Thursday, March 4, 2010

Review: Winston Churchill by John Perry

Part of a new series from Thomas Nelson called "Christian Encounters", John Perry's quick-read biography of the amazing Winston Churchill is fabulous!  Detailing the great-man's life from birth at Blenheim to death 91 years later, Perry awakens an interest in the reader to pursue further information about this British statesman.

Churchill, born to an upper-crust family (who lost all their money through various vices) in 1874, spent much of his growing up years away from home.  According to Perry, Churchill's closest "family member" was his nanny of many years, Elizabeth Everest, from whom Churchill learned about love and family and religion and loyalty.  Churchill went on to study at Sandhurst for a military career which he parlayed into a reporting job with first-hand accounts of Cuban conflicts, the Boer war and Indian insurrections.  Churchill had these accounts -- reportedly more fictionalized than fact -- published into books that were popularly successful, launching his now-famous political career.  They also netted him quite an income that allowed him to live a life-style that his family funds wouldn't have been able to afford.

Churchill's popularity led him to run for Parliament -- as a member of the House of Commons in 1900.  His political career, begun under the reign of Queen Victoria, spanned more than 60 years.  But his finest hour, for which he is most remembered, would be his drive and spirit and oratory during the dark years of World War 2.  Churchill consistently mentions in his letters, journals and public speeches, that God saved him through many childhood illnesses and accidents ... carried him through the time of being a prisoner of war during the Boer War ... kept bringing him back to Parliament for the express reason to have Churchill as Prime Minister of Britain during the war-torn years of  1940-45.

Throughout this book, Perry gives us peeks at Churchill's spirtituality, his understanding of religion, and his "take" on God.  Because of his upbringing -- basically raised by an Anglican, anti-Catholic nanny -- Churchill never felt pulled to any specific organized religion.  During his time spent fighting and reporting conflict in the early 1900s, Churchill began to study religion -- to understand his place in the greater scheme of things.  It was at this time that Churchill finally synthesized his own spirituality -- God is in His heaven, watching over us all, but man makes his own opportunities and responds accordingly.  In other words, Churchill would give God credit for the things he himself couldn't do (protecting Churchill from harm or disease) but also had a healthy (if not, egocentric) believe in his own greatness.

A quick-read at just 157 pages, this book gives a great introduction to a man who stood only five-foot-eight and yet comes down to us through history as a giant among men.  I would recommend this for upper highschool years and above.  A cool thing that Thomas Nelson Publishers has done is create an online reading-group guide to this book, as well as all the books in their Christian Encounter series.

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from Thomas Nelson Publishers as part of their book review bloggers program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.

1 comment:

  1. Some of my favorite quotes are from Churchill. He spoke the truth when it needed to be spoken without much worry about who he was going to upset in the process.

    The truth is incontrovertible, malice may attack it, ignorance may deride it, but in the end; there it is.

    Thanks Mary! I see this in our permanent collection.