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Finest Hour 156

Finest Hour 156, Autumn 2012

Page 16

“It is as if the world has not moved” - Great Contemporaries: Seventy-five Years On

By H. Ashley Redburn

The late Henry Ashley Redburn OBE, of Rutland and Hampshire, England, compiled the first bibliograhy of works about Sir Winston Churchill. He was a constant contributor, adviser and friend to Finest Hour and its editors, Dalton Newfield and Richard Langworth, from 1970 until his death in the mid-1980s, always providing superbly written prose with precisely the word count needed. Great Contemporaries (Cohen A105) was originally published in 1937 by Thornton Butterworth, London, and Putnams, New York. The new edition was published by ISI Books in 2012: softbound, illustrated, 506 pages, $22, member price $17.60.



The first appearance of Great Contemporaries included twenty-one studies, while the 1938 "revised extended edition" offers a further four which comprise valuable entries on Fisher, Baden-Powell, Parnell and Franklin Delano Roosevelt. [The ISI edition adds five very significant sketches although one is mystified by the omission of Carson and his influence on the Irish problem. The biographies, mostly about men whom Churchill knew intimately, are of unique value. Churchill's wit is never better illustrated than in his essay on the only man of letters included, George Bernard Shaw, whom from Churchill's canon: H.G. Wells, Charlie Chaplin, Kitchener, Kipling and King Edward VIII. —Ed.] Each study first appeared as an article. As detailed in the he treats not as a dramatist but as a strange political creature, "the unique double-headed chameleon, the acquisitive capitalist yet sincere communist...the world's most famous clown and Pantaloon in one." But there runs through this, and indeed all the pieces, emendations based on new information. Unhappily, the article on Lloyd George (from the series "Great Men of Our Time") is omitted, but this one and others excluded can be read in the four-volume Collected Essays of Sir Winston Churchill (London: Library of Imperial History, 1975).

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Finest Hour 156, Autumn 2012

Page 50

A Great Deal of Substance and a Certain Amount of Spin

British Prime Ministers and Democracy: From Disraeli to Blair, by Roland Quinault. Continuum, hardbound, 302 pp., $120, Kindle edition $14.82.

By William John Shepherd

Mr. Shepherd is an associate archivist at The Catholic University of America. Washington.



Professor Quinault has written widely on British politics and leaders, with sympathetic studies of Gladstone and Churchill. Here he examines the role of democracy in the governments of ten prominent prime ministers since the mid-19th century: five Tories (Disraeli, Salisbury, Baldwin, Churchill, Thatcher); two Liberals (Gladstone, Lloyd George); and three Labourites (MacDonald, Attlee, Blair).

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Finest Hour 156, Autumn 2012

Page 50

A Little Gem

Winston Churchill, by Kevin Theakston. Softbound, illus., 56 pp., $12.95, members $11.

By Erica L. Chenoweth

Ms. Chenoweth ("Churchill and the Theatre," FH 152) is a fishery biologist in Alaska.



In the opening of his autobiography, Edward Gibbon, the historian admired by Churchill and his father, writes: "...the public are always curious to know the men who have left behind them any image of their minds." WSC left behind a uniquely prolific and wide-ranging series of images for curious minds to examine.

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Finest Hour 156, Autumn 2012

Page 40

Action This Day: Autumn 1887,1912, 1937, 1962

By Michael McMenamin



125 YEARS AGO Autumn 1887 • Age 12 "Very much astonished..."

September 27th found Winston again imploring his mother to send him a copy of H. Rider Haggard's novel She: "I am afraid you have forgotten all about 'She' please remember as I am longing to read it." Yet by October 11th, he wrote, "I no longer want 'She' as my time is sufficiently filled up now." Perhaps he had by then found a copy locally.

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Finest Hour 156, Autumn 2012

Page 64

Ampersand and Grace



The Opening Prayer at the New England Churchillians Churchill Birthday dinner last year so struck us that we asked Pastor Axford for permission to reprint it....

Sir Winston S. Churchill 137th Birthday Dinner Union Club, Boston, St. Andrew's Day, 30 November 2011 by The Rev. W. Scott Axford, M.Div., Pastor First Universalist Church, Providence, Rhode Island



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Finest Hour 156, Autumn 2012

Page 9

Around and About



Churchillian Drift" (FH 155:9) continues. In July Donald Trump Tweeted the Churchill red herring, "However beautiful the strategy you should occasionally look at the results." Not to be outdone, Minnesota Vikings running back Adrian Peterson, after release from an arrest in Houston, declaimed, "A lie gets halfway around the world before the truth has a chance to get its pants on." Sports writer Ray Ratto wrote: "I tried to figure out whether he was a history major, watches PBS a lot, has a nerd posse or has an agent or publicist who watches the Military Channel between Kardashian developments." As we advised Ratto, Mr. Peterson was quoting Churchill no better than Mr.Trump. Perhaps we should start a new Twitter page called @ErsatzChurchill.

The London Olympics closing ceremony, a jolly good show, reincarnated Sir Winston, played by actor Timothy Spall, who read from Shakespeare's The Tempest atop a replica St. Stephen's Tower (which houses Big Ben). Spall, who played Peter Pettigrew, the rat-turned-man in Harry Potter, and WSC in The King's Speech, always overplays Churchill. This made him perfect for the job, and better than the image of John Lennon, singing "Imagine there's no countries" before the assembled flags of 204 countries. We preferred the majestic rendering of God Save The Queen.

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Finest Hour 156, Autumn 2012

Page 52

Backhanded Compliment

The Treasures of Winston Churchill: The Greatest Briton, by Christopher Catherwood. Andrew Deutsch, hardbound in slipcase, 96 pp. illus. with photos and reproduced documents, £30, £19.50 from Amazon UK.

By Richard M. Langworth



The author's three previous Churchill volumes accuse the "Greatest Briton" of ensuring endless strife in Iraq, communizing Eastern Europe by preventing a 1943 Second Front, and being a depressed, alcohol-dependent "flawed genius."* So it's startling to see his byline on what is outwardly a coffee-table tribute sponsored by Churchill Heritage Ltd. Is this his apologia, then? Yes and no.

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Finest Hour 156, Autumn 2012

Page 54

Churchill in Fiction

Mr. Churchill's Secretary, by Susan Elia MacNeal. Hardbound, 384 pages, $15, members $12, Kindle edition $9.99. Portrayal: ★ Worth Reading ★. Hitler's Peace by Philip Kerr. Softbound 464 pages, $15, Kindle edition $12.99. Portrayal: ★ Worth Reading ★.

By Michael McMenamin

Mr. McMenamin is co-author with his son Patrick of the Churchill thrillers, The DeValera Deception, The Parsifal Pursuit and The Gemini Agenda. He also compiles FH's "Action This Day" department. Novels are rated one to three stars on two questions: Is the portrayal of WSC accurate? and, Is the book worth reading?

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Finest Hour 156, Autumn 2012

Page 35

Comparative Texts - “The Truth about Hitler,” 1935 “Hitler and His Choice,” 1937

By Winston S. Churchill



How different was Churchill's first Hitler article from his chapter in in Great Contemporaries? Let readers decide! Ronald I. Cohen herein provides the complete text of the original Strand article, showing (in colored type and strikeouts), what Churchill altered in Great Contemporaries. This is incidentally instructive on WSC's skill as an editor. Note: Some paragraphing differs; for example, paragraph 3 below is part of paragraph 2 in Great Contemporaries.



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Finest Hour 156, Autumn 2012

Page 6

Datelines



Quotation of the Season

"They never had to face, as we have done, and still do, the possibility of national ruin... World revolution, mortal defeat, national subjugation, chaotic degeneration, or even national bankruptcy, had not laid steel claws upon their sedate, serene, complacent life."
-WSC, "The Earl of Rosebery," 1929 (Page 20)



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