By BRADLEY P. TOLPPANEN
Von Heyking offers an interesting scholarly work that places Churchill’s many political friendships within a philosophical grounding.
Tags: Andrew Roberts, Daimonism, Duke of Marlborough, F.E. Smith, Franklin Roosevelt, Lord Beaverbrook, Lord Birkenhead, Max Aitken, Plato, Prince Eugene of Savoy, Roy Jenkins, The Other Club, Wendell Wilkie, William III, Winston S. Churchill,
By BARRY GOUGH
The name of Admiral of the Fleet Lord Fisher, commonly known as “Jacky,” was on the lips of everyone who cared about the Royal Navy. Fisher’s resignation in May 1915, at a critical stage of the Dardanelles campaign, had led to Churchill’s removal as First Lord of the Admiralty. That post constituted the political head of naval administration, with a prominent position in Cabinet. It offered unbounded influence in all aspects of war direction. Fisher had been at that time First Sea Lord, the senior naval officer. Churchill brought the famous Admiral out of retirement in October 1914 to put zeal and drive into naval affairs. Fisher arrived at a time of misadventure.
By RON CYNEWULF ROBBINS & RICHARD M. LANGWORTH
There was no more enigmatic figure in Churchill’s life than Brendan Bracken, who cloaked his birth and upbringing with mystery while hinting broadly that he was the great man’s illegitimate son. It is well-authenticated that close friendship, not errant fatherhood, encompassed their relationship. But Churchill, with characteristic impishness, apparently never gave the direct lie to Bracken’s implied claim. This annoyed Churchill’s wife and peeved his son, Randolph, who spoke satirically of “my brother, the bastard.” To quell the noisome rumor Churchill quipped: “I have looked the matter up, but the dates don’t coincide.”
By PAUL H. COURTENAY
Winston Churchill had met Jan Christian Smuts when he returned from the Boer War in 1900. Elected to Parliament at the end of that year, he never again visited South Africa. Yet that country was to play an important part in his life for the next fifty years.
By RICHARD M. LANGWORTH
He combined two qualities: generous loyalty to those he loved, and an acid tongue and pen for those he didn’t. Most of the latter, I tend to think, richly deserved what they got. Randolph Churchill’s public persona was based on the latter quality. In the mid-1950s, surgery revealed that a tumor on his lung was benign. His friend Evelyn Waugh burst into the bar at White’s Club: “They’ve cut out the only part of Randolph that isn’t malignant!”
By RICHARD M. LANGWORTH
A popular weekly half hour podcast, Revisionist History takes aim at shibboleths, real and imagined. This episode is Churchill’s turn in the barrel. The villain, aside from Sir Winston, is his scientific adviser, Frederick Lindemann, later Lord Cherwell, aka “The Prof.” You’ve probably never heard of him, says narrator Malcolm Gladwell. You should have. It was Lindemann who made Churchill bomb innocent German civilians and starve the Bengalis. Accompanied by background music, uplifting or ominous as required, Mr. Gladwell unfolds his case. He claims to have read six books on Lord Cherwell (whose title he mispronounces). But his only two quoted sources are the British scientist C.P. Snow (very selectively; Snow admired Churchill); and Madhusree Mukerjee, author of a widely criticized book on the Bengal Famine. There are no contrary opinions or evidence.