The Place to Find All Things Churchill


BBC Radio 4: Churchill’s Passions Narrated by Andrew Roberts

Now available on BBC Radio 4, “Churchill’s Passions: – five 15 minute essays written and narrated by Andrew Roberts from his new book Churchill: Walking with Destiny.

Episode 1: Churchill’s motivation and sense of destiny.

Episode 2: The influence of Lord Randolph on his son
Episode 3: Churchill’s friendships
Episode 4: Churchill’s tendency to weep/cry
Episode 5: Churchill’s wit and sense of humour

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Churchill a War Criminal? Not so fast. By Zareer Masani for

An Indian historian and guest columnist for the popular Indian magazine Open reflects on the recent colonial past of the sub-continent.

IT’S A SAD reflection of our times that smearing and libelling our now-distant colonial past have become a popular substitute for soul-searching about our own failures, abuses and atrocities in the present. With popular and social media happy to circulate the wildest rumours and allegations, quotations out of context, half-truths and even blatant untruths, it’s hard for historians like me to insist that condemnation needs to be evidence-based, or else descends into character assassination.

Read the entire article here at Open.


The Art & Leadership of Winston Churchill A panel discussion at the George W Bush Presidential Center

Allen Packwood, the Director of the Churchill Archives Centre at Churchill College, Cambridge, recently took part in a panel discussion in Dallas, Texas at the George W Bush Presidential Center. Packwood participated in the discussion on Churchill’s leadership, together with the historians Professor David Reynolds, Professor of International History at Cambridge, and Professor David Woolner, Senior Fellow and resident historian of the Roosevelt Institute.

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An Oscar for Oldman

Finest Hour 180, Spring 2018

Page 50

Gary Oldman won the Academy Award for Best Actor in a Leading Role at the 90th annual Academy Awards ceremony in Hollywood, California on 4 March. Oldman, who had only been nominated once before, received his first Oscar for his performance as Winston Churchill in the film Darkest Hour, directed by Joe Wright.

When first approached to play the role of the British Prime Minister, Oldman objected that he looked nothing like Churchill and was not suited to the role. After persistent persuasion from Wright, however, Oldman agreed—provided Japanese makeup wizard Kazuhiro Tsuji was part of the project. This decision led not only to an Oscar for Oldman but gold statuettes for Tsuji, David Malinowski, and Lucy Sibbick for Best Makeup and Hairstyling.

Oldman’s extensive makeup took a full six months to develop. It took four hours to apply each morning and one hour to remove. But it was time well spent. Director Joe Wright was amazed that the makeup did not require digital touchups during post-production, because the lamps used to light numerous scenes were very hot.

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Books, Arts, & Curiosities – Dullest Hours

Finest Hour 176, Spring 2017

Page 44

Review by David Freeman

Churchill starring Brian Cox and Miranda Richardson, written by Alex Von Tunzelmann, directed by Jonathan Teplitzky, released by Lionsgate Films: June 2017

Historical dramas require some artistic license. The events of several days, months, or years must be compressed into a viewable timespan. In assessing such films, the reviewer should ask two questions: 1) Does the story remain true to the historical framework? and 2) Does it entertain? Sadly this Churchill fails on both counts.

With regards to accuracy, much can be forgiven up to a point. Lawrence of Arabia, Patton, and The King’s Speech all won the Best Picture Oscar as dramas that entertained while remaining within the essential framework of history. Directors Mel Gibson and Oliver Stone have shown that even when that framework is willfully disregarded, the results can still sometimes make compelling viewing. Alas, Churchill, starring Brian Cox in the title role, commits the greatest of all cinematic sins: it’s boring.

A film about the events leading up to the Normandy invasion in June 1944 should not want for drama, but a low budget, indifferent acting, uninspiring direction, and—above all—a hopelessly insipid script have made it so. It is incredible to think that this is intended to be a theatrical release and not simply a made-for-television movie.

The producers were so anxious to save money that there are only about a dozen speaking parts. None of what is spoken comes from the Churchill canon. Rather than pay a license fee to the estate, the filmmakers opted for phony, pseudo-Churchill speeches. For once we have a film about the D-Day landings that includes no action scenes from the beaches, not even stock newsreel footage. The most aggressive moment on screen comes when an angry Churchill swipes his breakfast off the table.

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Books, Arts, & Curiosities – Churchill Old and New in the Digital Domain

Finest Hour 172, Spring 2016

Page 45

Review by Catherine Katz

All of the books described in this review can be found through online sites such as Amazon.

There are various statistics floating around in the public domain that predict the demise of print books. In 2011, Amazon reported that e-books outsold print books for the first time. There is likely a ceiling, however, on the number of people who prefer e-books to print books, and as a result the print book industry remains healthy and has more recently outpaced e-book sales. Given this audience’s historical inclination and sympathy for the traditional, most subscribers to Finest Hour likely fall into the camp that prefers print.

Despite this preference, e-publishing is not just a wilderness of insipidity. It can provide the Churchill diehard with the ability to enjoy out-of-print books that are otherwise difficult to access outside university libraries. One such work is a 1941 classic by British barrister and witty historical and travel writer Philip Guedalla. Mr. Churchill has now been made available for Kindle for the first time by leading digital publisher Endeavour Press.

Those who have enjoyed Churchill’s own tales of his early adventures in My Early Life and From London to Ladysmith via Pretoria will no doubt relish Guedalla’s account of Churchill’s years before he became Prime Minister. Guedalla emphasizes the long shadow of Lord Randolph’s influence on his son’s early years in politics and places the future Prime Minister firmly within the context of his family’s dramatic history. The author is perhaps at his best when articulating Churchill’s discomfort with the political upheaval in the years following the Great War.
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Books, Arts, & Curiosities – Picture This

Finest Hour 172, Spring 2016

Page 39

Review by Paul Addison

Max Arthur, Churchill, The Life: An Authorised Pictorial Biography, Cassell Illustrated, 2015, 272 pages, £25.00. ISBN 978-1844038596

Churchill BiographyChurchill’s life was extraordinarily rich in visual imagery. He loved the camera and the camera loved him, as did cartoonists and portrait painters. His face exhibited a range of deep emotions that others preferred to conceal behind a stiff upper lip. His eccentricities of dress and theatrical gestures were the work of a great actor who could play Falstaff one day and Henry V the next. It is no wonder that his life has always lent itself to pictorial treatment, nor that so many photographs and portraits of him have achieved iconic status over the past fifty years. Most readers of Finest Hour will therefore probably be familiar with the majority of pictures in Max Arthur’s new compilation. He has, however, been at pains to vary the menu by including a number of hitherto unpublished pictures together with reproductions of original documents and a bonus item: specially commissioned shots of such Churchill memorabilia as his gramophone record of HMS Pinafore. He has also embedded the pictures, which are beautifully produced, in the text of a brief biography.
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My Father’s Hero: John Wayne & Winston Churchill

Finest Hour 172, Spring 2016

Page 24

By Aissa Wayne

My father had two great heroes. One was John Ford, the legendary film director who propelled him into stardom. The other was Winston Churchill.

John FordDue to his public image as a laconic cowboy, few people knew that my father enjoyed intellectual pastimes. He played chess extremely well, and he read avidly. For pure escape he favored mysteries: Agatha Christie, Rex Stout, and Raymond Chandler. He was also a fan of Ernest Hemingway.

Besides Hemingway, mysteries, and novels he thought might translate well to the screen, my father stuck mostly to nonfiction: political histories, military biographies, and anything at all by Winston Churchill, the public figure he most revered. In a March 1971 interview with Playboy, when the questioner asked him who he would most like to spend time with, my father replied, “That’s easy: Winston Churchill. He’s the most terrific fella of our century….Churchill was unparalleled. Above all, he took a nearly beaten nation and kept their dignity for them.”

My father’s interest in Churchill began long before he spoke with Playboy. In the summer of 1951 he was on location in Ireland filming The Quiet Man, one of his most beloved classics. Andrew McLaglen—an assistant director on the film as well as the son of movie co-star Victor McLaglen, who played Squire Danaher—remembered seeing my father on the set reading Churchill’s war memoirs. Andrew did not recall which volume, but it may have been the fourth, The Hinge of Fate, which had been published in the United States the previous year but which was not yet available in Britain.
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Tom Weller photography

Finest Hour 170, Fall 2015

Page 51

Tom Weller photography

Churchill July 15-101  Tom Weller photographyChurchill July 15-138The Oscar Nemon bust in the Churchill Memorial Garden at Blenheim (above). Reverse side of the Garter Banner of Lady Soames hanging at the rear of the Nave of St. Martin’s Church, Bladon (right). The new gravestone at Bladon of Lord and Lady Soames was installed in May 2015 (below).

Tom Weller photography.
Churchill July 15-149


Books, Arts & Curiosities – Churchill and the Genuine Article?

Finest Hour 170, Fall 2015

Page 46

Review by Paul H. Courtenay

Fake or Fortune? Season Four, Episode Four
Executive Producer: Simon Shaw First broadcast by the BBC on  26 July 2015

1901ChiNews Fake or FortuneEach week on the BBC Television show Fake or Fortune? art experts examine paintings of dubious authenticity. Using forensic skills as well as Sherlockian methods, the experts eventually decide whether or not the owners of the paintings are about to become millionaires. This past summer the subject of inquiry was a painting possibly done by Churchill but which was unsigned.

The owner of the painting, Charles Henty, received the canvas from his father, who had bought a London house around 1962 that once belonged to Churchill’s daughter Sarah. Three paintings were found in the coal cellar: one was signed by Churchill and two were not. Henty’s father showed them to Sarah’s mother, Clementine, who took possession of the picture signed by her husband and a second, which she said was by Paul Maze. The finder was allowed to keep
the unsigned painting, which thus became the subject of the recent BBC programme.

The mystery painting certainly appears to the untutored eye as if it very well could have been painted by Churchill. It Read More >

Around & About

Finest Hour 161, Winter 2013-14

Page 7

A BBC documentary claimed to have found proof that the WW2 broadcaster J.B. Priestley was sacked by Winston Churchill for anti-WSC statements. Historian Richard North said this occurred after Priestley “became increasingly vocal in his criticism of the Conservative government.” Wait! It was a coalition not a Conservative government. Since we never heard of the story, we asked a British colleague: “It contravened the BBC charter to be political,” he wrote, “so if Priestley was criticising the government it was against the BBC Charter and regulations, and he deserved everything he got.”


A Syrious Situation: Will Durst ( wrote: “Everyone pretends not to be knee-deep in the icky, tricky, sticky Syria situation. You might say Washington is in a Semi-Syrious mode right now…This whole affair is riddled with enigmas and mysteries enough to make Winston Churchill spin his conundrums right off.  And rumor has it, he harbored huge conundrums.”
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“Making the Impossible Possible”

Finest Hour 162, Spring 2014

Page 38

By Sir John Major


The Sir Winston Churchill Award is a tough measure. Sir Winston is probably—some would say certainly— the greatest Englishman in our long history. Great not just because of his achievements, but because of his capacity to hold his course when, as almost a lone voice, he was criticised, only to be proved right in the end.

Our recipient tonight has, over the years, faced his own criticism, his own setbacks, yet held firm to his own beliefs. That is the first of many reasons he is worthy of this award.

Let me touch on some of the qualities that make me say that. First, I think that he and Sir Winston are driven by the same sense of obligation and public duty. Churchill served in Parliament for over sixty years, and held most of the principal Offices of State. His record may never be equalled.
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Nuremberg? Forget It

Finest Hour 162, Spring 2014

Page 10

Rhonda Fink-Whitman Mourns the Decline of Old Excellence

PHILADELPHIA, NOVEMBER 24TH— When Rhonda Fink-Whitman decided to test college students’ knowledge of the Holocaust at four local campuses, she discovered some amazing facts: Adolf Hitler was the leader of Amsterdam. Josef Mengele was an author. John F. Kennedy led the Allies during World War II, assisted by American Army General Winston Churchill.

Hardly any had heard of the Holocaust. When her questions turned to the “Kristallnacht” (Night of Broken Glass), the Nuremberg Trials or the meaning of the phrase “Final Solution,” forget it.  “We are failing our children,” said Fink-Whitman, a longtime Philadelphia radio personality. “That really upsets me, as the daughter of a survivor, as the mother of college kids.”

Five states—New Jersey, New York, California, Florida, and Illinois—mandate Holocaust instruction in schools. Only two of two dozen students in the video answered the questions correctly, and they grew up in New Jersey and New York.
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Memorials – Piazzale Winston Churchill

Finest Hour 162, Spring 2014

Page 9

ROME, NOVEMBER 15TH— A reader asked about a framed page of an old street directory in the Hotel Smeraldo in Rome. It bears the name of Winston Churchill on one corner, but otherwise offers no connection to him. What, he asked, could it signify?
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EXCLUSIVE TO FINEST HOUR – Saved from Destruction: Unique Images of Churchill at Harrow

Finest Hour 163, Summer 2014

Page 34

By Pete Boswell

Save Photo Ltd. have discovered seven of the earliest surviving original images of Winston Churchill. They were found in the Hills and Saunders Harrow Collection, whose private owner asked Save Photo to digitise, conserve and catalogue. The collection was uncovered in poor condition in the barn of a dairy farm outside Cirencester, Gloucestershire in 2012. The owner and Save Photo rescued the collection and relocated it to a secure, climate controlled storage at Save Photo’s headquarters in Warwickshire, England.

For over ninety years, between 1860 and 1970, Hills and Saunders, photographers by Royal Appointment, captured memorable images of Harrow schoolboys, their families and the surroundings of this public school in Harrow-on-the Hill, Middlesex, north of London. The collection of over 90,000 glass plate negatives is possibly the largest surviving archive of its kind in the world. The photographs include every member of staff, pupil and sporting team from Harrow School between 1860 and 1965. Glass plates rarely survive because they are so fragile, and many English public schools have long since sold off or disposed of their collections.
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Join or Renew NowPlease join with us to help preserve the memory of Winston Churchill and continue to explore how his life, experiences and leadership are ever-more relevant in today’s chaotic world. BENEFITS >BECOME A MEMBER >

The International Churchill Society (ICS), founded in 1968 shortly after Churchill's death, is the world’s preeminent member organisation dedicated to preserving the historic legacy of Sir Winston Churchill.

At a time when leadership is challenged at every turn, that legacy looms larger and remains more relevant than ever.