Thursday, January 24, 2008

Martin Gilbert's Winston Churchill

If it wasn't for Booknotes on CSPAN 3 I wouldn't know what to read, fortunately on the 178,385,346,756,526,324 day God created Brian Lamb and subsequently gave me a predilection for caffeinated beverages. I love the format of Booknotes, it's just Brian Lamb, an author on a nondescript set, talking about a book. Lamb is the most self effacing, almost laconic interviewer you're ever likely to see on TV. It's never about him, it's always about the book, the subject, the author on how the author chose the subject of the book. For lazy bastards like me it's often a suitable substitute for actual reading.
The other night they aired the interview with Martin Gilbert on his one volume biography of Winston Churchill. So far it's a great read, but of course it's easy to be interesting when writing about the greatest man in the 20th century. When reading about Churchill you almost get the feeling that everything in his long, interesting life was designed to prepare him to rally the forces of Democracy to oppose Nazi Germany.
Winston Churchill died this day in 1965. When I was in England in 1992, I visited Churchill's grave at St. Martins Church Bladon, Oxfordshire - not far from Churchills ancestral home at Blenheim Palace. It's a little Cotswold stone church with a humble little grave devoid of pretense, pomp or security with a smattering of ash trees about.

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