Winston Churchill, Myth and Reality

What He Actually Did and Said


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About the Book

Winston Churchill, indispensable when liberty was in peril, died in 1965. Yet he is still accused of numerous sins, from alcoholism and racism to misogyny and warmongering. On the Internet, he simmers in a stew of imagined misdeeds—using poison gas, firebombing Dresden, causing the Bengal famine, and so on. Drawing on the author’s fifty years of research and writing on Churchill, this book uncovers scores of myths surrounding him—the popular and the obscure—to reveal what he really said and did about many issues. Churchill had two personas—one that thought deeply about the nature of humanity, and one that helped solve seemingly intractable problems. In his many decades in public life, he made mistakes, but his faults were well eclipsed by his virtues.

About the Author(s)

Richard M. Langworth founded in 1968 the Churchill Study Unit and its journal, Finest Hour, which he edited for 35 years. Since 2014 he has been Senior Fellow for the Churchill Project at Hillsdale College in Michigan. He lives in Moultonborough, New Hampshire, and Eleuthera, Bahamas.

Bibliographic Details

Richard M. Langworth
Format: softcover (7 x 10)
Pages: 256
Bibliographic Info: 34 photos, appendices, notes, bibliography, index
Copyright Date: 2018 [2017]
pISBN: 978-1-4766-7460-5
eISBN: 978-1-4766-2878-3
Imprint: McFarland

Table of Contents

Preface 1

Part 1. Youth
1. “Chief leader of men” 5
2. Jennie’s Indiscretions, Jack’s Parentage 9
3. The Menace of Education 13
4. What Killed Lord Randolph? 19

Part 2. Young Statesman
5. Votes for Women 25
6. The Sinking of the Titanic 31
7. The Unpleasantness on Sidney Street 35
8. “The sullen feet of marching men in Tonypandy” 39
9. Ireland: “We could never have done anything without him” 43

Part 3. World War I
10. “All his war paint” 49
11. The Defense of Antwerp 55
12. “What about the Dardanelles?” 60
13. Losing the Lusi 69
14. America and World War I 74
15. Chemical Warfare 80

Part 4. Between the World Wars
16. “Taking more out of alcohol” 85
17. The Bolshevik Menace 91
18. Trial by Jewry 95
19. The Trouble with Mr. Gandhi 100
20. Mussolini, Lawgiver and Jackal 106
21. Hitler as a “Great Contemporary” 113

Part 5. World War II
22. The Voice They Heard 119
23. “Collar the lot” 124
24. Torturous Topics 128
25. The Bombing of Coventry 132
26. The Second Front Fracas 137
27. Mad Bomber 143
28. Starving the Indians 149
29. The Brain in Spain Was Absent from the Plane 155
30. The Destruction of Monte Cassino 158
31. What to Do About Auschwitz? 163
32. Feeding the Oppressed 168

Part 6. Postwar Years
33. Spheres of Influence 171
34. Nuking Moscow 176
35. Trouble ’n’ Strife 181
36. On European Union 186
37. The Common Touch 191

Appendix 1. Minor Myths, Fables and Things That Go Bump in the Night 197
Appendix 2. Red Herrings: Mythological Churchill Quotes 207
Appendix 3. The Hillsdale College Churchill Project 221
Chapter Notes 223
Bibliography 238
Index 243

Book Reviews & Awards

  • Choice Outstanding Academic Title
  • “With close attention to detail and context, Langworth effectively demolishes many core myths repeatedly used to launch personal and political assaults against Churchill…the great value of the book is that it invites readers to put Churchill’s decisions and actions into the context that surrounded them. A required addition to any collection on Churchill…essential”—Choice
  • “this book will be consulted by every person eager to find the truth about one ‘Great Man’ of history”—The International Churchill Society
  • “absolutely remarkable…both the work of a lifetime and a labor of love…unreservedly recommended…should also be required reading in all Schools of Journalism”—Cercles
  • “Langworth has taken Churchill out of the clutches of both the worshipful and the iconoclasts, thus giving him over to the appreciative…those who can look at him, warts and all.”—Warren Kimball, Churchill & Roosevelt: The Complete Correspondence
  • “No one knows more about Winston Churchill than Langworth, his vicar on earth. This superb book lays bare the lies, but also reveals new truths about The Greatest Englishman.”—Andrew Roberts, New-York Historical Society
  • “Langworth, a lifelong student of Churchill, strips away the falsehoods that belittle the personality, the career and the greatness of this giant historical figure.”—Paul Addison, University of Edinburgh