Thursday, March 26, 2009

The Churchill Series - Mar. 25, 2009

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

Dominique Enright has brought together a nice collection of anecdotes and commentary in
The Wicked Wit of Winston Churchill. Here’s a bit of it:

Making speeches, WSC is said to have claimed, is “The art of making deep sounds from the stomach sound like important messages from the brain.” […]

[Churchill’s] friend, [F. E. Smith, later] Lord Birkenhead [once] quipped; “Winston has devoted the best years of his life to preparing his impromptu speeches.” […]

[Churchill worked his secretaries ] hard – to the point of making them stay up all night taking dictation – (“I shall need two women tonight,” he would say to his Private Secretary at busy times, no doubt loudly enough to startle any guest not in the know); and he was kind to them, if sometimes irritable and impatient.

Almost without exception they, and also his male research assistants and Private Secretaries, grew to love him – “His secretaries adored him …We were all in love with him; he was such a lovely man, said Maurice Ashley, one of his research assistants.

Enright’s book is a brief , fun, and sometimes touching read for anyone, especially fans of “Our Man.” In Enright see pages 45-6 and 95-6 for the items mentioned here.