“Churchill and the Historians” – Andrew Roberts

“Churchill and the Historians” – Andrew Roberts

Our final speaker of the day is becoming a Hillsdale regular. He has spoken numerous
times at Hillsdale events not only on land but also at sea during a Hillsdale College
cruise. His engagements on land include a speech in October 2011 dedicating the statue
of Ronald Reagan on the Hillsdale campus. We are delighted that he is able to speak
for the college once again. Andrew Roberts is a historian and best selling author of
several books. Among his most recent are A History of English Speaking People Since 1900
which won the Intercollegiate Studies Institute Prize, Masters and Commanders: How Roosevelt,
Churchill, Marshall and Alanbrooke Won the War in the West, which won the Emory Reeves
Prize and The Storm of War: A New History Of The Second World War, which won the British
Army Military Book of the Year Award and rose to number two on the Sunday New York Times
Bestseller List. His most recent book is Napoleon: A Life.
It won a 2014 Grand Prix History Prize from an organization who’s name will test my very
rusty French language skills, the Fondation Napoleon. The book was also very recently,
just a couple of days ago, the winner of the LA Times Biography prize and Andrew tells
me just at lunch today that it’s been optioned for a Harvey Weinstein television series.
Dr. Roberts is a fellow the the Royal Society of Literature, a trustee of the Margaret Thatcher
Archive Trust and a director of the Harry Frank Guggenheim Foundation. Our final lecture
topic of this Hillsdale College National Leadership Seminar is Churchill and the Historians. Please
welcome Dr. Andrew Roberts. Dr. Roberts: Ladies and gentlemen it’s a great
honor to be invited to address you this afternoon and thank you very much indeed Tim for those
kind words. It’s perfectly true that my book got to number two on the bestseller list,
beaten only by a book about Michael Jackson. In answer to the question that was posed to
James Muller about Churchill’s religious sensibilities, he of course said that although he didn’t
believe that Jesus Christ was the son of God he did believe that he was the greatest man
who ever lived and he described himself, Churchill, as acting like a flying buttress for the Church
of England in that he supported the church but from the outside.
I’d like to take you back to the afternoon of Tuesday, the twenty-sixth of April, 1927,
when as Chancellor of the Exchequer, Winston Churchill presented that year’s budget. He’d
already covered the changes in the taxation on sugar and bedding and silk and car licenses
and tea. You people will recall that the British used to impose very light taxes on tea. Before
he got around to the subject of the taxation of wine it is absolutely necessary to invoke
the great name of Mr. Gladstone said Churchill, a name which is received with reverence below
the gangway on the opposition side and with a certain amount of respect by honorable members
who sit opposite. At that point some MP’s called out, “What about yourself?” Which,
considering that Churchill had only rejoined the Tory party two years earlier, might have
been an awkward moment for him, an awkward question to answer for someone who’d been
a senior minister in the last liberal ministry. “I occupy the impartial position of the historian,”
Churchill said diplomatically before moving on to the details of his proposals.
As an historian himself, Churchill was fascinated by the subjects of history and mentioned history
and historians often in speeches. “How strange it is that the past is so little understood
and so quickly forgotten,” he said in April 1929. We live in the most thoughtless of ages,
everyday headlines and short views. I’ve tried to drag history up a little nearer to our
own times in case it should be helpful as a guide in present difficulties. A quarter
of a century later he was saying much the same thing when after a luncheon to celebrate
the present queen’s coronation he told an American schoolboy who was on an ESU scholarship,
“Study history, study history. In history lies all the secrets of state craft.”
The adjective historic also crops up very often in his speeches and the future verdict
of history, not least on his own career and achievements of course, clearly mattered to
him greatly. The quality he most often attributed to historians of the future, over-optimistically
as it turned out in many cases regarding the recording of his own doings, was impartiality.
He himself had a harsh early experience of what happened when historians were not impartial.
After he had fallen in love with the written style of the Whig historian Lord Macauley
learning large parts of Macauley’s Lays of Ancient Rome by heart. He was forced to do
this at school. Then out spake brave Horatius, The Captain of the gate: “To every man upon
this earth death cometh soon or late. And how can man die better than facing fearful
odds for the ashes of his fathers and the temples of his gods. Then out spake Spurius
Lartius, a warrior proud was he. I shall stand at thy right hand and hold the bridge with
thee.” He wasn’t the only person who forced to learn it at school.
“I accepted all that Macauley wrote as gospel,” recalled Churchill, “and I was grieved to
read his harsh judgement upon the Great Duke of Marlborough.” Tellingly, the G in Great
Duke is capitalized in Churchill’s text. There was no on at hand to tell me that this historian,
ie. Macauley, with his captivating style and devastating self-confidence was the prince
of literary rogues that always preferred the tale to the truth and smirched all glorified
great men and garbled documents according as they affected his drama. So perhaps the
outrageous lack of impartiality in the history of Winston Churchill himself is not something
that would have shocked him however much it might shock us.
In 1940’s, 1950’s and really up until his death in 1965, Churchill was treated with
great respect by biographers and historians, not least because they new it first hand what
he had done to protect their freedom. Isaiah Berlin, Philip Guedalla, Violet Bonham Carter,
Leslie Rowse, Charles Eade, Virginia Coles, many others of these early memoirists and
biographers tended to write of him with affection and high regard. Event the first crack in
the edifice of positive recollections, the Diaries of Lord Alanbrooke as presented in
two volumes by Arthur Bryant in 1957 and 1959 cut out several of Alanbrooke’s harsher wartime
comments from his almost universally caustic diaries.
Since the 1980’s however, and certainly in the 1990’s a new revisionist school of history
has sprung up around Churchill which all too often has sought to impose present day values
on words and actions of Churchill from an entirely different age. This has taken place
simulaneously, both from the left and the political right. On the left you have Clive
Ponting who as Richard mentioned earlier in his speech, comes up with a lot of baloney
about Churchill having known about Pearl Harbor, being an alcoholic, being responsible for
the death of and so on. Christopher Hitchens, much harder to pin down on the right or the
left, but he too pretty much embraced all of the anti-Churchill theories going. There
was one article where he wrote in the Atlantic Monthly no fewer than twenty-three separate
accusations, many of them naughty conspiracy theories which were pretty much all proven
to be inaccurate. Then there was Margaret Cook, the wife of
Robin Cook, the British Foreign Secretary, Labor Foreign Secretary who wrote a book about
Winston Churchill being, quote, almost homosexual. I’ve no idea what almost homosexual means
by the way and I attended both a British boarding school and Cambridge University.
You then have the whole issue of race. This is the new attack on Winston Churchill, again
as Richard mentioned, the Bengal Famine is brought up. There’s a book by a man called
Muckety and of course Richard Toye’s book on imperialism which basically argued that
he was such a racist that he didn’t care about the deaths of black and brown people and in
the case of the Bengal Famine he as good as encouraged it. In a review of Richard Toye’s
book on Churchill’s imperialism in the Times Literary supplement, written by Johan Harry
it was asserted that during the Bengal Famine Churchill quote, refused to offer any aid
for months while hundreds of thousands died, unquote. The fact that those months actually
took place during the second World War when India was trying to fight the Japanese who
had pretty much captured the whole of Burma by then is not mentioned.
In the same review it’s stated that President Obama’s grandfather Hussein Onyango Obama
quote, was imprisoned without trial for two years and tortured on Churchill’s watch for
resisting Churchill’s empire. Now closer examination of the facts show that his imprisonment actually
took place before Churchill became Prime Minister. He wasn’t tortured and he hadn’t been in prison
for resisting imperialism either. Was Churchill a racist? Yes, of course he was. Any men,
even men of the left, such as H.G. Wells were, in those days, they believed biological racism
was accepted as a scientific fact. To criticize Churchill for this is a bit like criticizing
people for ignorance for thinking the sun moved around the earth before the time of
Galileo. Anyhow, and this is the fact that most people ignore or deny about Churchill’s
overt racism is that it lead him to want to protect native peoples and because he believed
the British had a profound imperial duty towards them.
I’ve just been rereading Churchill’s 1908 book My African Journey about the time that
he spent in Egypt and the Sudan and Kenya and Uganda and Tanzania the previous year
and virtually every paragraph has something that is quite rightly completely outrageous
and unsayable nowadays about the backwardness, as he perceived it, of the native peoples
but the very next paragraph, again and again, explains the sacred duties of the British
Empire as a result of this. Plucked pretty much entirely at random for example, here
are his musings about the Kenyan tribes. He wrote, “It’s unquestionably an advantage
that the East African Negro should develop a taste for civilized attire. His life will
gradually be made more complicated, more varied, less crudely animal and himself raised to
a higher level of economic utility. A government runs risks when it intrudes upon the domain
of fashion but when a veritable abyss of knowledge and science separates the ruler from the ruled,
authority is dealing with a native race still plunged in it’s primary squalor, without religion,
without clothes, without morals but willing to emerge and capable of emerging, such risks
may be fairly accepted.” At the Kikuyu he wrote, “No one can travel
even for a little while among the Kikuyu tribes without acquiring a liking for these lighthearted
tractable, if brutish children or without feeling that they’re capable of being instructed
and raised from their present degradation. It will be an ill day for these native races
when their fortunes are removed from the impartial and august administration of the crown and
abandoned to the fierce self-interest of a small white population.” So much for the anti-Churchill
historians of the left and the achingly politically correct with their chronologically challenged
racial critique of Churchill. What about the attacks from the right and
in David Irving’s case the ultra-right? One rather hesitates to append the designation
historian to some of these people especially Irving. Three who are undoubtedly intelligent
historians from the right, one that was mentioned earlier by Larry, John Trombley, another two,
the late Morris Cowling and Allen Clark. All argued that Churchill increased the rate of
collapse of the British empire by indulging in an essentially unnecessary war in 1939.
It ought to be unnecessary for me to re-fight the argument over why that would have been
absolutely disastrous to have made peace with Hitler in 1940 or ’41, but I’m happy to, in
questions and answers if necessary. Then you have the extreme libertarians. A
man called Robert Rako at the University of, is there such a thing as the University of
Buffalo or is a university that’s in Buffalo? One or the other, anyway. There he is and
he has said that Winston Churchill was a war criminal, a stooge of Stalin and a drug addict.
I find that people like that rarely take refuge in understatement.
From neither the right nor the left comes Mr. Nicholson Baker in a book called Human
Smoke. Mr. Baker says that Winston Churchill was as bad as Hitler. He accuses him of being
an anti-semite, of using gas against Iraqi tribesman, the oldest one in the book and
of course anyone who can’t tell the difference between tear gas and mustard gas should not
be writing history books. Mr. Baker says in his introduction, “I used Wikipedia during
the writing of this book.” This is a quote from him saying, “especially to check facts.”
His previous two books, prior to this book on Churchill were on phone sex and masturbation.
Now I don’t for a moment ladies and gentlemen deny that Mr. Nicholson Baker might have been
a world expert on both of his pastimes. It doesn’t do to separate a man from his hobbies
but he does nothing at all about Winston Churchill. In these cases it’s always best to stay calm
and to go back to the one historian one can always trust, the late Sir Martin Gilbert.
Martin’s biography of Churchill has been described as the longest biography ever written. At
ten million words it is the longest biography ever written, still it’s not a page too long.
Wimps can always read the condensed version that came out in 1992. This might be a good
time by the way to pay tribute to the noble job that Larry Arnn and his team at Hillsdale
are doing in completing that work. There is a literary form of apostolic succession that
starts with Randolph Churchill, hands over the baton to Martin and then Martin handing
over to Larry. Once the last of the companion volumes are published, the Churchill, Gilbert,
Arnn work will stand as a gleaming monument to literature and scholarship so long as the
English tongue is spoken. But even the great Martin Gilbert is not without
his detractors. One was Robert Rhodes James the editor of eight volumes of Churchill’s
speeches. In his Times Literary review of Martin’s autobiography in praise of Churchill,
wonderful book that was published in June 1994, Rhodes James wrote, quote “Gilbert’s
was too bland adulatory and only too open to counter attack.” He means the original
biography, the official biography. “The emptiness that I feel is that in his
fervor of activity in compiling and publishing this great archive Gilbert never stands back
and reflects.” “This strange and worryingly narcissistic book”, he writes that Gilbert
was never even met Churchill is less important than he has no political experience.” He said
Gilbert’s book “conveys an impression of pettiness” and said, “Gilbert has devoted much of his
life to the search of Churchill and had done so honorably and with much devotion and dedication
but the fact that he has failed to come close to his subject is much more evident to others
than to him. My complaint is that he never really attempted to find the man only the
documents. There is more to biography than legwork and paperwork. These are the essential
prerequisites, the most difficult part of the biographer’s real task, the portrait of
a soul through his adventures through life.” The very next week in the Times Literary supplement,
the commentator Edward Luttwak replied superbly to that attack on Martin by Rhodes James.
He writes, “How true were the subject a romantic poet, a reclusive painter or even a minor
politician but Winston Churchill the last I heard was sometimes engaged in public life,
sometimes holding offices of high consequence, in circumstances that sometimes endowed his
decisions and actions with some importance to some people beyond the immediate circle
of his family, friends and personal employees. That is the aspect of Churchill’s life that
Gilbert’s gigantic labors have recovered from many sources and most thoroughly reconstructed
for all of us, but an aspect evidently of trivial import for Mr. Robert Rhodes James
who would obviously have preferred a speculative essay on Churchill’s inner life, perhaps illuminated
by the always solidly reliable insights of psycho-analysis.”
To those criticisms of Rhodes James I’d like to add some of my own. To attack Martin Gilbert
for narcissism is a disgraceful assertion as anyone who knew this deeply modest and
self-effacing man will attest. He was writing and autobiography which per force must make
references to the subject. There’s a world of difference between writing about oneself
in an autobiography and the kind of self love summed up by the word narcissism. I defy anyone
to find a sentence in that book that could justly be described narcissistic. I knew Rhodes
James a bit in the early 1980’s when he was the president of the Cambridge University
Conservative Association when I was it’s chairman. That reference about Gilbert having no political
experience was really just a boast that Robert Rhodes James himself was a conservative MP
and the equally slighting reference to Martin not knowing Churchill was a reference to Rhodes
James himself having been close to Brendan Bracken who introduced him to Churchill.
Rhodes James and I never saw eye to eye, mainly because he was virulently opposed to Margaret
Thatcher whom I personally regarded, as I still do today, as the savior of her country
and the greatest peacetime prime minister of the century. Thank you. I never had much
time for Robert’s judgment of people ever since he was the principle officer in the
executive office of the Secretary General of the United Nations with the Austrian diplomat
Kurt Waldheim. Despite being a World War II historian Rhodes James never spotted the slight
gap in his boss’ resume for the rather key years of 1944 and 1945. During which it later
turned out that Waldheim hadn’t been studying for a law degree in the University of Vienna
as he claimed but in fact had been an in the stationed in Croatia where he denied seeing
atrocities despite shootings of partisans two hundred feet from his offices or having
personally ever witnessed any anti-Semitism despite his having personally approved leaflets
to the Soviets saying enough of the Jewish war, stop the killing, come over.
The real point rebutting Rhodes James’ critique of Martin Gilbert is a deeper one than even
Edward Luttwak makes however. Martin was more than capable of making moral judgments and
placing himself in his books when he wanted to as his books on Israel and the holocaust
proved but he recognized that the subjects he was writing about was for the ages, not
for an immediate time period. Any value judgments he sough to impose on his great, multi-volume
biography were likely to be out of date within a few decades. By allowing Churchill to speak
to us in his own words rather than through any authorial prism of Martin’s, the biography
leaves us with what every reader wants and needs from a great biographer, the real subject
on his own. That’s required Martin to step back and allow
the great man to take all the limelight. Of course Martin was constantly using his historian’s
judgment as to what to include and what to exclude, and we was constantly shocked that
the biography was so short rather than so long as we hear from Richard. So in that sense
he was imposing himself but at no point did he allow vanity or self-importance to go down
Rhodes James’ route of trying to make contemporaneous value judgments on long past contrivances.
It’s the key to understanding why it is one of the greatest biographies in the language
and moreover, in my view, the sheer accumulation of information and quotation meant that Martin
did indeed succeed in painting, quote, the portrait of a soul through his adventures
through life. Martin’s totally debilitating stroke which
led to his death in February came, in my view, partly as a result, and not just my view either,
by the way ladies and gentlemen, of the British media’s obsession with the Iraq war. The Chilcot
Inquiry on which he sat along with Sir Lawrence Freedman and the Judge Chilcot and two others,
was exhausting work for Martin at a time that he least needed it at an advanced age. It
was just too much. We’ve already had four inquiries on the Iraq war. They’ve all said
the same thing, we didn’t need to have a fifth. Unfortunately we did. Both Martin and Laurie
Freedman were attacked for even being on the committee because they were Jewish, an appalling
outbreak of anti-Semitism from amongst others. Oliver Miles the former ambassador to Libya,
a classic example I’m afraid ladies and gentlemen of the foreign office at it’s absolute arabist
worst. Biographers of Churchill left, right, good,
bad and indifferent are all facing a terrible encroaching ignorance about Churchill which
stems from the fact that his life and achievements are not presently taught about in school to
anything like the degree that they ought to be. As Richard pointed out in his speech,
in a recent survey twenty-three percent of British teenagers thought that Churchill was
a fictional character. They also by the way thought that Sherlock Holmes and Eleanor Rigby
were real people. However none of this is quite as bad as the forty percent of British
teenagers, and not a small number either, they interviewed I think 1600 of them, forty
percent of them who believed that the American War of Independence had been won by Denzel
Washington. Anyway, let’s look for some good news. The
good news is that people are still very keen to learn about Churchill when they’re given
the chance. Boris Johnson wrote that book the other day and he has sold 200,000 copies
of it. Actually my favorite review of it that said the problem with Winston Churchill is
that he thinks he’s Boris Johnson. I did my best by the way ladies and gentlemen when
he sent me that book to try and get rid of the mistakes but even I wasn’t able to stop
him from saying that Winston Churchill was camp. The least camp person it’s possible
to think of in history must be Sir Winston Churchill but nonetheless that’s Boris.
There are good, readable biographies by Roy Jenkins, who didn’t visit any archives and
he seemed to be under the impression that Winston Churchill was a liberal all his life
but nonetheless it’s immensely readable and the political bits are fun. But also by Elizabeth
Longford, Henry Pelling, Norman Rose, Jefferey Best and several others. Churchill also was
fortunate to have had a large number of serious and scholarly figures, by no means all from
the academy. Many of the best actually have been enthusiasts from outside the academy
who’ve added immeasurably to our knowledge of him.
In no particular order and conscious of missing out dozens of others I’d like to mention Paul
Addison, on Churchill’s domestic policies, John Ramsden on his legacy, David Reynolds
and Manfred Weidhorn on his writing, and Max Hastings, I don’t always agree with everything
Max Hastings said but nonetheless he’s worked impressively on his war craft. David Dilks
has been mentioned on his friendships and his relations with the commonwealth. Richard
Langworth of course who I see as Churchill’s representative on the earth. John Mather has
written about his health. Jonathan Schneer on the war cabinet which is an aspect very
well covered years ago by Sheila Lawler as well. Lynn Olsen on his youthful divertees.
Mary Soames of course, the late Mary Soams and the late Dick Howe on his marriage. John
and Celia Lee on his immediate family. Will Morrisey and Francois Cassidy on Churchill’s
relationship with De Gaulle. Warren Kimball on his relationship with FDR. David Stafford
on intelligence. Con Coughlin on his time with the Malakand Field Force. Raymond Callahan
and Barry Pitt and John Keegan on his relations with his generals and Christa Labelle and
Stephen Roscoe on his relations with his admirals. There’s been Barbara Leeming on his penultimate
decade. Celia Sands on his travels. Kenneth Weisbrode on his relationship with King George
the sixth. Morris Ashley and Bill Deekan on his time as a historian. Peter Clarke on his
journalism. Cita Stelzer, who’s with us in the audience today, on his eating and drinking.
Ted Morgan, Michael McCannalin 0and Kurt on his youth. Barry Singer of course on his sense
of style. Stephen on his cigars. Rodney Croft on his funeral and so on and so on and hopefully
so on forever. I suspect Warren Doctor will be joining the
honor roll with his forthcoming book on Churchill’s relations with Islam as of course Larry Arnn
will be with his Churchill’s trial and already is there with the work that he’s been doing
on the official biography and to add to that role are also the bibliographies compiled
by Ronald Cohen and Kurt Zoller and the collections of essays by David Canadine and one edited
by Robert Blake and William Roger Lewis. Then there are the reissues of Churchill’s books
by Jim Muller that we’ve just been hearing about, noble undertaking financed by in part
think ISI which is a great institution as well.
We historians can be a disputatious and sometimes rather vain bunch. Not for nothing is the
collective noun for historians malice but most of us tweeling in the field of Churchill
studies have very conscious that we’re only really dotting the I’s and crossing the T’s
of the great historians who’ve gone before, principally of course the person who many
of us here were proud to call our friend, the late, the great, Sir Martin Gilbert. Ladies
and gentlemen, thank you very much indeed. Female: Again we have some time for questions.
Dr. Roberts: This gentleman over there. Male 1: Could you tell me where you were and
what you were thinking in 2009 when the bust of Winston Churchill was removed from the
White House? Dr. Roberts: This is an interesting issue
because there are some people who argue that it wasn’t given to America per se. It was
never expected to be kept in the Oval Office all the time, that it was only given to the
Bush administration and therefore the Obama administration had every right to get rid
of it. I frankly haven’t looked into it in anything like the degree that some others
have. I of course felt, like I think probably everybody in this room did, that it was a
great shame, that it should have been taken out of the Oval Office. I didn’t know at the
time that there was another bust in the White House somewhere else and that it should have
been given back to the British Embassy, but the fact is that President Obama just has
every right to put busts Martin Luther King where ones of Winston Churchill were if he
believes, which he seems to, that his grandfather was tortured by Winston Churchill which he
was not. The president is under the impression, or
seems to have been, I don’t know whether he’s looked at any of this recent work that’s been
done and the articles that have been written that have looked into this in some detail
and which prove beyond doubt, it seems to me, that the dreams of his father are precisely
that, dreams. He seems to have been a deeply, deeply dishonest person, President Obama’s
father, who made up things all the time when he was sober and was in terms of what the
accidents that he caused and the damage that he caused to people, it strikes me as a deeply
unpleasant person and if one of the lies that he made up was that his father, President
Obama’s grandfather, was some great Myanmar nationalist leader and liberation fighter.
Well I’m afraid that just fits in very much with the overall level of duplicity that that
man has shown. Male 2: Hello over here. Earlier you talked
about the difference and the change of the treatment of Winston Churchill by his biographers.
I was wondering if you find a parallel with that with today and Margaret Thatcher and
whether she’s in danger of becoming mythical in the foreseeable future?
Dr. Roberts: Well as an historian, the world mythical is very difficult. I mean she’s legendary,
she’ll always be legendary. Myth implies that the stories aren’t necessarily true and having
know Margaret Thatcher, in fact she appointed me to take her place on the Margaret Thatcher
archive trust and she came around for dinner at our house we went round to her and she
was somebody who the more extraordinary the story, the more likely I am to believe it
in fact. So the myths about her, if you look at them closely, of course anybody who’s a
strong leader like her will accrete like barnacles accreting on the bottom of a well sailed boat.
However the fact is that she was a bit like Winston Churchill, somebody who one told stories
about. She was a truly extraordinary and inspirational person. So I think with that it’s a bit like
Martin Gilbert and Winston Churchill, you go to Charles Moore’s excellent official biography
of her and see what he thinks. Male 2: I meant mythical as in the twenty-three
percent of British children find Winston Churchill mythical.
Dr. Roberts: I see yeah. In a hundred years time, I’m sure twenty-three percent of British
schoolchildren won’t believe that Margaret Thatcher existed either.
Male 3: Should I raise my hand? Okay. Dr. Roberts: Well unless there are any other-
Male 3: Oh, I have one. Dr. Roberts: Oh, okay.
Male 3: You mentioned some of the biographies and I’m especially recently familiar with
the Jenkins biography. I think he summed it up by saying that he had previously though
Gladstone was the greatest Englishman of all time and he changed his mind after doing his
research on Churchill. Dr. Roberts: To hold the position of Prime
Minister, is what he said. Male 3: Right. Exactly, the greatest Prime
Minister, right. What about William Manchester? You didn’t talk about Manchester as a biographer.
I was wondering- Dr. Roberts: I didn’t.
Male 3: … your impression of his books. Dr. Roberts: I didn’t. I’m afraid that probably
I’m the only person in this room that was actually disappointed by, not the literature
of William Manchester. He was a very good writer but it just didn’t work for me. I don’t
know why, maybe it was the … I read it when I was university and I was expecting, maybe
I had high expectations of the historical scholarshop. I’m afraid I think the third
volume shouldn’t have been published at all. It was pitted with errors and was unfortunately
… although it was written by a very nice man, journalist, he hadn’t covered any of
the scholarship that’s been done in the last twenty years since William Manchester had
his stroke and it just … Don’t worry. I know William Manchester’s written these fabulous
selling books but I didn’t put him down on that list for a conscious reason.
Male 4: Dr.Roberts, just to digress a little bit, what are you currently working on and
what can we look forward to in your next work? Dr. Roberts: Well don’t hold your breath because
it’s not going to be published until 2018. Which for me by the way is absolutely nothing.
My last book on Napoleon took me longer than Napoleon spent on Centilina and Elba put together,
but no, it’s a single volume biography of Churchill. I’ve been commissioned by Penguin
US and UK to write a quarter of a million word, cradle to the grave life of the great
man so that’s how I’m going to be spending my next three or four years. Hugely looking
forward to them. I’m already deep into the second volume of his speeches. You know he
spoke eight million words I think it was so that’s what I’m going to be doing and a bit
like Richard and Jim said, the more you read of his his own words and that’s especially
true of the speeches of course by you also have the witty, we’re joined in the house
of commons in those speech books. The more you realize that Martin Gilbert was so right
when he said that he’d only managed to put ten percent of the whole in to the great official
biography which is another reason why the end of writing biographies will always be
more and all of us could really spend the rest of our lives reading everything that
Winston Churchill ever said or wrote. We’d still be holding our sides with laughter
at some of his witty adjoined and brilliant epithet. I’m just going to finish with one
which Richard will probably tell me he never said. Only tell me afterwards please, rather
than before the punch line Richard. When he spoke, as you all know, he was continually
broke. As we heard from Barry he spent more money on champagne than he should have. Twenty-six
pounds, eighteen shillings in 1899. Can you imagine how much money that was? I mean that
was the same as an average person earned in those days and so he was constantly broke
or on the verge of being broke and way he made his money was to come out to America
and to give speeches to enormous numbers of people across the country. During the Indian
Constitutional Crisis he was heckled by a lady who shouted at him from the back. “So
Mr. Churchill what do you intend to do about your Indians?” “Least ways madame,” he replied,
“not what you did with yours.” Thank you so much.
Tim: Well thank you very much Andrew and thanks all of you for attending this Hillsdale College
National Leadership Seminar. We are adjourned. Thank you.


  1. churchill was not a racist because racism is a invented concept to deny opinions of one people/race for another.
    Right or wrong they are just opinions. They are not another form of human thought.
    This historian wrongly ennables racialism concepts.

    further its unlikely race concepts were about innate things.
    Fair and square about results.

  2. I love Churchill and his story will be always a classic. I like this historians defence but he keeps slipping in Jewish agenda stuff. Churchill was often opposed to the jews and rightly so. This historian attacks peoples motives and so teaches attacking motives.

  3. Churchill was nothing but a fascist dictator who craved war, a vile cowardly individual who should have been executed for crimes against humanity

  4. And what about in 1918 using arsine-based war gas on Bolsheviks? And repatriations post-WW2? He got more things right than most of his contemporaries which is what counts….

  5. The Epic Friendship of FDR and Churchill: A Fascinating, Intimate Portrait (2003)
    The Film Archives https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Uybfpa7FtSU Jul 14, 2017
    FDR & Churchill there&then, like Blair & Bush, were tied hands&feet & hearts&minds by&to the same tribe of puppeteers, which, here&now, is more powerful&ruthless&immoral than ever.

    FDR & Churchill & Blair & Bush are traitors of their kind o/t worst kind.

    :_[[ hYlkeW (64y NL-Misanthropist & MGTOW-Monk/Hermit in DE)

  6. All the Con outrage over the bust seems pretty trivial now since they bet on the ‘pivot’ and instead got the biggest fascist since Adolf.

  7. “Then out spake brave Horatius, The Captain of the Gate: "To every man upon this earth Death cometh soon or late. And how can man die better Than facing fearful odds, For the ashes of his fathers, And the temples of his gods.” — Thomas Babington Macaulay, Lays of Ancient Rome

  8. I wonder if Churchill went to his grave not believing in Christ as the Son of God. Recent interviews with Andrew Roberts indicates that Churchill changed his mind over time on different issues in light of experience and knowledge. I wonder when the words Roberts quoted at the beginning of this talk were spoken. Later in his life, did Churchill change his mind on the nature of Christ?

  9. Harvey Weinstein television series. Do the potential portrayers of Winnie have to give Harvey a " massage " to get their feet in the door, as iit were ? I presume that plan has been shelved, anyway.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *