What price Churchill?

Ted Bromund notes that upon entering office President Obama returned a bronze bust of Winston Churchill that had been on loan as a symbol of the Special Relationship from the British Government to the United States since 9/11. According to Newsweek’s report, a White House spokesman says the Churchill bust was removed before Obama’s inauguration as part of the usual changeover operations.

Among the thoughtful gifts Prime Minister Brown gave Barack Obama during Brown’s just-concluded visit to Washington was the complete authorized biography of Winston Churchill. The project was initially undertaken by Churchill’s son Randolph, who completed the first two volumes. The project was then picked up by Martin Gilbert, who brought it to completion in the six remaining volumes.

The biography is a monument of modern historical scholarship. Gilbert writes that in his Churchill researches between 1968 and 1988 he read every page of an estimated fifteen tons of documentation: “The material available in archives — including, particularly for Churchill, at Churchill College, Cambridge, and in the vast Public Record Office in London — is formidable and revealing — revealing of every facet of policymaking, of success and failure, of friendship and opposition, of cause and effect, of mood and motive.”

The gift of the biography is not only a generous gift in itself, it would also provide an education that Obama badly needs if he would only avail himself of it. That was in part the point of Ted Bromund’s commentary on Brown’s gifts. But was the gift of the Churchill biography also a subtle dig at Obama for returning the Churchill bust? Diana West holds that it was.

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