Churchill

The Indispensable Churchill Bibliography

Featured image Pursuant to the discussion here and the podcast Scott and I produced about Darkest Hour, a number of readers have asked for recommendations for good biographies and books about Churchill. Here are ten recommended authors and titles. Right off the top, it should be acknowledged that even the most ambitious reader might not be up to getting through all eight volumes of Martin Gilbert’s official biography (the longest biography ever »

The Power Line Show, Ep. 47: Shedding Light on ‘Darkest Hour’

Featured image Yesterday Scott and I teamed up to revive our dormant podcast to talk through our divergent opinions about Darkest Hour. I agree with Scott in one major way—that the film takes huge liberties with the facts and interpretation of things, and we spend a good deal of time breaking down some of the historical defects and explaining the deeper story behind some of the truncated and altered scenes. But we »

In Re: Darkest Hour

Featured image Darkest Hour goes into general release this Friday, but its early release in selected theaters, presumably for Oscar promotion purposes, has generated considerable controversy, which likely helps its Oscar prospects. Kyle Smith hated the film over at NRO (“An Injustice to Winston Churchill”), as did the Weekly Standard’s Jonathan Last and Sonny Bunch on the “Substandand” podcast (though John Podhoretz liked it in the Standard’s print edition review, which was »

Profiles in Liberal Condescension

Featured image Ironically, once upon a time liberals loved Winston Churchill, while many conservatives didn’t much care for him. Go back to the 1950s and you’ll see encomia to Churchill from Arthur Schlesinger and Isaiah Berlin (among others), and let’s not forget how much John F. Kennedy loved Churchill, and was disappointed he couldn’t lure Churchill to the White House on Churchill’s last visit to the U.S. in 1961. Meanwhile, many conservatives »

Robert Hardy, RIP

Featured image While we await the arrival in November of the next Churchill film, Darkest Hour, with what looks to be an extremely promising performance by Gary Oldman, let us take note of the passing a few days ago of the actor who up to now offered by far the best screen portrayal of Churchill: Robert Hardy. Turns out Hardy had been a student of both J.R.R. Tolkien and C.S. Lewis at »

Churchill, Done Right

Featured image There was a new movie about Churchill right before D-Day out this spring, starring Brian Cox as Winston, that was so bad I didn’t even bother with a smackdown here. Andrew Roberts wrote that “The only problem with the movie – written by the historian Alex von Tunzelmann – is that it gets absolutely everything wrong. Never in the course of movie-making have so many specious errors been made in »

The Question of Trump’s Consistency

Featured image Tim Alberta’s National Review article, “Conservatism in the Trump Era,” is a terrific piece of reporting, well worth taking in. Among other questions, it looks at the notion of whether the new “economic nationalism” that Trump, or at least his amanuensis Steve Bannon, is working out in real time will confound or corrupt conservatism­—or make for an enduring Republican majority that scrambles the voter alignments of the last two generations. »

Saturday Afternoon Coming Down

Featured image Scott was very kind this morning to draw attention to my Weekly Standard article “Crisis of the Conservative House Divided.” I would have done so myself, but I was on the road all day yesterday on a completely frivolous and speculative venture: I drove up to Modesto, the location where American Graffiti was filmed set, to meet up with my two best pals from high school (we call ourselves “The »

The Greatest Doctor’s Note Ever

Featured image While we ponder the medical mystery of Hillary Clinton and scour Donald Trump’s latest test results, may we pause to take in the greatest doctor’s note of all time: Which also reminds me of Churchill’s response to King Feisal of Saudi Arabia, who had told Churchill that Islam forbid drinking alcohol as they were sitting down to dinner. To which Churchill sensibly replied: “My religion commands the consumption of alcohol »

Of Churchill and chumps

Featured image President Obama’s ignorance of Winston Churchill is monumental. It is such that at his first press conference in 2009 Obama could quote Churchill in support of Obama’s high-minded approach to war: “We don’t torture.” If you know anything, and I mean anything, about Churchill, however, you know Churchill never said any such thing. I made this point at the time in “Obama veers into the Daily Ditch.” Yesterday at his »

Happy Birthday to Sir Winston

Featured image Today is the 141st birthday of Sir Winston Churchill, and as such we ought to recur once again to Leo Strauss’s eulogy, delivered in class in 1965: The death of Churchill is a healthy reminder to students of political science of their limitations, the limitations of their craft. The tyrant stood at the pinnacle of his power. The contrast between the indomitable and magnanimous statesman and the insane tyrant–this spectacle »

Moral Clarity of the Past [With Comment by John]

Featured image Scott reminded us this morning of Winston Churchill’s notice of Hitler’s Mein Kampf, suggesting that we ought to take seriously the statements of murderous purpose whether they come from a seemingly implausible Austrian-born corporal, or a soon-to-be nuclear-armed Iranian ayatollah. Of course, Mein Kampf was mostly ignored in the 1930s or dismissed as the unimportant or irrelevant thoughts that Hitler would discard once he assumed the “responsibilities” of high office. As »

A WSC Thought for the Day

Featured image “Nearly always Governments which seek peace flag in their war efforts, and Governments which make the most vigorous war preparations take little interest in peace. The two opposite moods consort with difficulty in the human mind yet it is only by the double and, as it might seem, contradictory exertion that a good result can usually be procured.” —Winston Churchill, Marlborough: His Life and Times, Vol. IV, chapter 3. »

Churchill on “A Peculiar Type of Brainy People”

Featured image As with so many other things, Churchill was on to the problem of the administrative state and today’s presumptuous liberal cosmopolitanism from early on.  A 1933 speech offers a perfect description of our Beltway mentality today: The worst difficulties from which we suffer do not come from without. They come from within. They do not come from the cottages of the wage-earners. They come from a peculiar type of brainy »

The Best #TBT Ever

Featured image Those of you who inhabit Facebook may be acquainted with the practice of “Throwback Thursday,” where typically you post old photos of yourself or something. Well, I have the ultimate Throwback Thursday item for today. I spent most of today going through a treasure trove of Harry Jaffa papers. Found this: a 1952 mash note to Prime Minister Winston Churchill. Jaffa had quoted as the frontispiece to his great first »

The Lusitania at 100

Featured image Today marks the 100th anniversary of the sinking of the Lusitania, one of the markers on the way to U.S. entry into World War I. George Will wrote about it the other day in his column, coming close but not quite embracing some of the old rumors and conspiracy charges that the British wanted the Lusitania sunk in hopes of getting the U.S. off the sidelines: It is commonly but »

Gallipoli, 100 Years On

Featured image Today marks the 100th anniversary of the beginning of the Gallipoli campaign—ANZAC Day in Australia and New Zealand, since they provided the bulk of the troops for this ill-fated venture that became known as “Churchill’s Folly.”  Anyone who has seen the early Mel Gibson film, Gallipoli, will know that the operation ended up with the same kind of trench warfare and appalling slaughter that characterized the Western Front.  The British »