Churchill: The Bulldog Still Bites

Almost 50 years after his death, Churchill continues to fascinate historians, says Roland Quinault.

Winston Churchill, with his wife Clementine, on tour in the United States during the 1930sIn the 21st century Winston Churchill has largely passed out of the era of personal memory, yet he continues to attract a growing historiography. After his death, the eight-volume official biography, started by his son, Randolph Churchill and finished by Martin Gilbert, was informative but rarely critical. By contrast, Robert Rhodes James, in Churchill: A Study in Failure 1900-1939 (1970), was much less reverential about his earlier career. Subsequently other historians, such as John Charmley, in Churchill: The End of Glory (1993), extended the critique to Churchill’s post-1939 career. By the start of the new millennium, however, the era of revisionary criticism had largely passed. Roy Jenkins, in his well-crafted and popular biography, Churchill (2001), concluded that he was the greatest British statesman of modern times.

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