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In the Footsteps of Churchill Paperback – 6 Apr 2006


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Product details

  • Paperback: 464 pages
  • Publisher: BBC Books; New Ed edition (6 April 2006)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0563493348
  • ISBN-13: 978-0563493341
  • Product Dimensions: 12.6 x 2.9 x 19.8 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (6 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 703,758 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Richard Holmes was one of Britain's most successful historians and television presenters. Author of the best-selling Tommy, Redcoat and Wellington: The Iron Duke, he has also written and presented television series for the BBC. As well as serving in the TA, he taught military history at Sandhurst and, latterly, as Professor of Military and Security Studies at Cranfield University and the Royal Military College of Science. Richard Holmes died suddenly on 30 April 2011 from pneumonia, aged 65.

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Review

"In the Footsteps of Churchill may or may not be an unduly modest title for this biography of Churchill. Many exist but this is one of the very best, due to the vast scope of Richard Holmes' knowledge and also his empathy. Magnificent and magnanimous it is much like its subject." -- John Lukacs --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

About the Author

Richard Holmes is Professor of Military and Security Studies at Cranfield University and the Royal Military College of Science in Britain. He is the author of numerous books, and is the general editor of "The Oxford Companion to Military History." He lives in Hampshire, England. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful By Neutral VINE VOICE on 11 Feb. 2010
Format: Paperback
This book was written by Richard Holmes to accompany the BBC TV series. Not having seen the series, I had few pre-conceptions about the subject. I had read "My Early Life", studied the period of Churchill's political life in some detail and was aware of his curious mixture of conservatism and liberalism. I remember my surprise when reading his personal note in the Cabinet papers recording opposition to the extension of female suffrage to all women in 1928. It was an issue he felt strongly about but not one worthy of resignation.

Unlike many politicians who lead their country to war Churchill had first hand experience of being under fire. No militarist, as early as 1909 he wrote, "I feel more deeply every year....what vile and wicked folly and barbarism it all is". He fought in the Sudan where he narrowly escaped death and was captured in South Africa. He was deposed as First Lord of the Admiralty in 1915 having been blamed for the losses at Gallipoli during the failed Dardanelles campaign, a failure which haunted him for the rest of his life. In typical fashion he joined the army and served for a short while in France before returning to politics. By this time Churchill, "a monumental egoist", had convinced himself the world revolved around him. Churchill himself wrote of playing to the gallery and there is no doubt he intended to be centre stage. Churchill's adult life included more than a hint of infantile behaviour. Holmes found Churchill's youthful "unvarnished egomania and cynical exploitation of people who cared for him frankly detestable"

Churchill was a master of the English language, derived from spending three times longer than anyone else in his class at Harrow learning it.
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful By M. Richards on 29 Jun. 2008
Format: Hardcover
It took me 10 pages to get used to Richard Holmes way of writing, but after that I couldn't put it down. I found this an easier read than Roy Jenkins Churchill book, which I didn't finish. If you want a whole-life biography about Churchill, written in a form that excludes short simple sentences, with lots of references from others, and the opportunity to form your own opinions, this achieves it nicely. I would not have managed this book as a teenager, but as a mature, average IQ reader I found it very enjoyable.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Malcolm Clarke on 12 Nov. 2009
Format: Hardcover
Holmes writes honestly about a man who had as many flaws as successes during his colourful political career. Holmes touches on things like how Churchills ego dictated most of what he did and also his love of oratory speeches, which he spent countless hours dictating to dedicated secretaries, were written with his legacy in mind even from a young age. Holmes does not paint a picture of a hero, but of a man who was a victory for circumstance and in terms of being suited for war leadership, lucky one came along in terms of his legacy. He discusses in detail taboo subjects like his mothers relationship with Churchill containing "erotic overtones" and how his work colleagues found him tiresome yet inspiring.

The book is extremely well researched, well written as you would expect from an Oxford Lecturer of many years experience. There is detail on every page, presented in a balanced arguement. Holmes looks beyond Churchill attempting to write history in his huge paper trial of memoirs, books and speeches and looks behind all of this to reveal the truth about the man who intrigues us so much. Very highly recommended. I have given this book five stars because it is easy to laud Churchill as a hero of the nation, but more commendable to note that much of his strengths of character could also be considered massive weaknesses.
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