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The Wit & Wisdom of Winston Churchill Paperback – January, 1995
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About the Author
James C. Humes is a former speechwriter for Presidents Eisenhower, Nixon, Ford, and Reagan. He has written numerous books, including Instant Eloquence, Podium Humor, The Sir Winston Method, Citizen Shakespeare, and The Wit & Wisdom of Winston Churchill. He lives in Philadelphia.
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Top Customer Reviews
One notable quote was missing, however. Churchill was once reported to have said, after meeting Eleanor Roosevelt: " I have faced war, and I have faced Eleanor. I prefer war."
Humes first brings to light many of the great thoughts of Churchill in "Observations and Opinions." Humes classifies key words alphabetically without giving context so that readers can easily find a quote of their liking about a specific subject. Some readers might get frustrated about it if they are not familiar with the key milestones in the life and career of Churchill. These readers can read books such as "Churchill a Life", "Churchill a Study in Greatness", "Clementine Churchill The Biography of a Marriage" or "Winston and Clementine The Personal Letters of the Churchills" to fill in the gaps in their knowledge of Churchill for that purpose.
Humes forges ahead in a similar way in "Orations and Perorations", "Coiners of Phrases", "Saints and Sinners" and "Escapades and Encounters." In these sections, Humes is usually very good at giving his audience the context so that readers better understand where Churchill was coming from. Hours of fun and laughter are virtually guaranteed, especially in "Escapades and Encounters."
Churchill's witticism, wisdom and oratory probably reached their climax in the faithful summer of 1940 when Britain stood alone against the Nazi monster. Churchill galvanized by his words and actions the civilized world to soldier on when the horizon seemed hopelessly bleak. As President Franklin Roosevelt said to his aide Harry Hopkins after listening to one of Churchill's radio broadcasts during that period: "As long as that old bastard is in charge, Britain will never surrender." The words of Churchill will continue to resonate for a long time in the heart and soul of humanity. Churchill's words will further shine like diamonds in the night when humanity loses hope from time to time.
There are all the favorites here: the Lady Nancy Astor tea story, the acerbic prepositional rejoinder to the supercilious editing of an assistant, the choice between sherry and adultery, and so on. More importantly, one begins to acquire a notion of the extent to which Churchill, as Shakespeare before him did, has shapped our language, our thoughts, and our clichés: "trade no aid", Iron Curtain, and "blood, sweat, and tears."
Every page is a gem, and this is the perfect book for bed or bathroom, if you are a lover of words, wit, and Winston.
p.s. The very nice, concise introduction by Richard M. Nixon is a quirky little joy as well.