Churchill died in 1965. Where was I and why do I not remember his passing? My father had a number of Churchill’s books on the bookshelves in our home, but I never opened one. As anyone else with more than a passing interest in Churchill, I’ve watched movies and documentaries about Churchill, read other books on the man, but none by him. But earlier this week, in a talk at the Atlanta WWII Roundtable, the very engaging and thoroughly informed, Emory Professor Patrick Allitt asked how many people had ever read Churchill’s book My Early Life. With only a modest show of hands in response, Allitt commanded (no, he didn’t recommend, he commanded) the audience to go immediately to the library, bookstore, or online and read the book. And so I am.
Allitt brought the statesman alive, quoting a number of Churchill’s famous lines and revealing equally fascinating but more obscure ones, mentioning the young Churchill’s firsthand battle experience from the frontlines in India, Afghanistan, and the Sudan, his leadership and unwavering stance during WWII, his writing and oratory skills which kept him in brandy and cigars, his fall from favor and return to power, and, of course America’s enduring fascination with the man who was bigger than life.
The Atlanta World War II Roundtable (atlantawwiiroundtable.org) meets monthly in Dunwoody, Georgia to honor those who served in WWII and preserve their history.
Patrick Allitt is the Cahoon Family Professor of American History at Emory University, the author of seven books, and a lecturer for “The Great Courses.” (www.thegreatcourses.com)
Read Winston Groom’s The Allies (penguinrandomhouse.com/books/575694/the-allies-by-winston-groom/9781426219665/)