Strengthening Constitutional Self-Government

No Left Turns

Happy Belated Birthday WSC!

I have a good excuse for neglecting to note Winston Churchill’s birthday yesterday, but I am nonetheless aggrieved by my absentmindedness. I am particularly embarrassed as I am just finishing listening to Volume I of William Manchester’s great biography, The Last Lion. Thanks Robert Jeffrey for reminding us about the date in the preceding thread! Too late (or is it too early?) for a toast this morning . . . but this evening I mean to make amends.

Discussions - 6 Comments

It's unfortunate that Manchester never had the opportunity to finish his trilogy. I read Volume I long ago; it's exceptional.

That is a good book. It is on my shelf and I will go look at it today as a pleasant break from the dusting. The dusting might not be finished, either. Of course, dusting is never really finished.

My daughter took Churchill's My Early Life to school to ask if she could read it for her next book report and her history teacher confiscated it. He had never read it, did not know it existed and seemingly knew nothing of Churchill's early life. She tells me he leafed through saying "I didn't know that. Oh! He was there?" This is my problem with sending home schooled children off to regular school; the teachers are so poorly taught. So little was ever expected of them, and they pass this low standard on to their students.

I am miffing away here because this is one of the books I had suggested for the humanities curriculum of that school as required reading for seniors, which suggestion has been ignored. Perhaps as this teacher, who also teaches the seniors, looks into the book this weekend he will reconsider.

The bad part of this is that my daughter will now read MY copy of the book, that is the one I have marked up, which feels like a private thing. The copy she took to school was one I received from the Ashbrook Center for a seminar. Lest you would ask, yes, I drop Ashbrook Teacher Seminar brochures on the school and hand them to the teachers there every year. Maybe I am too obviously hinting, "Get an education, my dear!" and it gives offense.

Kate - Touching and lovely posting. Thank you.

Kate, Manchester's book is fascinating. But I don't necessarily purchase into all of his reasoning, and all of his conclusions. He postulated that the British foreign policy establishment tried to set Hitler off against Stalin, they tried to sidle up to Germany, and use Germany against a dangerous Soviet Union.

I don't know if I buy that at all.

Britain was not untouched by the decadence that descended upon France, pacifism, anti-militarism, internationalism, anti-nationalism, all of those ideas imperiled the state, imperiled the nation. And Manchester seems to ignore them, or at least not take them as seriously as he ought. His last chapter of Volume I is fascinating, it's absolutely exceptional writing, ... but I'm not sure that his conclusions are a bullseye.

He needs to be taken with a grain of salt.

Dan, who doesn't need to be taken with a grain of salt? Manchester always had an interesting way of reasoning on all sorts of subjects. We do not really have to swallow such things whole, do we? We take what people see and consider those ideas, taking them seriously or not, sometimes in part. I believe that there were some people in the British foreign establishment who tried to set Hitler off against Stalin. I have not just read that in Manchester, but elsewhere, too. There were those who saw the USSR as the more serious threat.


I was going to sit back and read the chapter of The Last Lion you mention above, but it is quite long and the after-church lunch crowd is due to arrive. Perhaps I can, later, and be more specific about it.

However, about Manchester, my father-in-law bought me the M. bio of MacArthur when it came out, trying to convince me that MacArthur was one of the central villains of the history of the century. My conclusion, based on Manchester, was disappointingly otherwise. Did you ever read his book, A World Lit Only by Fire: The Medieval Mind and the Renaissance? It was great fun to read, but his conclusions could be questionable there, too. Maybe, the questionable conclusions are the most fun part of his books.

Steve, thank you.

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