so complete that the only person capable of interrupting his self-adoration was his Nanny is a charge repeated and examined at ridiculous length.”
The Official Biography
At over twenty million words in thirty-one volumes, recently completed by Hillsdale College Press, this is the longest biography in history. For clarity and simplicity, we list first the eight narrative volumes, followed by their supporting document volumes. The term “official” does not mean that the authors were obliged to take an authorized line or avoid certain subjects, because they never were. To order copies, click here.
The Narrative Volumes
Churchill, Randolph S. Winston S. Churchill, vol. 1: Youth 1874-1900. London: Heinemann; Boston: Houghton Mifflin (also published by Houghton Mifflin for the Literary Guild), 1966. Hillsdale, Mich.: Hillsdale College Press, 2006. 608 pp. ✸ Based on thousands of papers in the Churchill Archives and other sources, Randolph Churchill’s work was received with general praise. Generally positive, though not without criticism, it reflects the theme of the work, “He shall be his own biographer,” but Randolph added his own literary style.
The Document Volumes
Gilbert, Martin and Arnn, Larry P., eds. The Churchill Documents, Vol. 23, Never Flinch, Never Weary, October 1951-January 1965. Hillsdale, Mich., Hillsdale College Press, 2019, 2488 pp. ✸ Reviewed by Hillsdale: This final volume covers the advent of the Cold War, Britain’s relations with the United States and Europe, the maintenance and dissolution of Empire. Many documents deal with domestic issues and so with Britain’s economic predicament. The issues of state he dealt with as prime minister frequently intersected with Churchill’s huge social network and private life. Unique among his contemporaries, his politics, economics, social and private life greatly overlapped, so they are not easily separated. Never Flinch, Never Weary bears testimony to Churchill’s fertile mind, social inclinations and action-driven personality. —Klaus Larres
Manchester, William. The Last Lion: Winston Spencer Churchill, vol. 1: Visions of Glory 1874-1932. Boston and Toronto: Little Brown, 1983, 974 pp. Churchill: The Last Lion. London: Michael Joseph. Translations: Italian, French. Many editions since. ✸ Manchester’s lyrical biography makes for fabulous reading; the prologue accurately captures the vanished world into which Churchill was born better than any other work. Given short shrift by academics, the author was accused of hagiography (though he is sometimes quite critical), purple prose and mistakes large and small. Manchester has nonetheless brought more people to Churchill than any writer save Martin Gilbert.
Gilbert, Martin. In Search of Churchill: A Historian’s Journey. London: HarperCollins, 338 pp. New York: John Wiley, 1994, 416 pp. Reprints, e-book. ✸ The official biographer’s fascinating adventures and interviews in the process of compiling the official biography. This is also Gilbert’s answer to critics over the years who accused him of being uncritical about a man others have spent years denouncing. Having examined more evidence than anyone in writing the official biography, Gilbert states that he came away even more impressed with Churchill’s intellect, generosity, statesmanship and humanity. Cited by many as the best Churchill book of 1994, and especially useful to the scholar interested in primary source material.
Cohen, Ronald I. Bibliography of the Writings of Sir Winston Churchill. London: Thoemmes; New York: Continuum, 3 vols., 2006, 2184 pp. ✸ The product of thirty years’ research and collecting, this is the ultimate and ever-standard bibliography of Churchill’s writings, encompassing Churchill’s published books, pamphlets, leaflets, contributions, articles, speeches, letters, memoranda and statements, together with the circumstances of publication. Its publication put all previous attempts at bibliography in the shade, and it will forever be consulted as the “last word.” —RML
Leaming, Barbara. Churchill Defiant: Fighting On: 1945-1955. New York: HarperCollins, 2010, 368 pp. Reprints, e-book. ✸ The personal dimension helps make this the most important survey of Churchill’s last active decade. Valuable to those new to Churchill because of its keen insight into his lifelong defiance of long odds and formidable adversaries. No footnotes and lots of speech paraphrasing allow Leaming to get to the kernel of WSC in those years, and so to his final goal, peace. —RML
Arnn, Larry P. Churchill’s Trial: Winston Churchill and the Survival of Free Government. Nashville: Thomas Nelson, 2015, 240 pp. Reprints, e-book. ✸ Reviewed by Hillsdale: Churchill studies can reveal important lessons that remain powerfully relevant for the leaders and citizens of free societies. This notion is itself founded on the belief that though the threats to civilization may have altered since Churchill’s day, there is consistency between his challenges and ours—that he is a good guide to follow in the cause of defending freedom. So such a belief must lie behind any conception of history as providing guidance. If these commonalities do not exist, neither Churchill’s story, nor history in general, has anything to say to us now. A unique and important work on Churchill’s political thought. —Justin D. Lyons
Roberts, Andrew. Churchill: Walking with Destiny. London: Allen Lane; New York: Viking, 2018, 1152 pp. Reprints, softbound, e-book. ✸ Reviewed by Hillsdale; for a second Hillsdale review click here): What can justify another big biography? New sources, for one thing. But the real justification is that this book is excellent—the best biography since Sir Martin Gilbert’s Churchill: A Life (1991). It has the adventure, energy, and incessant movement that Churchill produced. It is witty, fluent, and precise, in rhythm with the material. We gallop across decades and through the largest episodes in history. It is devoid of the smug second guessing that we all may commit. It is the product of a massive and faithful labor. Roberts tells the story of a wonderful life with accuracy and dash, with richness and comprehension. It raises all the questions and provides the material for their contemplation. —Larry P. Arnn
Vale, J. Allister and Scadding, John W. Winston Churchill’s Illnesses 1886-1965. Barnsley, Yorks.: Frontline, 2020, 522 pp. ✸ Reviewed by Hillsdale: A thoroughgoing forensic examination of Churchill’s maladies from boyhood to old age. As a result we have the standard work in this field. Combines professional commentary with layman’s terms, so no reader will be lost in medical technology. Also provides names of diseases and drugs as well as people and places, and the images include many physicians mentioned. No serious Churchill scholar will now be able routinely to quote Lord Moran (1966) without acknowledging the decisive caveats introduced by this new work. —Antoine Capet