WINSTON CHURCHILL AND THE STORY OF TWO WORLD WARS by Olivia Coolidge

WINSTON CHURCHILL AND THE STORY OF TWO WORLD WARS

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KIRKUS REVIEW

Winston Churchill is once more exposed to biographical study -- in an eminently readable and informal portrait. Coolidge makes his sure-fire subject the focal point around which revolved the Boer War and two world wars. The author, eloquent in his admiration for Sir Winston, records the years when the son of Lord Randolph Churchill was thought stupid because he couldn't master his latin nor pronounce his ""s""'s. Speech was always to be a sort of nemesis for Churchill who, Cassandralike, a man ahead of his time, used his courage, knowledge and imagination in an attempt to awaken his people to impending crisis. Brilliant and quick thinking with a phenomenal perceptivity, he was thought brash and even unthinking. During the Boer War, he was mocked by his own people for suggesting that one armed Boer was equal to four or five British soldiers, pleading with England to utilize no less than a quarter of a million soldiers if they were to know victory. Similarly, in 1946, while delivering a speech at Westminster College in Fulton, Missouri, he warned the United States of an aggressive Russia and spoke of an ""iron curtain"" descending across the Continent. We shouted war-monger, trouble-maker, and scorned the ""old-fashioned"" politican. Olivia Coolidge asserts that even Churchill's blunders were essentially pieces of brilliant strategy thwarted by ill luck. According to the author, who makes no attempt at objectivity, one of Churchill's greatest weaknesses was his failure to realize that ""torrents of eloquence were apt to roll over opposition without converting"" -- he was overeager, self-confident, and enthusiastic, but often alone.

Pub Date: Sept. 14th, 1960
Publisher: Houghton Mifflin