Eschewing the linear, chronological approach of most biographies, Yale Law School professor and Churchill devotee Rubin (Power Money Fame Sex: A User's Guide) has written 40 brief chapters looking at the British prime minister from multiple angles: Churchill as son, father, husband, orator, painter, historian, enemy of Hitler and many other roles. Rubin's unique approach works surprisingly well, bringing fresh insight to an exhaustively covered subject. Writing on Churchill as son, for instance, Rubin hammers home the point that he spent his life trying to measure up to an imagined, idealized father. Churchill's real father, Rubin makes clear, thought his son was destined for mediocrity and told him so. When she discusses Churchill's famous gifts as an orator, Rubin contends that his speeches were sometimes overblown, overly heroic and often ignored. She agrees with David Cannadine (In Churchill's Shadow) that Churchill's oratory was most effective when matched by times that required heroic action, such as the spring and summer of 1940. In a chapter devoted to Churchill's legendary drinking, Rubin provocatively presents arguments from both sides: that the drinking was harmless and that it was a major problem. In the end, Rubin sees "her" Churchill as a tragic hero. His life's goal was to preserve the British Empire, yet his greatest achievement, the defeat of Hitler, hastened the empire's end. While Rubin's account clearly isn't comprehensive and belabors a rather obvious point-that different, even opposing, perspectives on one life are possible-it is an excellent introduction to one of the most written about men in history. Photos.
Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
Adult/High School-In this fast-paced, fragmented account, each of the 40 short chapters examines one topic: Churchill as leader, father, in tears, etc. Some are no more than lists, one is a simple chronology, and another a compilation of quotes. But taken together, they capture some truths about him, chiefly the many contradictions and complexities of his life and career. Moreover, there are valuable lessons here concerning the difficulties of examining the great lives of history. Rubin has almost as much to say about biography as a subject as she has about Churchill-a good thing for readers relatively new to the genre. And a further lesson lies in her extensive notes and bibliography. It is instructive to witness how much research is necessary to support even a brief account of a long life. Average-quality, black-and-white photos have been thoughtfully chosen. Rubin has much to offer teens, especially those with only vague notions of the great man.
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.
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 21 days 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 2 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 6 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 10 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 11 months ago by G. RAMPY
for one who loves anything military and loves to read accounts of ones life.
a good choice for a hard person to buy a gift for.