- Tapa blanda: 384 páginas
- Editor: Penguin; Edición: New Ed (5 de septiembre de 2002)
- Idioma: Inglés
- ISBN-10: 014101122X
- ISBN-13: 978-0141011226
- Valoración media de los clientes: 2 opiniones de clientes
- Clasificación en los más vendidos de Amazon: nº127.225 en Libros en idiomas extranjeros (Ver el Top 100 en Libros en idiomas extranjeros)
Churchill: A Study in Greatness (Inglés) Tapa blanda – 5 sep 2002
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Reseña del editor
Winston Churchill's inspiring leadership in the Second World War once put him above criticism. In recent years his record has come under attack. This book makes sense of this extraordinary man and his controversial and heroic career. Best brings outChurchill's strengths and weaknesses, looking past the many received versions of Churchill in a biography that balances the private and the public man and offers a fresh insight into his character.
Biografía del autor
Geoffrey Best is one of Britain's most distinguished historians. He has been Professor of History at the Universities of Edinburgh and Sussex and is currently a Senior Member of St Antony's College, Oxford. His previous books include WAR AND LAW SINCE 1945, HUMANITY AND WARFARE and MID-VICTORIAN BRITAIN.
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This book provided good coverage of major world affairs and Churchill's role in them, but at the end of the day, it didn't feel as if we really got into his head, or his personal life sufficiently to feel like we know him after reading this biography. I feel like I know more about things he did, but not as much about the man.
Nevertheless this was a good book, about an interesting subject.
While it is obviously impossible to list all of Churchill's great stories and accomplishments in just over 300 pages, Best is entertaining in his approach. While this chronological tale may be a bit dry to the average reader, those who enjoy history will embrace this book. Best documents Churchill's attitude that he was destined for greatness early in life, discusses many of his war strategies, and is thorough enough to look into Churchill's family and personal life. Many people are unaware of the tragic lives of his three children, all of which are alluded to in this book. There truly is more to this man than is demontrated in the common pictures history books record of him.
Churchill worked toward bettering England and world almost unitl his death. This man who was largely self taught played a large role in shaping contemporary Europe even when he was no longer the Prime Miister. Even when his idea of the United States of Europe failed, he continued to be an early proponent of arms control and ending communism. The chapters which discuss his later years are among the most fascinating parts of this book.
Books on the life of Churchill can go into much greater detail than this. This book is an excellent starter for learning about the life of Churchill.
His greatness of course, is fundamentally based on his leadership of the British after becoming Prime Minister in May, 1940, at a time when Germany was rolling up victories, soon to jackboot its way over the French. What Geoffrey Best does in this remarkable study is not so much decipher what made Churchill great, for that is obvious to anyone with even a smattering of knowledge about World War II. Rather, he looks at Churchill from the perspective of personality, and tries to determine how he was great.
Always incredibly ambitious, Winston Churchill was different from the upper strata of the British aristocracy. He led a pampered lifestyle, but came under fire multiple times, and took remarkable personal risks. As Prime Minister, he vowed never to be taken alive, and when travelling at sea, insisted his lifeboat carry two machine guns. He was a dandy as a dresser, liked to wear various military uniforms, but would sometimes appear in siren suits, which were nothing more than zippered overalls. His hobbies were not that of the well-bred. He played polo, loved cards, gambled, drank and became a noted painter. He even took on the role of bricklayer in improving Chartwell, his beloved home. First a soldier, he saw four different wars as both a participant and journalist within a matter of months. Soldiers did not by nature seek political office. He yearned for a seat in Parliament. At first known for casting a jaundiced eye on naval expenditures, he soon fell out with the Tories over free trade, crossed into Liberal territory, and joined with the radical David Lloyd George in a drive for reform. In lesser Cabinet roles, he displayed the same zeal, and as Home Secretary, urged that debtors not be sent so quickly to prison.
During his first tour of duty as Lord of the Admiralty beginning when he was just 37, the pattern of his style of governance was set. He read as much as he could from the experts, questioned the establishment and their fossilized thinking, and tried to influence everything by being omnipresent. He built up the Navy, but as a result of his support for the expedition into the Dardanelles, a clear disaster, was shunted aside in the coalition government in the middle of the Great War. From a sinecure position, and after several losses in races for MP,he slowly rose again in succeeding governments, even becoming Chancellor of the Exchequer. Never much of a party man, he crossed the aisle once more to return to the Tories. Unlike Margaret Thatcher, who believed politics without partisanship was politics without principle, he favored coalition governments, the kind that served his nation in both World Wars.
Mistrusted always by the political establishment because of his zealous ambition and his yen to dominate events, Churchill was often wrong. He did not see that the Empire was about to become a relic as others perceived long before it did, and he was utterly wrong on India's desire for self-governance. An outcast in the early 1930's because of his striking language against Germany, he was returned in crisis to the Admiralty for a second time until Chamberlain, not having achieved peace in his time, resigned, leaving this unusual, even eccentric man to lead a nation through war by any method he could.
And lead he did, sometimes in most unusual ways. He created for himself the job of Defence Minister where no such title existed. He surrounded himself with persons, scientists, strategists, statisticians, advisors, all friends, who, while the phrase was not then in use, thought out of the box. Many of them were to persons other than Churchill, unbearable. He, true to form, tried to dominate every aspect of the war, and understand all implications involved. Science and technology, munitions, intelligence, battle strategy and every wartime activity, came under his scrutiny. He was a blizzard of ideas, drove military professionals to roll their eyes at some of them, but was the driving force for all of them.
Most of all, he inspired through his speeches. At the time, radio was the most immediate source of news for the British people, as newspapers and movie newsreels did little to enlighten the urgencies. Only Churchill, who had no clue how commonfolk lived, could inspire his shopkeeper nation to stand strong for 19 months alone against the Nazi war machine until the United States and Russia joined forces. Somehow, this aging man who never liked strangers, gave strength to the populace of his Island Nation, harkening back to its days of dominance on the world stage when no one would issue an armed challenge to it. He was the right man, the only man, for a desperate time. He stood forth like immovable granite when days were darkest, providing glimmers of light through his powerful words.
Winston Churchill was not just in the right place at the right time, his whole life, his utter existence, seemed leveraged to his place at the British helm. Without writing a massive biography like Jenkins or Gilbert, Best has done an outstanding job of understanding Churchill, his motives, his ideals, and his life.