An absorbing account of Winston Churchill through 40 anecdotes ranging from memorable quotations, to his sex life (or relative lack thereof) and love for England. A quick read with many overlapping ideas and observations, Rubin at times repeats herself, but not with any emphasis, suggesting she recycled material from earlier chapters with no new spin. However, this repetition does not weigh down the book any more than the few fluff chapters do. For example, the one paragraph “How He Saw The World” chapter included a map of the Britain at the height of it’s empire in 1930, in attempt to show us what has already been established – Churchill was an imperialist and always hoped to preserve the British Empire. Also, an unenthusiastic true/false questionnaire chapter drags us down a puerile path heading towards an obvious conclusion: Churchill’s life is the stuff of legend.
This book continually claims an unbiased account of Churchill, especially through many chapters posing two opposite views. This initially pushes the reader to choose one or the other, but these dichotomies condition the reader to a more meaningful conclusion - toward the end of the book it becomes easier to accept both claims and infer, for example, that Churchill was both depressed and cheerful during periods of his life. Rubin may have intended this effect, which enforces the underlying purpose of this book and allows the reader to synthesize his or her own view of Churchill. Like a decent tomato-basil soup at the beginning of a delicious five-course meal, this book both pleases and invites us to keep reading about a legendary and polarizing figure.
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