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Andrew Roberts Discusses Churchill’s Reputation

Video of Distinguished Historian Speaking at Cornell University

1421641_10202163800517649_930352850_nAndrew Roberts at 30th International Churchill Conference in WashingtonFresh from speaking at the 30th International Churchill Conference in Washington, D.C., Dr. Andrew Roberts spoke in his capacity as the inaugural Merrill Family Visiting Professor at Cornell University in Ithaca, New York. While the title of his talk was “Winston Churchill: Brilliant Statesman or Brutal Demagogue”, in fact Dr. Roberts spoke about Churchill’s reputation today, how it is viewed and what people say. The 35 minute talk was followed by 20 minutes of questions and answers from students and faculty. Dr. Roberts addressed some of the persistent myths and often bizarre claims, all of which have been refuted. While Churchill’s historical reputation appears well established in the public mind, there has been a trend over the last generation among authors to disparage this image. Dr. Roberts offers some explanations for this and places these revisionist theories in perspective. To view the video, please CLICK HERE.

Among the charges levelled at Churchill with which Dr. Roberts deals in his talk are those alleging that Churchill was responsible for the attack on Pearl Harbor, the sinking of the Lusitania, the death of Gen. Sikorski and advocating the use of poison gas against Arabs (a foolish allegation so persistent that it has now been added to The Churchill Centre’s webpage on Leading Churchill Myths. CLICK HERE to view.)

In an especially authoratative manner, Dr. Roberts blasts the book Human Smoke by Nicholson Baker by illustrating how Baker, who confessed to having used Wikipedia “to check his facts”, deliberately misrepresented the facts in a pathetic attempt to make Churchill out to be anti-Semitic. Churchill, in fact, as Dr. Roberts notes, was philo-Semitic and attacked for this during his lifetime. Noting that his talk was being videotaped, Dr. Roberts looks into the camera and addresses Baker by saying, “you are intellectually dishonest.”

Andrew Roberts is the author of many books including Masters & Commanders: How Roosevelt, Churchill, Marshall and Alanbrooke Won the War in the West 1941-45. This book received The Churchill Centre’s 2008 Emery Reves Award for best writing about Churchill. His other works include biographies of Lords Salisbury and Halifax. Dr. Roberts earned a first-class honours degree in Modern History at Gonville & Caius College, Cambridge and now makes his home in New York. He frequently speaks in his subject area both in person and on the air.

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