by Jeremy Havardi
London: Shepheard-Walwyn/Chicago: Independent Publishers Group, 2010. Pp. viii, 424.
Notes, biblio., index. $49.95. ISBN: 0856832650
In The Greatest Briton, Harvadi, a journalist and free lance philosopher, takes a curious, and in the end rather interesting look at Churchill’s views on a wide variety of subjects.
Harvadi uses over 50 short essays, each of which addresses a single issue. These range from inquiries into whether Churchill was a war monger, a social reformer, or admirer of Mussolini, to questions about whether he invented the tank, supported a harsh peace in 1919, “sacrificed” Coventry in 1940, or had actors read his radio addresses. The essays are grouped into ten “chapters”, nine of which deal with various periods in Churchill’s life, while the last attempts to review his broader political philosophy. Although the work could be more critical, and certain aspects of Churchill’s life are overlooked (where, for example, is “Was Churchill an Alcoholic?” ), many of the essays are quite thoughtful and some throw light on often obscure aspects of his activities, such as his command of a battalion on the Western Front and his support for free trade or the welfare state.
A good read for anyone interested in Churchill, the world wars, and even the Cold War.