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Forty Ways to Look at Winston Churchill: A Brief Account of a Long Life Paperback – May 11, 2004
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From Publishers Weekly
Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
From School Library Journal
Robert Saunderson, Berkeley Public Library, CA
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
More About the Author
On my blog, www.gretchenrubin.com, I write about my daily adventures in happiness.
My previous books include a bestselling biography of Winston Churchill, "Forty Ways to Look at Winston Churchill," and one of John Kennedy, "Forty Ways to Look at JFK." My first book, "Power Money Fame S..: A User's Guide," is social criticism in the guise of a user's manual. "Profane Waste" was a collaboration with artist Dana Hoey. I've also written three dreadful novels that are safely locked away in a drawer.
Before turning to writing, I had a career in law. A graduate of Yale and Yale Law School, I clerked for Justice Sandra Day O'Connor and was editor-in-chief of the Yale Law Journal. I live in New York City with my husband and two daughters.
Top Customer Reviews
Many of the reviews on this page describe this book as a good shorter biography of Churchill, but for people looking for a brief introductory volume, I would much sooner point them to one of the excellent short bios that came out in 2002, Lukacs' Churchill: Visionary. Statesman. Historian. or Keegan's Winston Churchill: A Penguin Life (Penguin Lives). Both of them are "conventional" narrative biographies, but each does a fine job laying out the motivations, facts, and consequences of Churchill's massive life. I think it's better to master the themes before exploring the variations, as Rubin does. And while not everyone wants to read thick tomes like Jenkins or Rose or Manchester (or still yet the official biography by Randolph Churchill and Martin Gilbert), I'm afraid anyone who relies on "Forty Ways..." as their sole source of information on, and interpretation of, the life of the Man of the (Twentieth) Century will be selling herself short.Read more ›
"Forty Ways" is an extraordinarily honest book: Rubin does not pretend that a biographer can know it all. She presents both sides to questions about Churchill's drinking, his "black dog" depressions, his relations with the two Randolphs in his life (his father and his son), his egotism ("I am so conceited," Churchill wrote his mother, that "I do not believe the Gods would create so potent a being as myself for so prosaic an ending" as an early death). There is no effort to deceive the reader here, to trick him into embracing the author's favorite theory: Rubin candidly admits that her Churchill is a hero and a great man, but she insists that the reader must draw his own conclusions.
Rubin is splendid on Sir Winston's use of language, the blessings and burdens of his Spencer-Churchill heritage, his painting, his bulldog bellicosity, his "island nation" patriotism, his relations with Hitler, the Romantic qualities of his historical imagination, the "Dickensian aptness" of his name, his complicated relations with his wife. ("Oh my darling do not write of 'friendship' to me," Churchill told Clementine, "I love you more each month that passes and feel the need of you & all your beauty. . . . I am so devoured by egoism that I wd like to have another soul in another world & meet you in another setting, & pay you all the love and honour of the gt romances.") The end of the book is extraordinarily moving.Read more ›
Again and again (and again), this pattern is repeated. On one page, the same clause from a Churchill quote appears three times. Enough already. It's bad enough that the writer made this mistake, but it's unforgivable for the editor to let it pass for publication in this shape. By paring 50 pages off the manuscript, it would be just what it claims to be -- not a bad short rehash of the existing Churchill biographies.
Save your money. Get another Churchill biography.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Very interesting comments about various aspects of Churchill's life - some more believable than others that seemed slightly contrived, but still worth thinking about.Published 2 months ago by elizjean
Your choice of topics for each essay on Winston Churchill are excellent and then to address each topic from a critical thinking perspective made this book unique and a very... Read morePublished 6 months ago by ANiceCupOfTea
Not your typical biographical undertaking, Rubin was upfront from the start at the way she would address her subject- from both directions (she does this in both the Churchill and... Read morePublished 8 months ago by GuinnessGal
Very interesting look at Churchill's life .
Probably an overview more the point .
Compares different assessments by historians of his life,many of which I didn't... Read more
I have read many books about the life of Winston Churchill, but this one taught me more than the others combined.Published 11 months ago by John
Forty Ways reminded me of Wallace Stevens's poem "Thirteen ways of looking at a blackbird" in that it seems to be a pastiche of perspective and wasn't intended to be... Read morePublished 15 months ago by TC
One of my all-time fav books. Read it and re-read it. Chock full of insights you can keep coming back to. Highly recommended. Read morePublished 16 months ago by G. RAMPY