Your generous support will build an endowment to fund national conferences, student scholarships, a faculty chair, and the completion and publication of The Official Biography of Winston Churchill.
Hillsdale & Statesmanship
The study of statesmanship is central to the teaching mission of Hillsdale College, and the classics teach that the art can be best understood by studying those who have a reputation for it.
Churchill’s career presents an unsurpassed opportunity for the study of statesmanship, for he faced the great crises of the twentieth century and left behind one of the richest records of human undertaking.
Churchill & Hillsdale
Hillsdale College will promote a proper account of this record by combining the College’s educational expertise with its work both as publisher of Churchill’s Official Biography and as the repository of the Martin Gilbert papers.
It’s not unusual for leaders with powerful egos and passionate views to prefer the company and advice of close and trusted friends over that of professional advisors or experienced experts. This can have positive results, perhaps shaking up a moribund bureaucracy or forcing radical new approaches to issues mired in the mud of conventional thinking. But it can also lead to disillusion or disaster. Fateful Questions, September 1943 to April 1944, volume 19 in Hillsdale’s series of The Churchill Documents, provides many examples of how Churchill’s decision-making was favorably influenced by close advisors.
Although Winston Churchill and George Orwell never met or even corresponded, the American military historian Thomas Ricks has linked them in a book subtitled The Fight for Freedom. He fully accepts that they were “vastly dissimilar men, with very different life trajectories.” Churchill, the older by twenty-eight years, was much more robust, extroverted and oratorically fluent than Orwell, whom Ricks depicts as having a “phlegmatic and introverted personality.” It is true that Orwell named the hero of 1984 “Winston,” and that Churchill enjoyed the book so much he read it twice. But is that really enough of a connection to justify an entire book?
“The premise of the work is hardly original: Churchill, we are told, was personally and solely responsible for both the ill-fated Dardanelles offensive and the disastrous Gallipoli campaign that followed from it. This charge has haunted Churchill since 1915. But according to Curran, historians writing since the late 1960s—when British official records were opened to public scrutiny —have not recognized the full extent of Churchill’s culpability. Curran’s mission is to set the record straight.”
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