Steve Hayward argues that biography is an overlooked resource in the study of statesmanship. The life of Winston Churchill may be the single best example available to us of the opportunities afforded by biography. His life and works remain inexhaustibly rich and rewarding. Statesmanship itself is an overlooked field of study. Churchill’s life and works illustrate the critical importance of statesmanship in all times.
One of the books of the year is Andrew Roberts’s Winston Churchill: Walking with Destiny, forthcoming in the United States on November 6. Having been published in Great Britain on October 4, the book has been reviewed enthusiastically by Dominic Sandbrook (the Times) and Daniel Johnson (Standpoint). The book interprets the events that defined Churchill, from the Dardanelles disaster of 1915, his years in the political wilderness, and his summoning to save his country in 1940.
The Spectator’s Sam Leith interviewed the author about the Churchill biography in front of a live audience at Daunt Books in Marleybone. The interview explores Churchill’s powerful sense of personal destiny, his ambition and bravery as a soldier and a leader. Roberts emphasizes Churchill’s astounding physical courage in addition to his moral courage.
In the interview they discuss Churchill’s conviction that he was “walking with destiny” and his warnings against the Nazi threat in the 1930s. They also discuss Churchill’s enjoyment of alcohol, the charges of racism against him and the care he took with the English language in his speeches. I found Roberts’s eloquent intimacy with Churchill’s life and works moving in itself. This is great stuff.
One can track reviews and interviews related to the book via Roberts’s enjoyable Twitter feed.