Monday, September 27, 2010

Churchill, The Man of the Twentieth Century, And What A Man He Was

From the ridiculous to the sublime, I finish first Cheever, then Churchill.  I enjoyed Cheever more but certainly admired Churchill much more.

But Churchill taught me one thing:  I knew next to nothing about the World War I from the point of view of the British.  Plus, I really knew relatively little about World War II from the perspective of the British.  

He was the only British Prime Minister to have received the Nobel Prize in Literature and the first person to be recognizes as an honorary citizen of the United States.  He singularly impacted the twentieth century as no one else could.  He is quoted to this day. He was Prime Minister of England twice, he was listened to by everyone, loved by his countrymen, inspiring, though certainly not loved by all, but a brilliant, and incredible speaker and writer. 

His public image was first greatly damaged in the First World War in the Dardanelles as he underestimated the power of the Turks and the British suffered tremendous losses.  He again took his blows as he supported King Edward VIII in his marriage to Mrs. Wallis Simpson in 1936.  Many felt, each time, his political career was over, but as history shows, it was indeed not. He showed his resilience and became, well, Churchill.

In spite of his philandering mother, he was always faithful to his Clementine and she to him even though they had their own bedrooms right from the first.  They did have four or five children (I foget which) and adored one another.  

He took up painting in mid-life to and profesionals were more than amazed at his abilities.  He entered an amateur painters' contest anonymously and judges could not believe he was an amateur.  He painted all the rest of his life and his many paintings have sold for very high prices.  

He landscaped his own home, as well, complete with lakes he carved out himself with his own dredging machinery and walls he built himself.  He even applied to a masonry union only to be refused on general principles and not because of his lack of skill.  He was an amazing man to say the least.   

I've studied World Wars I and II a bit since and plan to do more.  I must read this book again after I do.  

I do remember one thing that wasn't mentioned in the book.  My father used to say that Roosevelt and Churchill were drunk at Yalta and sold us out to Stalin.  My dad was one interesting guy and I kinda don't want to know for sure anyway.  However read this article from a 1955 Time Magazine article.,9171,937135-1,00.html

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