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The reader debates the categorical use of such superlatives. Johnson is sometimes too kind to his subject: Churchill’s being a “Conservative, Liberal, Coalition, Constitutionalist, Unionist, and National Conservative” (15), is definitely the sign of a political opportunist and the author’s terming this “Churchill’s courage in crossing the floor” (15), is a little mild!
Churchill’s foresight is remarkable. His “prophetic words --- spoken more than a dozen years before the catastrophe” (Johnson, 14) of World War I, show him to be a man of awesome intellect. Another instance of Churchill’s remarkable judgment is the case of communist Russia, when he attempts to reverse Lenin’s Bolshevik coup in 1917, and nip communism in the bud. Again, his failed attempts to convince FDR to decisively combat communism in the final stages of World War II, show that he is the only senior statesman of that time to fully appreciate the dangers of communism. Johnson provokes the reader to wonder whether the Cold War, and the atrocities of the Gulag, could have been avoided if Churchill had his way. Churchill is one of the first to realize the threat posed by Hitler. Churchill’s early investment in Middle East oil, through BP, is another case which demonstrates his prescience.
Churchill is so completely identified with Britain in the period of war that it is a revelation to know that he was also an excellent peace time administrator. His welfare measures as President of the Board of Trade, and his prison reforms as Home Secretary, add to his stature. He is obviously an administrator par excellence. Britain definitely would not have had the navy and air force she did, if not for Churchill.
Johnson’s inclusion of many of Churchill’s witticisms adds to the appeal of the book and ensures that the heavy parts are enlivened and the reader is never bored. Some gems: “I trod on the Prince of Wales’s toe,” he recorded complacently, “and
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