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Outline ReviewHe was something of a bully, something of a blowhard, without friends and always in search of a sympathetic audience for his monologues. Yet, writes John Keegan in this slender but thorough portrait, Winston Churchill was unquestionably the right man for the time.
Few biographers are better equipped than Keegan, the eminent military historian, to write of Churchill as a wartime leader. Indeed, Keegan suggests, Churchill was never more at ease than when confronting some fierce enemy, whether across the English Channel or a range of Afghan hills; it was from the saddle that he developed his "vision of how an enlightened empire might transform the future of mankind." The rise of other, less enlightened empires helped put an end to his own, but Churchill steadfastly insisted on a strong role for Great Britain in the postwar world--in which he succeeded, even if voters turned him out of office almost as soon as the war ended.
Keegan's respectful portrait assesses Churchill's many accomplishments (and a few noteworthy failures) as he sought, in Churchill's ringing words, to "resist oppression, to protect the weak, to vindicate the profound but unwritten Law of Nations." Admirers of Churchill and students of his time will find much of value in these pages. --Gregory McNamee
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