Churchill: The Unexpected Hero

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Oxford University Press, 2006 - History - 308 pages
During the Second World War, Winston Churchill won two resounding victories. The first was a victory over Nazi Germany, the second a victory over the legion of sceptics who had derided his judgement, denied his claims to greatness, and excluded him from high office on the grounds that he wassure to be a danger to King and Country. Churchill was the only British politician of the twentieth century to become an enduring national hero. The curious thing is that it happened at the age of 65, at a time when he was considered to be a spent force, with a track-record of disastrous decisions. All but the most hostile of hisadversaries conceded that he possessed great abilities, remarkable eloquence, and a streak of genius. But it was almost universally agreed that he was a shameless egotist, an opportunist without principles or convictions, an unreliable colleague, an erratic policy-maker who lacked judgement, and areckless amateur strategist with a dangerous passion for war and bloodshed. At one time or another in his career, he had offended every party and faction in the land, yet despite this he became the embodiment of national unity, an uncrowned king who threatened to eclipse the monarchy. In this incisive new biography, Paul Addison tells the story of Churchill's life in parallel with the history of his reputation. He seeks to explain why Churchill was transformed into a national hero, and why his heroic status has endured ever since in spite of the attempts of iconoclasts to debunkhim. He argues that we are now in a position to reach beyond the mythology - both positive and negative - to see the real Winston Churchill, a warrior-statesman whose qualities were remarkably consistent through all the vicissitudes of his career.

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User Review  - MikeBiever -

An insight to a legendary political figure of Britain and of the world. A man of tireless energy and achievements beyond normalcy in both political achievement and personal ambition. Churchill can be ... Read full review

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User Review  - arielgm - LibraryThing

Addison’s focus in this quite short biography is Churchill’s reputation, and his transformation at the age of sixty-five into national hero, after a somewhat undistinguished early career. He contends ... Read full review


1 The Youngest Man in Europe 18741901
2 The Renegade 19011911
3 The Lilliput Napoleon 19111915
4 The Winstonburg Line 19151924
5 Respectability Won and Lost 19241939
6 The Making of a Hero 19391945
7 Climbing Olympus 19451965
8 Churchill Past and Present

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About the author (2006)

Paul Addison is an Honorary Fellow at the Centre for the Study of the Two World Wars at the University of Edinburgh.

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