What base ingratitude [corrected]

Featured image Winston Churchill held former Prime Minister Stanley Baldwin in low esteem. It might not be an exaggeration to say he reviled Baldwin. When asked to send Baldwin an 80th birthday note, Churchill declined. “I wish Stanley Baldwin no ill,” he commented, “but it would have been much better had he never lived.” Four months later, when informed that Baldwin had died, Churchill responded: “Embalm, cremate and bury. Take no chances” »

The lessons of “Casablanca”

Featured image Cliff May is founder and president of the Foundation for Defense of Democracies (FDD) and a columnist for the Washington Times. He is a veteran reporter, foreign correspondent, and editor for the New York Times and other publications. Cliff’s current column is “The lessons of ‘Casablanca'” (at FDD, where it is posted with links). Cliff has kindly given us his permission to post his column on Power Line. He writes: »

Judging Churchill

Featured image Speaking in class at the University of Chicago on January 25, 1965, Leo Strauss famously commented on Churchill’s death: The death of Churchill is a healthy reminder to academic 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 in its clear simplicity was »

A boneless wonder

Featured image Speaking in Parliament in 1931 Winston Churchill brutally disparaged the Labor Prime Minister as “a boneless wonder”: I remember when I was a child, being taken to the celebrated Barnum’s circus, which contained an exhibition of freaks and monstrosities, but the exhibit on the program which I most desired to see was the one described as “The Boneless Wonder.” My parents judged that that spectacle would be too revolting and »

Uncancelled History: Winston Churchill

Featured image The producers of Uncancelled History with Douglas Murray have just posted episode 5 on Winston Churchill. Whose brain would you want Murray to pick on Churchill? Luckily for us they thought to call on Andrew Roberts and luckily for us Roberts answered the call. Roberts is of course the prominent historian and prolific author of the one-volume bio Churchill: Walking With Destiny and related books. Murray and Roberts discuss the »

Churchill’s magnanimity

Featured image Churchill expert Richard Langworth is senior fellow at the Hilldale College Churchill Project. He wrote me yesterday after I cited Churchill’s comments on Stanley Baldwin in “What base ingratitude.” I said that Baldwin had tested the limits of Churchill’s magnanimity. My quotations from Churchill suggested that Baldwin had exceeded the limits. Mr. Langworth wrote to let me know that he had “a further refinement on that[.]” In “Churchill’s Magnanimity: Stanley »

The Inexorable Logic of Dictators

Featured image Since the start of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, and its rapid stall out from effective Ukrainian resistance, there has been a lot of talk, backed up with appropriate quotes from Sun Tzu and other classic authors on strategy, that we need to contrive some kind of graceful “offramp” for Putin. This seems like unpromising advice. Time to recall once again the counsel of Churchill, made for a foolishly hopeful American »

Leo Strauss on Churchill

Featured image There is no Churchill on the scene and there is no Hitler. Over the past week, however, I have heard the words of Leo Strauss on the death of Winston Churchill echoing in my head. Strauss made these remarks in the sixth session of his Introduction to Political Philosophy course at the University of Chicago upon hearing of Churchill’s death on January 25, 1965 (per Catherine Zuckert here). It may »

Munich, Netflix style

Featured image Netflix is streaming the movie made of Robert Harris’s Munich. The film is titled Munich: The Edge of War. Played by Jeremy Irons, Neville Chamberlain is the hero of the piece. The Free Beacon has commissioned Andrew Roberts to cast a historian’s eye on the proceedings. The heading of Roberts’s review deems it The Edge of Nonsense. Roberts is not entirely negative, but the minus outweighs the pluses: “The movie »

Getting Churchill wrong

Featured image I am familiar with Geoffrey Wheatcroft as a respected British journalist and author with a stint in editorial positions on Britain’s Spectator included on his résumé. I am therefore grateful to have Andrew Roberts send up a warning flare on Wheatcroft’s new book, Churchill’s Shadow: The Life and Afterlife of Winston Churchill. The headline of Roberts’s Spectator review poses the question “A Churchill character assassination too far?” Let us remove »

CRB: Winston is back!

Featured image We continue our preview of the new (Spring) issue of the Claremont Review of Books with Andrew Roberts’s review of a clutch of new books on, or bearing on, Winston Churchill. Roberts’s review is titled “Winston is back!” Subhead: “Churchill was filled to the brim with a love of life.” The heading of Roberts’s review is the message signalled to the fleet upon Churchill’s return to the Admiralty in 1939. »

Churchill & the Jews

Featured image Robert Frost concludes his 1916 poem “Choose Something Like a Star” with slightly ironic advice. It isn’t greeting card stuff. It can’t be taken at face value. The conclusion nevertheless comes to mind under conditions like the current panic: …when at times the mob is swayed To carry praise or blame too far, We may choose something like a star To stay our minds on and be staid. In this »

Happy Birthday, Sir Winston!

Featured image Today is Winston Churchill’s 144th birthday, though any day is worthy of recalling what I have taken to using with students on the first day of my seminar on political leadership—Leo Strauss’s famous eulogy to Churchill in the classroom at Chicago: 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 »

What’s This? The NY Times Likes Churchill Again?

Featured image I have commented frequently here and elsewhere that liberals used to love Winston Churchill, while conservatives were often lukewarm at best. (Read William F. Buckley Jr’s caustic obituary of Churchill, for example.) He was praised to the skies by Arthur Schlesinger, Isaiah Berlin, and especially John F. Kennedy. Yet the furies of leftist political correctness now require that Churchill be denounced. Time magazine, which named Churchill its “Man of the »

Walking with Destiny (& Andrew Roberts)

Featured image Andrew Roberts is the eminent historian and author of the one-volume biography of Churchill, Churchill: Walking with Destiny. By his count, it is the 1010th biography of Churchill. It was just published in the United States this past Tuesday, on election day. I can’t imagine that there is a better one-volume biography by which to reacquaint ourselves with Churchill or to luxuriate in his company for a week or two. »

Walking with destiny

Featured image 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 »

CRB: Twin peaks

Featured image This week we have previewed three stellar essays from the new (Summer) of the Claremont Review of Books (subscribe here). Forgive me for repeating myself: it is an invaluable magazine for those of us who love trustworthy essays on, and reviews of books about, politics, history, literature, and culture. We conclude our preview this week with a bonus, our own Steve Hayward’s review of Lewis Lehrman’s Lincoln & Churchill: Two »