Winston Churchill, Statesman and Writer
Facilitator – John M. Roberts
Dates & Times – Wednesdays, Jan. 9-30, 3-5pm
Location – Blue Hill Public Library, Howard Room
Early a problem student, later a polo-playing battle- hardened cavalry officer in and Sudan, and an embedded journalist-adventurer in Cuba and South Africa, Winston Churchill came home to Great Britain to become a flip-flopping politician who evolved into one of most revered and honored statesmen of the western world. Along the way, he read and wrote history and biography, learning strong, colorful words with which to warn of Hitler, then lead unflinchingly when war came with vengeance. This colloquy will explore Churchill’s fascinating life that culminated as Nobel laureate in literature and valiant protector of democracy.
John M. Roberts, M.D. is Emeritus Professor of Orthopaedic Surgery, Boston Medical School, and student in retirement of American history.
Primary Text: One of the following three biographies is suggested for making preparatory acquaintance with Sir Winston. They are listed in order of page length and complexity. In the words of Art Ryan: “Johnson is hard to put down; Keegan is more scholarly.” Roy Jenkins, himself a member of the House of Lords, writes with certain knowledge and accuracy, particularly of Churchill’s political career. A notebook with supplementary material will be distributed to registrants at the time of meeting. pages.
• Johnson, Paul: Churchill, Viking Penguin, 2009, 166 pages.
• Keegan, John: Winston Churchill, A Life, Penguin Books, 2002, 192 page
• Jenkins, Roy: Churchill. A Biography, Penguin Putnam, 2001, 912 pages
Secondary (Optional) Sources: Churchill wrote 42 book-length works in 72 volumes. No one can expect to wade through such a sea of words but it is rewarding to sample in small measure some of what he wrote himself. Also, an appreciation of Churchill as wordsmith can be gained by reading or listening to his speeches.
• Churchill, Winston S.: My Early Life 1874-1904, Scribner, NYC, 1996, 400 pages
• Churchill, Winston S.: The River War, CreateSpace, Charleston, 2008, 212 pages
• Churchill, Winston S.: The World Crisis 1911-1918, Free Press, New York 2005, 841 pages
• Churchill, Winston S.: Marlborough His Life and Times, University of Chicago Press, 2002, Book 1, 1050 pages; Book 2, 1080 pages.
• Churchill, Winston S.: The Second World War, Houghton Mifflin Company, Boston,1976
Volume 1 – The Gathering Storm, 601 pages
Volume 2 – Their Finest Hour, 556 pages
Volume 3 – The Grand Alliance, 629 pages
Volume 4 – The Hinge of Fate, 743 pages
Volume 5 – Closing the Ring, 559 pages
Volume 6 – Triumph and Tragedy, 584 pages
• Churchill, Winston S.: Never Give In! The Best of Winston Churchill’s Speeches, Hyperion, New York, 2003, 561 pages
Churchill’s A History of the English-Speaking Peoples, has been abridged to one-volume versions by two different editors. Lee leaves out the section on the American Civil War in an effort to publish a more “Anglo-centric” history for Americans to read.
• Lee, Christopher (Ed.), Winston Churchill: A History of the English-Speaking Peoples, Skyhorse Publishing, New York, 2011, 614 pages
• Commager, Henry S. (Ed.) Churchill’s A History of the English-Speaking Peoples, Greenwich House, New York, 1983, 466 pages
Biographies of Churchill vary in length and quality. Beyond those listed above as possible primary text, Martin Gilbert continued the multivolume work that Randolph Churchill started on his father; subsequently, Gilbert published the single volume listed below. William Manchester died in 1982 before he could finish his three-volume work; the third volume has now been finished by Paul Reid and is due out in November 2012.
• Gilbert, Martin: Churchill A Life, Henry Holt and Company, New York, 1991, 959 pages
• Manchester, William: The Last Lion Winston Spencer Churchill, Little Brown and Company, Boston
Volume 1 – Visions of Glory 1874-1932, 1983, 883 pages
Volume 2 – Alone 1932-1940, 1988, 689 pages
Volume 3 – with Reid, Paul: Defender of the Realm, 1940-1965, to be published
Testimony to the complexity of Churchill’s life and style are works by a number of authors that have attempted to analyze in depth a specific relationship or propensities. Several of these are selected below:
• Charmley, John: Churchill’s Grand Alliance. A Provocative Reassessment of the “Special Relationship” Between England and the U.S. From 1940 to 1957, Harcourt Brace, New York, 1995, 361 pages
• Clarke, Peter: Mr. Churchill's Profession: The Statesman as Author and the Book That Defined the "Special Relationship", Bloomsbury, London, 2012, 368 pages
• Gilbert, Martin: Churchill and the Jews. A Lifelong Friendship, Henry Holt and Company, New York, 2007, 309 pages
• Singer, Barry: Churchill Style: The Art of Being Winston Churchill, Abrams Image, New York, 2012, 240 pages