Five course texts will help to present a rich and balanced view of Churchill's political achievement and reflections, and to raise the questions about the character and challenges of modern democratic politics in America and Britain that we particularly seek to explore in the Institute. Churchill's themes of the unity of the English-speaking peoples and the Anglo-American relationship, particularly during the Second World War, are the primary focus of the Institute. All books will be provided by the institute and will be shipped to participants in the spring.
My Early Life by Winston Churchill, his autobiography and our most important resource, describes his first encounters with the United States. It is indispensable in offering his mature views on his education and formative years, as well as many observations on changes in the political world since he was a young man. My Early Life tells an exciting story of youthful adventure: dedicated "to a new generation," it has an evergreen appeal to every new generation of young people. The nineteenth-century Britain into which Churchill was born was flush with the confidence of the world's foremost naval power and the hope of a settled, orderly, civilized world spread out beneath the imperial mantle. Churchill thrived in this world, serving with distinction in the forces of Queen Victoria, flourishing as author and war correspondent, and making his initial mark on the political life of Britain. Writing it in 1930, Churchill had already experienced a twentieth century that had shattered the hopes of the nineteenth: it seemed a retrogression to war, anarchy, and totalitarianism. Yet Churchill would thrive in this world as well, taking to his grim tasks with talents and determination that have marked him as one of history's greatest statesmen. Through a close reading of the text and our common discussions of the autobiography in eight seminar sessions, participants will glean the principles of Churchill's political beliefs and the strength of his character. We also hope to show how you can help bring this book to life for your students, for whom Churchill's venturesome spirit as a young man often proves an encouragement to raise their sights to higher aspirations. Churchill's views on education, opportunity, civilization, religion, honor, leadership, death, and the good life are pieces of the puzzle which, when assembled, portray Churchill in full. At the conclusion of the eight sessions, Professor Muller will invite each participant to give a short, oral valediction to My Early Life.
Churchill and the Great Republic is the companion volume to the major exhibition in 2004 at the Library of Congress, co-authored by Allen Packwood, director of the Churchill Archives Centre. This slim volume directly addresses the theme of the Institute and is heavily illustrated with primary documents from both the Library of Congress in Washington, D.C., and the Churchill Archives Centre.
Churchill by Paul Addison, in the Oxford VIP Series, is a brief but judicious overview of Churchill's life which examines his strengths and weaknesses and balances the public and the private man. Originally written for the Oxford Dictionary of National Biography, it is a concise introduction to a long and complex subject.
Thoughts and Adventures by Winston Churchill is his highly accessible collection of essays, originally published in the 1930s, and republished in 2009 by ISI Books with a new introduction by Professor Muller, institute director. Many of the essays, Churchill states in his Preface, "touch the lighter side of grave affairs," but several of the speculative variety are offered "in deadly earnest as a warning of what may easily come to pass if Civilization cannot take itself in hand...."
Franklin and Winston: An Intimate Portrait of an Epic Friendship by Jon Meacham offers an in-depth examination of the wartime relationship between President Franklin Roosevelt and Prime Minister Winston Churchill.
These five books will be supplemented by a photocopied reading packet (PRP) containing material related to themes addressed by guest lecturers in their short presentations prior to their session's group discussion.
On four evenings during our first week in Cambridge, participants will view the eight segments of the Masterpiece Theatre production of The Wilderness Years, starring Robert Hardy as Winston Churchill. In the film we see Churchill in the late 1930s, still a member of Parliament but without government office. He speaks in Parliament and works from his "virtual private intelligence centre" at his country home Chartwell, urging the Baldwin and Chamberlain governments to rearm against the growing German menace.