Kieran Whitworth, The Churchill Quiz Book: How Much Do You Know about Britain’s Wartime Leader? Osprey, 2021, 256 pages, £9.99/US$15/Can$20.50. ISBN 978–1472845771
Review by DAVID FREEMAN
Quizmaster Kieran Whitworth, who previously produced The Ultimate World War II Quiz Book in 2017, has now focused on one of the war’s leading figures with The Churchill Quiz Book. He could justifiably have included the word “ultimate” in the title of this book as well, for this is no idle undertaking. Whitworth, who has served most of the present century as the book buyer at the Imperial War Museums (IWM), has gone deep into his passion for history to produce a phenomenal battery of questions that will intrigue the beginner and challenge even the most knowledgeable Churchillians—this reviewer not excluded.
The book is divided into ten chapters covering Churchill’s life in chronological order. Each chapter consists of four quizzes with each quiz comprising twenty questions. That makes 800 questions altogether! Every reader of the Churchill Bulletin should be able to answer at least some of these questions, but Whitworth includes a few “expert” questions in each quiz. For example, “Who was Frederick Taylor, and how was he connected to Winston Churchill?” (SPOILER ALERT: Dr. Taylor oversaw the birth of baby Winston in 1874.)
To mix things up, the questions come in various forms: True or False, multiple choice, straightforward questions, picture questions (based primarily on photos from the IWM), and—a special treat—anagrams. An example of this last challenges you to identify the bay off the coast of Newfoundland, where Churchill met with President Roosevelt in 1941 and is an anagram of payable antic. (I will leave you to puzzle that one out yourself.) Whitworth possesses and in-depth knowledge of the Second World War, and you will need to know a lot about it too if you hope to score well in the several chapters which cover the most towering period of Churchill’s life. Take a sample quiz here.
This is a small hardcover book that carries a lot of weight—literally since the pages are of heavy stock that will hold up to frequent use and are well suited for the many photographs that accompany each quiz. You will thoroughly enjoy testing your knowledge either alone, with family, or with friends. By all means you should use this book to organize a game of Churchill Jeopardy! with fellow Churchillians either online or (a return to normalcy permitting) in person. Whitworth and the Imperial War Museums are to be commended for giving us this handsome, durable, and utterly fun volume. And, yes, the answers to all the questions are in the back. Don’t cheat.
David Freeman is editor of the Churchill Bulletin.