From History extra by Daniel Smith
He is considered one of the defining figures of the 20th century, remembered for his inspirational speeches and for leading Britain to victory in the Second World War. But you might be surprised to learn that Winston Churchill had a patchy academic record, almost married a woman other than Clementine, and was one of the first adopters of the ‘onesie’…
In the half century since he died, there can be no contemporary British figure whose story has been so scrutinized as Churchill’s. Of course he has his critics, and sometimes with good reason. He could be stubborn and impetuous, driven by ego, and sometimes unsympathetic to the plight of others (especially if they were not British, English-speaking or from a ‘Christian civilization’).
The morality of a few of his actions – such as giving permission for the blanket bombing of German cities – continues to divide opinion sharply. But few credibly argue that he was anything other than a giant figure of his age and one who, for all his faults, delivered what the British nation needed at its most acute time of crisis. How to Think Like Churchill looks at the personality traits, ideas, beliefs and some of the other key influences that informed his actions at the various stages of his life, and helped define his worldview. There emerges a figure who is nothing if not complex, combining extraordinary strengths and attributes with humbling weaknesses. For a man who had so many distinct phases to his life, it is hard to pin down exactly who the real Churchill was.
1. His childhood did little to suggest his future greatness
Categories: British History