Churchill – Roy Jenkins

You’ll recall from earlier posts that I had to eat this elephant in small bites, reading it around other books.  I can say without any reservation or purpose of evasion that I’m glad I read this.  Churchill was a fascinating human being and a spectacular Prime Minister.  While I didn’t find this to be nearly as readable as some other biographies (most of which are by the incomparable David McCullough), I do believe I have a better understanding of who he was.

I also found the perspective of the author very interesting.  Jenkins is a former Member of Parliament and Chancellor of the Exchequer (roughly analogous to our Secretary of the Treasury) for the Labour Party.  His service in Parliament also overlapped with Churchill’s.  As such, he and Churchill were on opposing political sides.  Jenkins, who also wrote a biography of a previous Prime Minister, William Gladstone, says that he came into the project believing that Gladstone was the greatest Prime Minister in the history of the United Kingdom, narrowly beating out Churchill.  He came out of the project believing that Churchill was, in fact, “the greatest human being ever to occupy 10 Downing Street.”

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One response to this post.

  1. […] may remember my effort to read at least one non-fiction book per month.  With Churchill taking up the better part of two months, I’ve fallen slightly behind the one-a-month pace. […]

    Reply

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