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Saturday, 21 February 2015

Boris Johnson - The Churchill Factor

 Book review written by Brian Lowen and read live by him on the bookshow 19th Feb 2015.
This book is sub-titled : How One Man made History and as you read this book you see how that is true. This country always seems to produce the right person at the right time and that is certainly true in the case of Winston Spencer Churchill.

Of course there is no need to tell you what the book is about but this is not another long biography of the great man, but here is Boris writing in his easy to read manner telling us what a great man he was, picking out all his good points, but also his mistakes.

It starts off in 1940 when this country was at war with Germany and our army had been routed in France and Dunkirk was on the doorstep. There was a great movement in Government, led by Lord Halifax, to accept terms of peace offered by Hitler, through an Italian intermediary.

Churchill went into a terrible rage when he heard this discussed in cabinet. He had been warning them for many years of the threat from Germany and arguing that we should be increasing our forces and armaments to be able to withstand this increasing threat but all to no avail. He had however, as First Lord of the Admiralty ensured that the Navy was up to scratch.

Churchill outlined to the Cabinet, in a very forceful and impassioned speech, what it would be like to become a puppet

state ruled by Hitler. At the end of the speech, the whole Cabinet applauded him and as no one else wanted the job, he was appointed Prime Minister and went on to lead this country through many troubled years until eventually achieving victory.

The book deals with many other events, other than the war. For instance his great writing ability in turning out a prodigious amount of words – more than Shakespeare and Dickins combined. He was horrified by the terrible carnage in the first world war and actually invented the tank along with a group of boffins.

After the war as Colonial Secretary he introduced the phrase “Middle East” and drew up the boundaries of several Arabian states and formed the country of Israel, but did not foresee the terrible fighting this would produce. He also produced the phrase “Iron Curtain” which was falling across Europe in an impassioned speech to the American Congress.

I could go on and list many more of his achievements but to realise what a great man he was you really should read this admirable book. I liked the summing up in the final chapter:
Britain = the greatest Empire the world has ever seen.
Churchill = the greatest man in the British Empire.
Therefore Churchill = the greatest man in the history of the world.

All I can say is “Thank you Gill” for buying me this wonderful book for Christmas.
Everybody should read it to realise just how much history owes to this one man.

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