The Literary Churchill

The Literary Churchill : Author, Reader, Actor

4.39 (23 ratings by Goodreads)
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A transformative portrait of Churchill, whose love of history, theater, and reading was inextricably linked to his life as a statesman This strikingly original book introduces a Winston Churchill we have not known before. Award-winning author Jonathan Rose explores in tandem Churchill's careers as statesman and author, revealing the profound influence of literature and theater on Churchill's personal, carefully composed grand story and on the decisions he made throughout his political life. Rose provides in this expansive literary biography an analysis of Churchill's writings and their reception (he won the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1953 and was a best-selling author), and a chronicle of his dealings with publishers, editors, literary agents, and censors. The book also identifies an array of authors who shaped Churchill's own writings and politics: George Bernard Shaw, H. G. Wells, Margaret Mitchell, George Orwell, Oscar Wilde, and many more. Rose investigates the effect of Churchill's passion for theater on his approach to reportage, memoirs, and historical works.
Perhaps most remarkably, Rose reveals the unmistakable influence of Churchill's reading on every important episode of his public life, including his championship of social reform, plans for the Gallipoli invasion, command during the Blitz, crusade for Zionism, and efforts to prevent a nuclear arms race. In a fascinating conclusion, Rose traces the significance of Churchill's writings to later generations of politicians, among them President John F. Kennedy as he struggled to extricate the U.S. from the Cuban Missile Crisis.
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Product details

  • Hardback | 528 pages
  • 162 x 238 x 54mm | 999.98g
  • New Haven, United States
  • English
  • 13 b/w illus.
  • 0300204078
  • 9780300204070
  • 176,429

Review quote

'Jonathan Rose...has shown how Churchill excelled in the application of language to the exercise of power and concludes that he 'modelled his politics on literature.' The proof is abundant and well presented in this excellent, thorough and enjoyable biography that adds a fresh and fascinating dimension to a great statesman.'-Lawrence James, The Times -- Lawrence James The Times 'This is no incidental postscript to the hundreds of volumes already published about Churchill, but a painstaking study building a formidable case for taking him seriously not just in political history but in literary history too...Rose made his reputation as the historian of the working-class autodidacts in Britain. Now he has consolidated it by writing about an upper-class autodidact, whose intellectual life he captures well.' -Peter Clark. The Financial Times -- Peter Clark The Financial Times '[Rose] assembles a mass of fascinating information about Churchill's writings, readings, and politicking, much of it until now available only in the archives at Churchill College.'-Cita Stelzer, TLS -- Cita Stelzer TLS "A masterpiece ... a more mentally nimble version of [Churchill] the man than any previous portrait ... superb, revelatory ... a bravura new take on the man and his life ... nobody should miss it." -Steve Donoghue, Open Letters -- Steve Donoghue Open Letters "Immensely enjoyable ... marvelous ... This gracefully written book is an original and textured study of Churchill's imagination." -Michael F. Bishop, Washington Post -- Michael F. Bishop Washington Post "Rose's swift, incisive narrative portrays Churchill as a brilliant, if flawed, manipulator of political theater."-Kirkus Reviews (starred review) Kirkus Reviews "The biographical inattention to [Churchill's] voluminous body of written work ... has been a strange oversight. Now that wrong has been righted, in a single stroke and ably so, by Jonathan Rose's The Literary Churchill."-Anthony Paletta, Daily Beast -- Anthony Paletta Daily Beast "Well-researched and clearly informed by great admiration and attunement to its subject ... [and] crammed with interesting facts." -Martin Rubin, Washington Times -- Martin Rubin Washington Times "Rose doesn't miss a trick in this fascinating look into the literary mind of one of the men who made world history."-Dave Wood, syndicated columnist ("Book Report") -- Dave Wood Book Report "A most wonderful book for Churchill admirers ... fascinating ... the book sparkles and is the best I have ever read on the man."-Tom Perkins, Wall Street Journal, "Books of the Year" -- Tom Perkins Wall Street Journal "Rose has written a big, readable, informative, and convincing book."-William J. Scheick, English Literature in Transition -- William J. Scheick English Literature in Transition "Very well written, filled with erudition, documentation, and insights."-Manfred Weidhorn, Finest Hour: The Journal of Winston Churchill -- Manfred Weidhorn Finest Hour: The Journal of Winston Churchill "Rose has written a superb book and unlike many books about Churchill, one that really needed to be written."-Clifford Cunningham, Sun News Miami -- Clifford Cunningham Sun News Miami The 2016 New Jersey Committee for the Humanities Book Award in the scholarly humanities non-fiction cateogry. -- Book Award New Jersey Committee for the Humanities "Vivid, elegantly written, and thorough ... an original and thoughtful study."-Bradley P. Tolppanen, Winston Churchill Blog -- Bradley P. Tolppanen Winston Churchill Blog
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About Jonathan Rose

Jonathan Rose is William R. Kenan Jr. Professor of History, Drew University. He lives in Morristown, NJ.
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Rating details

23 ratings
4.39 out of 5 stars
5 52% (12)
4 39% (9)
3 4% (1)
2 4% (1)
1 0% (0)
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