November 30, 2006

Happy Birthday, Winston!


Born this day in 1874.

I'm now five sixths of the way through his memoir of the Second World War and about to start in on the final volume, Triumph and Tragedy. Reading of his (and Roosevelt's) moral seriousness in combating the forces of evil is at once uplifting and depressing - uplifting because of the fine example they set, depressing in comparison to the vapid and frivolous Praetorian toadies who now man the defenses in their stead.

Posted by Robert at November 30, 2006 12:15 PM | TrackBack

Such a grand photo. Did you know his first ambition was to be a bishop in the C of E?

Posted by: Mrs. Peperium at November 30, 2006 02:17 PM

Probably just as well he didn't know what it would come to.

Posted by: Robbo the LB at November 30, 2006 03:07 PM

Sigh. Any chance we could resurrect him, or at least channel him. ISTM we have a surfeit of Chamberlains and an extreme scarcity of Churchills these days.

My favorite winston photo is of him holding a Tommy gun.

Posted by: rbj at November 30, 2006 03:44 PM

The joke Churchill relates, also, about his childhood, is about his aspirations to be a general. His father was eatching him play with his toy soldiers, and asked him if he wanted to be a general (Churchill's father was an Oxford graduate, a Chancellor of the Exchequer, and a son of one of the Dukes of Marlborough).

Churchill said that he thought his father must have seen some particular genius in the arrangement of the toy soldiers, but only later found out that his father had come to the conclusion that he was too stupid to become a solicitor.

I think it would have been a crime if he had ended up as either a bishop or as a lawyer.

He almost ended up in business, too -- in William Manchester's The Last Lion, he relates how difficult a time Churchill had passing the competitive exams to get into Sandhurst -- it took him a couple of tries.

Posted by: The Colossus at December 1, 2006 01:26 PM