Thursday, April 1, 2010

Book Review: Winston Churchill by John Perry

"We are all worms, but I intend to be a glowworm." - Winston Churchill

Winston Churchill (Christian Encounters Series)This biography of Winston Churchill is one of the books in the Christian Encounters Series published by Thomas Nelson Publishers. I read the book quickly, but I had to make myself finish, because it lagged in several places. I like biographies if they are written well, but I have discovered that there are very few biographers who can make people's lives interesting. I must admit I have become hard-to-please when it comes to biographies. They must be extremely difficult to write.

I did enjoy some parts of the book. I think Mr. Churchill must have been quite a character, judging from some of the things I read in this book:

"His life is one long speech. He does not talk. He orates."

(During WWII) "Since he entertained in an official capacity every day, he was exempt from the strict food rationing that was in place, and he tucked into every meal without apology. A typical prime minister breakfast during the war included two eggs, ham, chicken, coffee, toast, butter, marmalade, two mangoes, orange juice - essentially the same as his regular fare for years. He also managed to keep plenty of his favorite Romeo y Julieta brand Cuban cigars and the special Canadian matches he preferred."

Some of the best parts of the book were the portions of speeches he gave during WWII. I admire his courage and strength during such tough times. Here is one quote I like from a speech he made:

"We are resolved to destroy Hitler and every vestige of the Nazi regime. From this nothing will turn us - nothing. We will never parley, we will never negotiate with Hitler or any of his gang. We shall fight him by land, we shall fight him by sea, we shall fight him in the air, until with God's help we have rid the earth of his shadow and liberated its people from its yoke. Any man or state who fights on against Nazidom will have our aid."

One thing that puzzles me about the book is the title of the series: Christian Encounters. When I saw that, I thought, "Hm. I never knew Churchill was a Christian." Well, I don't see that there was much evidence in the book that he was.

"A reporter asked him what made him so sure he'd make it to heaven. Jovially he replied, 'Surely the Almighty must observe the principles of English common law and consider a man innocent until proven guilty.'" (We are actually guilty until Gods changes us and gives us a new heart that comes to him in faith.)

Perhaps the authors of the books in this series are not trying to tell us that these people were Christian, but I was disappointed to find very little in the book that demonstrated faith in God. I'll be hesitant to read any more of these.

What do you think? Have you read any of the books in this series? Did you like them? Leave me a comment.

(I received this book from Thomas Nelson Publishers for the purposes of this review. I received no monetary compensation. All opinions in this review are strictly my own.)


Carrie said...

I'm currently reading the Jane Austen book from this series and I think it's remarkably well done. I was jealous to see you reading this one on Winston Churchill as he is one of my personal heroes! =) I'm going to definitely track this one down! (I admittedly love biographies.)

Thanks for your thoughts!

Shirley R. said...

I agree with you- writing a biography sounds like a daunting task, but as I love history I would probably enjoy the process more than the finished product. I have been waiting for this exact release in the mail for caught a few weeks now, I am worried that the USPS lost it. I can't wait till it arrives, because as I mentioned I love history. I hope I can look beyond any boring aspects of his life! Thanks for the review, even if it was a teaser!

Nicola said...

I'm pretty sure Churchill was not a religious man.

Anna said...

I know nothing about Churchill's religion, but it seems odd to call it a Christian Encounters series and then provide little proof that he was a Christian.

I'd be interested in his WWII speeches, though.

I hope it's okay that I linked to your review on the Book Reviews: WWII page on War Through the Generations.

Diary of an Eccentric