32 of 32 people found the following review helpful
Great subject, great author, weak effort,
This review is from: Winston Churchill (Hardcover)
This ought to be a terrific book. Winston Churchill led a fascinating life and shaped the history of a time with many lessons for our own. John Keegan is a wonderful military historian whose book "In the Face of Battle" I still assign to students. Moreover, there is a real need for a biography of Churchill with a military emphasis. I plunged into this book with enthusiasm after having waded through the parliamentary detail of Roy Jenkins's Churchill biography. But this is very ordinary. It provides a competent sketch of well-known information, and would not make a bad introduction for someone unfamiliar with the man or the time. That merits several stars. But it does not go beyond that; tracing the intricate interweaving of the political, moral, and military strands that enabled this leader to stand almost alone against tyranny and to hold his country with him remains a challenge to future biographers. Part of the problem may be that Keegan's greatest strength as a writer is his ability to recreate small moments of history in amazingly vivid detail. Perhaps a series of vignettes of crucial moments in Churchill's career would have suited Keegan's talents better.