THE GREAT MAN: Portrait of Winston Churchill by Robert Payne

THE GREAT MAN: Portrait of Winston Churchill

By
Email this review

KIRKUS REVIEW

Probably no one has ever talked so much or listened so little,"" Pays says of Winston Churchill in this irreverent and highly critical biography of the wartime Prime Minister. According to Payne, Churchill was a megalomaniacal snob who achieved greatness through a combination of luck, chutzpah, and smart public relations. His successes were trumpeted to the skies, and his ""disasters"" carefully minimized in his own books and those of worshipful biographers. Of course, Payne admits, there was an element of greatness there, and Churchill choreographed Great Britain through a couple of tricky wars, but which of us -- given a pair of beautiful aristocratic parents who didn't love us, a good public school, courage, ambition, intelligence, and a fixed income -- couldn't have done exactly the same thing? A combination of faint praise and nit-picking criticism, the book goes from the early Marlboroughs to the unveiling of the ""Remember Winston Churchill"" stone at Westminster Abbey without missing a single well-known incident or anecdote. It tells all that was wrong with Churchill but does not venture to guess at what the alternatives to him might have been.

Pub Date: April 26th, 1974
Publisher: Coward McCann & Geoghegan