Kirkus Reviews QR Code
ASSIGNMENT: CHURCHILL by Inspector Walter Henry Thompson



Pub Date: Jan. 20th, 1954
Publisher: Farrar, Straus & Young

When word came to Inspector Thompson that his next assignment would be as bodyguard to Churchill, he had Just come off duty lurking in the shrubbery outside Chequers, the prime minister's country estate, established when Lloyd George was in office. Thompson knew of Churchill as a young, ambitious and taxing cabinet minister and states firmly that the next 19 years of tagging Churchill changed his whole life and personality. We can see how it easily would. From the beginning pages, Thompson's hectic duties as protector, as a warder-off of danger, as a man whose presence was always required but never quite welcome, as teacher with a stick to an often errant pupil- had their problems. A unique picture of Churchill emerges from the guardsman's autobiography. He is impressed by the great and enduring qualities that made Churchill the man he was but through daily contact he became aware of the human Churchill- playing jokes, wandering off when he shouldn't, painting, making the occasional excessive personal demands that irritated his entourage, chatting amicably with T.E. Lawrence, or Roosevelt, or Thompson himself- when he was not shaping the course of international events. Mr. Thompson's memoirs are amusing and fascinating and by no means devoid of the larger questions to which his watchings were a periphery. Good reading.