|Editors Note 1
||Winston Churchill's funeral in 1965 was marked by solemn pageantry appropriate for a man who was the product of an imperial age and who had always believed in Britain having a great destiny. Yet even before his death, the country he identified himself with was disappearing and, long before it, he had been criticized as an anachronism. Since his death a constant flow of books and articles about his career has appeared and in recent years much of this has been hostile, portraying Churchill as a reactionary on many issues. Many have argued that his commitment in 1940 to a total war with Hitler ignored the possibility of a compromise peace and served to destroy what remained of Britain's wealth and influence, as wartime allies became post-war superpowers.|This new book addresses these and other issues without recourse to the well-tried format of conventional biography. It reassesses the historical literature Churchill's life has prompted and looks at both his successes and failures in a thematic way. It considers his role as a strategist and minister in the First World War, his rejection of appeasement in the 1930s, and his climatic years as a national leader from 1940 to 1945. His often maverick contribution to British party politics is explored, as are the values and beliefs which guided him. A separate chapter evaluates his part in the intractable politics of the Irish Question. Others cover his attitudes to the British Empire, to Europe, the United States, and the Soviet Union. Out of this overview emerges a politician in many ways flawed, yet also a larger than life figure with a generosity of spirit and leadership qualities which made him indispensable to Britain in the greatest crisis of its history.