Churchill is generally considered one of the greatest leaders of
the twentieth century, if not the greatest of all, revered for his
opposition to appeasement, his defiance in the face of German
bombing of England, his political prowess, his deft aphorisms, and
his memorable speeches. He became the savior of his country, as
prime minister during the most perilous period in British history,
World War II, and is now perhaps even more beloved in America than
in England. And yet Churchill was also very often in the wrong: he
brazenly contradicted his own previous political stances, was a
disastrous military strategist, and inspired dislike and distrust
through much of his life. Before 1939 he doubted the efficacy of
tank and submarine warfare, opposed the bombing of cities only to
reverse his position, shamelessly exploited the researchers and
ghostwriters who wrote much of the journalism and the books
published so lucratively under his name, and had an inordinate
fondness for alcohol that once found him drinking whisky before
breakfast. When he was appointed to the cabinet for the first time
in 1908, a perceptive journalist called him "the most interesting
problem of personal speculation in English politics." More than a
hundred years later, he remains a source of adulation, as well as
misunderstanding. This revelatory new book takes on Churchill in
his entirety, separating the man from the myth that he so carefully
cultivated, and scrutinizing his legacy on both sides of the
Atlantic. In effervescent prose, shot through with sly wit,
Geoffrey Wheatcroft illuminates key moments and controversies in
Churchill's career-from the tragedy of Gallipoli, to his shocking
imperialist and racist attitudes, dealings with Ireland, support
for Zionism, and complicated engagement with European integration.
Charting the evolution and appropriation of Churchill's reputation
through to the present day, Churchill's Shadow colorfully renders
the nuance and complexity of this giant of modern politics.
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