Endless Churchill

Churchill remains a figure of fascination, especially for Americans. Five new books should sate our appetites for awhile.

Issue: Winter 2002-2003

Roy Jenkins, Churchill: A Biography (New York: Farrar, Straus & Giroux, 2001), 736 pp., $28.

Geoffrey Best, Churchill: A Study in Greatness (Rio Grande, oh: Hambledon Press, 2002), 384 pp., $21.

John Keegan, Winston Churchill: A Penguin Lives Biography (New York: Viking Press, 2002), 208 pp., $19.95.

John Lukacs, Churchill: Visionary. Statesman. Historian (New Haven: Yale University Press, 2002), 200 pp., $15.

Klaus Larres, Churchill's Cold War: The Politics of Personal Diplomacy (New Haven: Yale University Press, 2002), 592 pp., $40.

Winston Churchill would be pleased. His age has vanished but the memory of him has not. The German wars, the Iron Curtain, the Cold War, the "balance of terror" and even-alas, he would say-the British Empire now belong to history. Churchill himself, on the other hand, continues to excite enormous interest, especially on this side of the Atlantic.

American fascination with Churchill has much to do with our own character. We greatly admire leaders who do the right thing despite overwhelming odds, such as those faced by Churchill's Britain in 1940. We dislike politicians as a rule, except for the colorful and talented ones. Few have ever matched Churchill's range-orator, author, painter, wit, bon vivant, sage and seer.

You must be a subscriber of The National Interest to access this article. If you are already a subscriber, please activate your online access. Not a subscriber? Become a subscriber today!