Tuesday, August 28, 2007

The Churchill Series – Aug. 28, 2007

(One of a series of weekday posts on the life of Winston S. Churchill.)

Yesterday I ended a five-part series intended to refute assertions by some historians that Churchill was insensitive to the problems and accomplishments of ordinary people, particularly those who worked for him.

In the first of the five posts historian Maurice Ashley, not one of those who’s embraced the insensitivity claim, nevertheless noted that an historian as distinguished as A.J.P. Taylor has written that [Churchill] was an ‘atrocious’ employer.

Ashley gave as another example of what we might call the “‘Churchill was insensitive to 'ordinary people’ school of historiography” the opining of a reviewer of Manchester’s The Last Lion. The reviewer claimed Churchill treated his research assistants and secretaries badly and underpaid them.

Taylor, the reviewer and others are wrong. The four series posts which followed the first made that abundantly clear. For those of you who many want to take a second look they’re, in chronological order, here, here, here, and here.

I believe the series did an effective job of refuting the assertions of “the insensitivity school.” But I couldn’t leave the series where it was because, looking back on the series, I realized I’d failed to mention what is the best and greatest example of Churchill’s understanding of the needs of “ordinary people” and his concern for their welfare: his defense of their freedoms.

I don’t doubt that all of you agree with that.

I hope you’re back tomorrow.