Friday, May 15, 2009

The Churchill Series - May 15, 2009

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

In Churchill by His Contemporaries, edited by Charles Eade and published in 1955, President Eisenhower recalled Churchill as a wartime leader “of extraordinarily strong convictions and a master in argument and debate.”

About that no one would disagree with Ike, who went on to say:

Completely devoted to winning the war and discharging his responsibility as Prime Minister of Great Britain, he was difficult indeed to combat when conviction compelled disagreement with his views. …

He could become intensely oratorical, even in discussion with a single person, but at the same time his intensity of purpose made his delivery seem natural and appropriate. He used humor and pathos with equal facility, and drew on everything from the Greek classics to Donald Duck for quotation, cliché and forceful slang to support his position. (p.159)
Ike nicely captures the essential Churchill arguing his case. I especially liked his reference to Churchill drawing “support for his case from Greek classics to Donald Duck.”

I once read the memoir of a Churchill aide who said he recalled an instance when Churchill in successive sentences quoted first from Gibbons' Decline and Fall and then in the second sentence from a Gilbert & Sullivan operetta.

I hope you all have a nice weekend.