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Churchill's Bodyguard Hardcover – November 7, 2005


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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 320 pages
  • Publisher: Headline Book Publishing (November 7, 2005)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0755314484
  • ISBN-13: 978-0755314485
  • Product Dimensions: 9 x 6.1 x 1.3 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.3 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (9 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,976,922 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Review

'a gripping saga... that engrossed me utterly from start to finish' Alexander Waugh on The Call-Up -- Telegraph 'The great merit of Tom Hickman's definitive study of national service is that it presents an entirely fair balance sheet.' Anthony Howard on The Call-Up -- Sunday Telegraph 20040822 '... Tom Hickman's comprehensive history ... is much more than a romp down memory lane.' Sunday Express -- Sunday Express 20040905 'Hickman has drawn on the memories of 90 fellow conscripts to produce an often moving but also amusing chronicle of the national service years.' Sunday Times -- Sunday Times 20040905 '... a fair-minded and perceptive book; it's hard to imagine there'll be a better summary of the subject.' Daily Telegraph -- Daily Telegraph 20040911 'a hugely enjoyable anecdotal history' Gary Sheffield, TLS -- Times Literary Supplement 20041126

About the Author

Tom Hickman has worked as a journalist and editor on numerous national and specialist publications including Today magazine, the Daily Mail; Women's Mirror; Telegraph Magazine; TV Times and Faces magazine. He has written ten books including a history of the BBC during the Second World War and the very well reviewed The Call-Up.

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Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

4 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Vincent Poirier on January 3, 2010
Format: Paperback
Tom Hickman's biography tells us only part of the story behind Detective Walter Thompson who was Churchill's bodyguard during World War II.

While we are regaled with many colourful and interesting anecdotes concerning Churchill and his relationship with Thompson, we are given very few details of Thompson's own life. The reason isn't that the biography is authorized because Hickman does describe the failure of Thompson's marriage and two affairs he had; so key events of his private life are laid open to public scrutiny.

What's missing then? Facts and themes that are basic to the modern craft of the biographer. For example, Thompson's date of birth is never even mentioned. Apart from one episode, his school days aren't described. His courtship and the early years of his marriage aren't fleshed out. If there are no letters or family documents available, then some sort of general picture of life in late Victorian and early Edwardian England should have been drawn.

At the very least, Hickman should have given us an account of how Scotland Yard recruited and formed its policemen. This theme, even if it could not be presented with the facts of Thompson's own training, really should have been developed since it was by joining the Yard that Thompson came to guard Churchill.

Still, the stories are fun. Churchill's well-known disregard for his personal safety is illustrated through dozens of little stories about his walks through London despite air raids and his rushing to rooftops to see V1 flying bombs.

The saddest thing about this book is that it prevents a better biography from being written because this one is just interesting enough to grab the market. It's a missed opportunity.

Vincent Poirier, Tokyo
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2 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Brian Joesten on January 2, 2013
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Not really a history of the bodyguard so much as a history of traveling and being around Winston Churchill. Lots of the author's commentary/opinions with some quotes or thoughts about what the bodyguard thought.
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2 of 3 people found the following review helpful By dkt56 on October 24, 2010
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I fear that I must agree with Mr. Poirier's review of this book. It is fun to read and has many agreeable anecdotes but it does not seem to be much about Mr. Thompson. Perhaps it is just what one would expect when one man is a charismatic world leader and the others purpose is to be neither seen or heard.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
For the espionage fan or Churchill admirer this is a must. Long and detailed it fills in all the gaps in our knowledge of the dangers the PM faced daily even long before WWII.
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4 of 7 people found the following review helpful By Denise L. Brown on October 24, 2008
Format: Paperback
This is a very interesting book, giving insight to a job that of which
most of us are unaware. Walter Thompson, Churchill's bodyguard before
and during the war, gives lots of details and anecdotes about the Prime
Minister, the man who saved Britain and very possibly, the world.
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