Finest Hour 180, Spring 2018
Review by David Freeman
Lawrence M. Kryske, Churchill without Blood, Sweat, or Tears, Homeport Publishing, 2017, 156 pages, $15.99. ISBN 978–0692940174
One of the most frequently received requests by the International Churchill Society is for material about Churchill’s qualities as a leader. Lawrence M. Kryske is a retired US Navy commander and longtime Churchillian. No one is better qualified to write on the subject.
Churchill without Blood, Sweat, or Tears distills what Kryske has learned from more than fifty years of studying Churchill and a naval career that began with action during the Vietnam War and culminated as the first commanding officer of US Naval Station, Pascagoula, which was the Navy’s newest, most technologically advanced, and most environmentally clean base in the world.
Kryske begins by identifying Churchill’s formula for success: vision + courage + determination = success. The main sections of the book break down each of the three ingredients by identifying qualities that advance, cultivate, and deepen them.
Each section is supported with concrete examples from Churchill’s career and copious quotations that illustrate the essence of his leadership philosophy. When it comes to explaining courage, for instance (which Kryske rightly judges “the most difficult step”), the author cites this incontrovertible wisdom: “We shall not be judged by the criticisms of our opponents but by the consequences of our acts.”
Underlying Churchill’s leadership was the clarity of purpose that he championed his entire life against all threats: “The central principle of civilization is the subordination of the ruling authority to the settled customs of the people and their will as expressed through the Constitution.”
Even with noble vision and great courage, however, determination is still essential in order to persevere towards victory. Here Kryske identifies another one of Churchill’s greatest qualities: tenacity. Never did he express this better than in his famous injunction, “Never give in! Never give in! Never, never, never, never—in nothing great or small, large or petty—never give in except to convictions of honor and good sense.”
This brief, brisk, and powerful handbook is informed by a lifetime of study and experience and is highly recommended both for those only just beginning their career path and those looking for an excellent jolt in their continuing leadership development.
David Freeman is the editor of Finest Hour.