Tuesday, December 30, 2014

The Churchill Factor

Boris's New Book

This is an outstanding book that crackles with insight on every page. Boris Johnson, the mayor of London, writes about WSC with verve and flair. As a fellow politician, he writes from a perspective that shows his strong empathy for the greatest Briton of all time.  Does Boris wish to follow in WSC's footsteps and serve as Prime Minister?  Most likely the answer is "yes".

Johnson points out Churchill's remarkable and undeniable physical courage. He notes that when WSC was learning to fly aeroplanes one in 5,000 flights was fatal while 1 in 14 million bicycle rides in today's London is fatal. His aeroplane adventures make harrowing reading. Churchill's life story is not merely a political tract; it is one of the greatest adventure stories of all time.

Johnson has great admiration for his subject, but he is not afraid to point out WSC's many failings. WSC was politically disloyal, wrong on Gallipoli, bone-headed on India, given to racist pronouncements, frequently wrong on wartime strategy -- in short he was human. In spite of these failings he was the one man who was capable of leading Britain during her maximum crisis in 1940. By doing so, he also assumed moral leadership of all freedom-loving peoples and we remain forever in his debt. Churchill was not great because of his flaws, but rather in spite of them. Revisionist historians who belabor his failings utterly miss the essential point about this great and good man.

Boris Johnson
Mayor of London
It is absurd to flail Churchill for his "racism" and "militarism" while missing the obvious fact that a victory by Hitler would have meant the triumph of the most virulent form of racist militarism ever seen on the planet.

My only real quibble with the book is its omission of the strange case of Rudolph Hess (http://americanconservativeinlondon.blogspot.com/2013/12/hess-hitler-churchill.html). Johnson covers the familiar ground of Halifax's challenge in the spring of 1940. No doubt this was the critical time for Britain. He could have pressed his points even further by mentioning Hess' peace mission of May 1941 and Churchill's indomitable opposition to these overtures.

Johnson notes that Churchill would frequently scrawl the initials KBO onto memos that he received. This stood for "Keep Buggering On" -- words to live by.

Churchill was a factor in the making of the modern world in countless ways. For better or worse, he shaped the modern middle east.  Johnson notes also that John Lennon's middle name was...Winston.

CK with WSC's grave at Bladon


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2 comments:

Tom Winmill said...

Another good one recently published, "Churchill: The Prophetic Statesman" by Humes, should be read by those who have already re-read the prior 2.6 million books by and about WSC.

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