This remains one of the great love affairs of the age. He played more and more Bezique, read more and more widely, yet paid less and less heed to government. Lack of culture, lack of time for culture, makes many contemporary politicians much smaller men and women than their predecessors. Yet it is pathetic to read of Churchill in his last phase, his grasp of issues fading, prevaricating year after year about his own resignation; driving Eden, the chosen successor, almost literally mad.
His presence. His company.
Sharon’s Poems of Life, Love, and Liberty
His support when they needed it—for instance for Macmillan on housing and defence. Even some of those most eager to remove him shared this feeling for him. As a war chronicler, Churchill was seriously hampered by the fact that he remained a practising politician, with vital interests to protect at home and abroad. I put to Gilbert some of the flaws and major omissions. Churchill was conscious of the shortcoming. But the book gave him a vehicle to write certain reflective pieces—perhaps one of the most powerful being his description of the prewar appeasement years.
Yet it contains passages that coruscate down the years. And heavens, what a lot of money it made for him.
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He needed a huge income, though, to sustain the life of a grandee in the age of the common man. But bailing Randolph out of his endless money troubles was a serious business. As he approached forty, Randolph was still making the sorts of promises to his father to mend his ways and read for the bar that Trollopian reprobates grew out of by twenty-five. He drove down to East Bergholt in Suffolk to find that he had already been preceded by a wholly characteristic note from Lady Diana Cooper:.
2 thoughts on “Liberty”
Do see him. He is full of zeal to set history right.
He has since inspired more than his share of pique from fellow historians, jealous of his energy, capacity to control material and privileged access to the Churchill papers: though no one who asked to see and to use the papers was ever refused, including A. Gilbert himself, a companionable companion whose generosity sets him apart from some academic rivals, is always game to take up the cudgels for causes that mean much to him, such as that of the Russian Jewish refuseniks.
He lived in unpretentious confusion in Hampstead, amid a predictably vast collection of Churchill books and papers. Yet he always seeks to set the debates around Churchill in perspective. It is not there. I deal with the arguments for Churchill, and against him. But then it is for the reader to make up his own mind.
They are never dull, because their subject was never dull. Gilbert makes the point that no man who reads this last volume can put it down believing that Churchill was a man who loved war. His last years of power were dominated by a personal struggle to bring together the leaders of East and West to avert it. When this article was written, Martin Gilbert was still gathering his papers in the overcrowded working room of the house in Hampstead, not yet quite finished with Churchill.
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