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Churchill's Empire: The World That Made Him and the World He Made, by Richard Toye

New York: St. Martin's Griffin, 2011. Pp. xx, 424. Illus., notes, biblio., index. $16.99 paper. ISBN: 0312577133.

A look at the interactions between the world and Winston Churchill. 

Churchill’s Empire is a difficult book to catalogue, not quite a biography, nor even a “life and times”, although it does fulfill either of those roles to some extent.  Rather, Toye, author of the prize-winning 2007 Lloyd George and Churchill: Rivals for Greatness, gives us a look at the intellectual, political, and social forces that shaped Churchill’s world-view, and how his perception of the world shaped his actions during his long political career, thus helping to reshape the world.  This is a difficult task, for Churchill’s views on almost everything grew and changed over the years.  Toye’s nine chapters, which cover from as many as 18 years to as few as two, help illustrate this evolution.  Toye demonstrates that although Churchill was throughout his career, a staunch believer in the positive value of the British Empire, the man was also well aware of the negative aspects of imperialism.  This makes Churchill a hard man to categorized, for he can be found on different sides of almost every subject, from racial equality and the welfare state, to war and peace, monarchy and democracy, and more. 

Churchill’s Empire is an important read not only for those interested in the man and his influence on the twentieth century and beyond, but also for students of leadership in any era.

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Reviewer: A. A. Nofi, Review Editor   


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