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Winston Churchill


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Sir John Desmond Patrick Keegan (1934-2012), was one of the most distinguished contemporary military historians and was for many years the senior lecturer at Sandhurst (the British Royal Military Academy) and the defense editor of the Daily Telegraph (London). Keegan was the author of numerous books including The Face of Battle, The Mask of Command, The Price of Admiralty, Six Armies in Normandy, and The Second World War, and was a fellow at the Royal Society of Literature.


Lukacs (The Hitler of History; Five Days in London, May 1940) and Keegan (The First World War; Fields of Battle) are eminent historians whose appreciation for the character and deeds of Winston Churchill is quite evident in both of these works. While neither author shies away from discussing Churchill's flaws, it is the indomitable spirit of the prime minister that prevails in both books. According to Lukacs, it was Churchill's vision as a statesman-historian that places him at the top of the pantheon of 20th-century leaders. Unlike contemporaries Stalin, Roosevelt, or Eisenhower, Churchill fully understood the historical forces that were propelling the world toward cataclysmic changes. Thus he was an early opponent of the Hitler phenomenon and also foresaw the eventual disintegration of the Soviet Empire. Despite the overall panegyric tone of Lukacs's treatise, each chapter in this book is a tightly constructed essay based on a thorough familiarity with works by and about Churchill. Lukacs closes with his own firsthand account of attending the great man's funeral in 1965. It is a good choice for academic and larger public libraries. Copyright 2002 Cahners Business Information.

The Old Testament and The Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire were the most important influences on one of the 20th century's great wartime leaders. These books essentially created the man, argues renowned military historian Keegan (The First World War), and Churchill's own words would, in turn, be the key to his greatness: "In the end the personality of Churchill and the prose that inspired his being so interpenetrated each other as to be indistinguishable and mutually inextricable." This is somewhat ironic, Keegan shows in his concise, elegant biography, as Churchill (1874-1965) was a middling student who barely passed the entrance exam for military college. But his one love was history from his voracious, lifelong reading he gained a profound belief in Britain's glorious destiny. Keegan traces the familiar formative events in the future prime minister's life. During the Boer War, he was taken prisoner and his daring escape made him a national hero. After winning election to Parliament (as a Conservative) in 1900, Churchill began his political career championing social reforms that would help the working class. Indeed, his views were so pro-worker that he temporarily switched to the Labour Party. As Hitler rose to power, Churchill began a long, frustrating campaign calling for military preparedness in order to meet the growing fascist threat. Churchill's genius, Keegan stresses, was in his ability to communicate his vision of Britain as a glorious nation with a great civilizing mission, and the book does an excellent job describing his subject's rhetorical power. This is a pithy, highly accessible biography that can be enjoyed over a couple of sittings. (On sale Oct. 14) Copyright 2002 Cahners Business Information.

"An accomplished and seductive book."
-The Times Literary Supplement

"Stands out as a model of insightfulness about an immense historical personality who helped to shape the world we live in."
-The Economist "Masterfully covers nearly all aspects of Churchill's illustrious career with knowledgeable insight and sympathy."

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