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Winston Churchill: A Life (Penguin Lives) [Kindle Edition]

John Keegan

Kindle-Preis: EUR 8,24 Inkl. MwSt. und kostenloser drahtloser Lieferung über Amazon Whispernet

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Produktbeschreibungen

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He was something of a bully, something of a blowhard, without friends and always in search of a sympathetic audience for his monologues. Yet, writes John Keegan in this slender but thorough portrait, Winston Churchill was unquestionably the right man for the time.

Few biographers are better equipped than Keegan, the eminent military historian, to write of Churchill as a wartime leader. Indeed, Keegan suggests, Churchill was never more at ease than when confronting some fierce enemy, whether across the English Channel or a range of Afghan hills; it was from the saddle that he developed his "vision of how an enlightened empire might transform the future of mankind." The rise of other, less enlightened empires helped put an end to his own, but Churchill steadfastly insisted on a strong role for Great Britain in the postwar world--in which he succeeded, even if voters turned him out of office almost as soon as the war ended.

Keegan's respectful portrait assesses Churchill's many accomplishments (and a few noteworthy failures) as he sought, in Churchill's ringing words, to "resist oppression, to protect the weak, to vindicate the profound but unwritten Law of Nations." Admirers of Churchill and students of his time will find much of value in these pages. --Gregory McNamee

Amazon.com

He was something of a bully, something of a blowhard, without friends and always in search of a sympathetic audience for his monologues. Yet, writes John Keegan in this slender but thorough portrait, Winston Churchill was unquestionably the right man for the time.

Few biographers are better equipped than Keegan, the eminent military historian, to write of Churchill as a wartime leader. Indeed, Keegan suggests, Churchill was never more at ease than when confronting some fierce enemy, whether across the English Channel or a range of Afghan hills; it was from the saddle that he developed his "vision of how an enlightened empire might transform the future of mankind." The rise of other, less enlightened empires helped put an end to his own, but Churchill steadfastly insisted on a strong role for Great Britain in the postwar world--in which he succeeded, even if voters turned him out of office almost as soon as the war ended.

Keegan's respectful portrait assesses Churchill's many accomplishments (and a few noteworthy failures) as he sought, in Churchill's ringing words, to "resist oppression, to protect the weak, to vindicate the profound but unwritten Law of Nations." Admirers of Churchill and students of his time will find much of value in these pages. --Gregory McNamee


Produktinformation

  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • Dateigröße: 267 KB
  • Seitenzahl der Print-Ausgabe: 208 Seiten
  • Verlag: Penguin Books; Auflage: Reprint (30. Oktober 2007)
  • Verkauf durch: Amazon Media EU S.à r.l.
  • Sprache: Englisch
  • ASIN: B001RWQVR6
  • Text-to-Speech (Vorlesemodus): Aktiviert
  • X-Ray:
  • Amazon Bestseller-Rang: #229.581 Bezahlt in Kindle-Shop (Siehe Top 100 Bezahlt in Kindle-Shop)

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Amazon.com: 4.2 von 5 Sternen  44 Rezensionen
61 von 62 Kunden fanden die folgende Rezension hilfreich
5.0 von 5 Sternen "Where lies the right?" 18. November 2002
Von Robert Morris - Veröffentlicht auf Amazon.com
Format:Gebundene Ausgabe
This is one of several volumes in the Penguin Lives Series, each of which written by a distinguished author in her or his own right. Each provides a concise but remarkably comprehensive biography of its subject in combination with a penetrating analysis of the significance of that subject's life and career. I think this is a brilliant concept. My only complaint (albeit a quibble) is that even an abbreviated index is not provided. Those who wish to learn more about the given subject are directed to other sources.
When preparing to review various volumes in this series, I have struggled with determining what would be of greatest interest and assistance to those who read my reviews. Finally I decided that a few brief excerpts and then some concluding comments of my own would be appropriate.
On Churchill's values: "His beliefs had very simple origins, in the piety and goodness of his beloved nanny, Mrs. Everest; in the code of schoolboy fair play; in the ethic of manliness learned at the Royal Military College (RMC) at Sandhurst and in his regiment; in the strictures of the Commandments, preached in the Old Testament language that was to be one of the strongest of influences on his own, in Harrow School chapel. From all of those sources Churchill derived an undoubted sense of sin; his horror of wrongdoing was to inform his political life, particularly as it brought him eventually to confront the crimes of the dictators." (page 11)
On Sir John ("Jackie") Fisher, as First Sea Lord, an early supporter of Churchill's career: "Fisher was that rare but valuable bird, a creative eccentric. Brave beyond question, a seadog to his fingertips, he had no truck with the settled order of things and was forever in search for a better way, a faster ship, a deadlier weapon....His nature was as passionate as Churchill's, his mind as quick; it was inevitable that the two should quarrel, but their differences were soon made up." (page 79)
On Churchill and England during their "darkest hours": "Churchill privately confessed to depression. The sinkings of British merchant shipping...particularly lowered his optimism....[and yet according to Edward R. Murrow] one of Churchill's greatest achievements as wartime prime minister was to have 'mobilized the English language and sent it into battle'...[as when addressing the House of Commons he insisted] 'We shall not fail or falter; we shall not weaken or tire. Neither the sudden shock of battle, nor the long-drawn trials of vigilance and exertion will wear us down. Give us the tools and we will [in italics] finish the job!'" (Pages 142-143)
On what inspired Churchill to become a great war leader: "...he listened to himself....he listened to the version of British history he had constructed in his head as a subaltern in his hot, dreamy Indian afternoons; he listened to his own apotheosis in the biography of his ancestor [the first duke of Malborough]; he listened to his retelling of the First World War as an epic of of world crisis and eventual triumph; he listened to his recollections of his own youth and acquaintances then retold in his lives of Great Contemporaries (1937); his listened to his own version of American history as an equal epic to Britain's in the championship of liberty." (pages 190-191)
Of special interest to me was Keegan's brilliant analysis of the many paradoxes which define Churchill the man. For example: "Companionable, he had few friends. Quick to display emotion, he evoked little personal affection outside his immediate family. A devoted husband and father, he was, by the account of his favorite and deeply loving daughter, Mary...difficult at home, often impossible." Whether despite or because of his paradoxical nature, however, Churchill led his nation to eventual victory at a time when probably no one else could. Following his death in 1965 at the age of 90, his coffin was buried in a churchyard of the little Oxfordshire village of Bladon, near his birthplace at Blenheim Palace. However, Keegan suggests, "Churchill's real burial place is in the hearts of human beings."
As is also true of the other volumes in the "Penguin Lives" series, this one provides all of the essential historical and biographical information but its greatest strength lies in the extended commentary, in this instance by John Keegan, arguably the greatest of 20th century military historians. He includes a substantial list of "Sources"" for those who wish to learn more about Churchill. I hope these brief excerpts encourage those who read this review to read Keegan's biography. It is indeed a brilliant achievement.
30 von 30 Kunden fanden die folgende Rezension hilfreich
3.0 von 5 Sternen Great subject, great author, weak effort 3. Februar 2003
Von Alcuin - Veröffentlicht auf Amazon.com
Format:Gebundene Ausgabe
This ought to be a terrific book. Winston Churchill led a fascinating life and shaped the history of a time with many lessons for our own. John Keegan is a wonderful military historian whose book "In the Face of Battle" I still assign to students. Moreover, there is a real need for a biography of Churchill with a military emphasis. I plunged into this book with enthusiasm after having waded through the parliamentary detail of Roy Jenkins's Churchill biography. But this is very ordinary. It provides a competent sketch of well-known information, and would not make a bad introduction for someone unfamiliar with the man or the time. That merits several stars. But it does not go beyond that; tracing the intricate interweaving of the political, moral, and military strands that enabled this leader to stand almost alone against tyranny and to hold his country with him remains a challenge to future biographers. Part of the problem may be that Keegan's greatest strength as a writer is his ability to recreate small moments of history in amazingly vivid detail. Perhaps a series of vignettes of crucial moments in Churchill's career would have suited Keegan's talents better.
26 von 26 Kunden fanden die folgende Rezension hilfreich
4.0 von 5 Sternen Short but sweet - as only Keegan could write it 6. Januar 2005
Von Craig MACKINNON - Veröffentlicht auf Amazon.com
Format:Gebundene Ausgabe
John Keegan has a flair for bringing order from apparent chaos, for finding unifying themes through events separated vastly in time. Thus, he is a good choice to write this short biography of Churchill. One might legitimately ask, "How can you condense the life of Churchill into such a slim (200 pages) volume?" The answer is here for everyone to see.

Keegan gives a good flavour for the man, touching on his important speeches, his bullying of subordinates, his painting, his variable health. He leaves out what is not important in understanding the man: his membership in the bricklayers' guild is not mentioned, for example. Clearly, Keegan the military historian is mostly interested in Churchill's wartime leadership - in both World Wars. He also makes sure to point out some of Churchill's other policy issues - his support of the working man (Churchill is often, wrongly, believed to be anti-working class) is the most interesting because it's often lost in the detail of larger tomes.

It's ironic that Churchill himself was incapable of writing a history like this - his "biography" of Marlborough was several volumes long. Can the life of a man like Churchill be condensed into 200 pages? Probably not, but Keegan's attempt is very readable and enjoyable, and is recommended even to those that have read heftier biographies. The exercise of working within space constraints forces the writer to get to the core of the subject, and this is what Keegan does in this biography.
14 von 14 Kunden fanden die folgende Rezension hilfreich
5.0 von 5 Sternen Exceptional Biography by an Exceptional Scholar 5. März 2004
Von Thomas E. Leuze - Veröffentlicht auf Amazon.com
Format:Gebundene Ausgabe
John Keegan is one of the most distinguished military historians of our day. He was an excellent choice to pen this biography of Winston Churchill. Like the other Penguin Lives books, this volume presents an excellent, brief introduction to the life of Britain's WWII Prime Minister Winston Churchill.
Keegan begins by telling of his own "immunity" to the Churchillian legend and how that was transmuted into an admiration upon listening to an album of Churchill's war speeches.
Keegan describes Churchill's exploits as a young soldier, his writing life, his days as a Member of Parliament, and his years as Prime Minister. Brief, to the point, this is a very nice introduction to Churchill.
This is a great book for a layman. To those who have already read lengthier biographies of Churchill, this may be a nice review. Popular, not academic.
13 von 14 Kunden fanden die folgende Rezension hilfreich
5.0 von 5 Sternen Maybe the best Penguin Life thus far? 25. Juni 2003
Von "mr_arch_stanton" - Veröffentlicht auf Amazon.com
Format:Gebundene Ausgabe
Well, I haven't read them all, but I have read quite a few, and I think John Keegan's brief life of Churchill is magnificent. Keegan's expertise on military history adds much to our understanding of Churchill. Through Keegan's lens, we see how Churchill's early experiences in Cuba, India, Sudan, and South Africa were truly formative, rather than mere adventures (and opportunities to earn money through journalism). Similarly, Keegan's explanation of the Gallipoli affair helped me understand for the first time why it brought Churchill such ignomy; conversely, my appreciation for Churchill rose even higher as Keegan clearly laid out how Churchill prepared the British fleet for war against the Kaiser. Keegan also shines light on a usually unremarked upon episode of Churchill's life: his months spent in the trenchs on the Western front during the Great War. I have read the (sadly uncompleted) Manchester and the Gilbert tomes, and I highly recommend this little volume as either an introduction to Churchill or as a tasty treat to those who already admire the great man. I ALSO RECOMMEND PURCHASING AN AUDIO CD OR CASSETTE OF CHURCHILL'S WARTIME SPEECHES (AVAILABLE HERE AT AMAZON).
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