January 27, 2020

Sixty years ago, Sir Winston Churchill was preparing to make his fourth cruise aboard the Christina, the private yacht of Greek shipping tycoon Aristotle Onassis. The vessel departed Tangier on 10 March 1960 and crossed the Atlantic to the Caribbean, where various port calls were made in the West Indies from Trinidad to Puerto Rico before Churchill flew home on 2 April.

“It was books that now occupied most of Churchill’s active hours,” wrote Martin Gilbert in the final volume of the Official Biography. Anthony Montague Browne, Churchill’s private secretary, prepared a list of twenty-three books that his master would have available to him during the three-week cruise. The list included: Call of the Wild by Jack London; The Brothers Karamazov by Fyodor Dostoevsky; Mansfield Park by Jane Austen; The Arrow of Gold by Joseph Conrad; A Gun for Sale by Graham Greene; The Master of Balantrae by Robert Louis Stevenson; and Béatrix by Honoré de Balzac.

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