Ronald I. Cohen MBE is author of A Bibliography of the Writings of Sir Winston Churchill, 3 vols. (2006).
When I first thought of this article, I had been struck by the number of recent Eastern Bloc editions. Then I thought, “Why only recent?” It seems intriguing to contemplate a longer time span. After all, while Churchill’s writings have been translated into thirty-one languages, thirteen of these are in Eastern Bloc languages, and, of the recent translations (since 2014), even Savrola and My Early Life are included, as well as the more predictable Second World War.
Intriguingly, the oldest of Churchill’s works to be translated was his very first, The Story of the Malakand Field Force (A1). It is also one of the more recent books to be translated into an Eastern Bloc edition. First published in March 1898, it was translated into Czech as Příběh malakandského sboru (Brno: Jota, 1997). Savrola(A3), Churchill’s only novel, which was first published in volume form in 1900, has been translated into eight languages, finally attracting Eastern Bloc treatment in Hungary as Savrola: forradalom Laurániában (Budapest: Metropolis Media, 2010) and Ukraine, as Саврола (Zhupansky: Kiev, 2017).
Ostensibly a Silver Library Edition, the mystery book (center) bulks as thick as the first edition (left), but thicker and taller than the Silver Library or second edition (right)
I thought my analysis of scarce issues of Churchill’s first book, The Story of the Malakand Field Force (FH 141), had covered the waterfront until Marc Kuritz showed me another anomaly. Marc had a copy “ostensibly of a Silver Library edition, but the title page doesn’t match any Silver Library edition.” He added that the volume included an errata slip— odd, since the purpose of this edition was to correct first edition errata. Why an errata slip at all?
Curiouser and curiouser, Marc’s errata slip was not the domestic but the more obscure Indian version. Finally, the book included a Longmans Green catalogue dated 12/97, rather than the later (expected) 3/98 catalogue.
A remarkable number of books about Churchill, not counting his own, have appeared in Dutch. The numbers herein are from Curt Zoller’s Annotated Bibliography of Works about Sir Winston Churchill (Armonk, New York: M.E. Sharpe, 2004). All texts are in Dutch. Omitted are Dutch translations of works first published in other languages. Churchill’s 1946 visit to Holland was covered by four individual works.
“[The American] National psychology is such that the bigger the idea the more wholeheartedly and obstinately do they throw themselves into making it a success. It is an admirable characteristic, providing the idea is good.” —WSC, Closing the ring 1952
Topping the Insults
LONDON, OCTOBER 15TH— Sir Winston has seen off competition from Barack Obama and Liberace to top the poll for the best insult of all time, unfortunately misquoted by the press. It was his 1946 response to Bessie Braddock, MP when accused of being drunk (which he was not), witnessed by bodyguard Ronald Golding. Read More >
“The Cathedral, Hackwood Park,” 1930s, from the Estate of Mrs. T.S. Eliot
Widely admired for its brilliant use of light and color, “The Cathedral, Hackwood Park,” was sold as lot #379 at a Christie’s London auction on November 20th, 2013. The seller was the Estate of Valerie Eliot, widow of T.S. Eliot. The selling price including buyer’s premium was £362,500 ($584,350).
The provenance is impressive, extending beyond T.S. Eliot. Churchill painted this arboreal scene at Hackwood House, Hampshire, the home of his friend Lord Camrose after 1935. The house was earlier leased by Lord Curzon. Camrose, owner of The Daily Telegraph and a good friend of the Churchills, led the postwar drive to raise the money to purchase and endow Chartwell, so the Churchills could live out their lives there, whence it passed to the National Trust. “The Cathedral, Hackwood Park” was a gift from Churchill to Camrose, and remained in that family until sold by the estate of the Second Viscount Camrose at Christie’s in June 1999. Valerie Eliot, the purchaser, spent £41,100 including buyer’s premium, equivalent to $68,340 at the time. Read More >
“We cannot undo the past, but we are bound to pass it in review in order to draw from it such lessons as may be applicable to the future.…” —WSC, House of Commons, 16 April 1936
“The Four Pillars of The Churchill Centre are Publications, Education, Research and Media.” —Laurence Geller, Chairman, 2007
The Churchill Centre was founded out of the old International Churchill Society at Boston on 26 October 1995 “to inspire leadership, statesmanship, vision and courage through the thoughts, words, works and deeds of Winston Spencer Churchill.” An endowment campaign was begun, through which members known as “Churchill Centre Associates” raised an investment endowment of over $1.3 million. We promised that they would forever be honored by this publication, and their names still appear on the inside front cover. Approaching our 20th anniversary, it seems appropriate to recall the Centre’s many accomplishments since that time and some of the people who have made them possible.
Mr. Jaap Engelsman in Amsterdam writes: “Since at least 1951 Churchill is said to have called Queen Wilhelmina of the Netherlands ‘the only true man in the Dutch government,’ or words to that effect. Can you track this quote to a reliable source?”
The only place on the Internet where we could find it is a Dutch war history site: http://bit.ly/1gTeH0s. We searched the online Churchill Archive but there are no hits for the phrase or key parts of it—frustrating because we suspect he felt that way on occasion during the war.
Churchill did have deep regard for Prime Minister Gerbrandy of the exiled Dutch government (whom he referred to as “Mr. Cherry Brandy”). Although, after the German invasion, the departure of the Queen and government was controversial in Holland, Churchill approved, since it meant Holland and her territories remained in the fight. He had hoped the French government would do the same. Gerbrandy regularly sent Churchill bottles of the fine Dutch gin “Jenever.” Read More >
By Lee Pollock Mr. Pollock is TCC Executive Director. PHOTOS BY SCAVONE PHOTOGRAPHY
“AS LONG AS WE HAVE FAITH IN OUR CAUSE AND AN UNCONQUERABLE WILL-POWER, SALVATION WILL NOT BE DENIED US. IN THE WORDS OF THE PSALMIST, ‘HE SHALL NOT BE AFRAID OF EVIL TIDINGS; HIS HEART IS FIXED, TRUSTING IN THE LORD’….STILL I AVOW MY HOPE AND FAITH, SURE AND INVIOLATE, THAT IN THE DAYS TO COME THE BRITISH AND AMERICAN PEOPLES WILL FOR THEIR OWN SAFETY AND FOR THE GOOD OF ALL WALK TOGETHER SIDE BY SIDE IN MAJESTY, IN JUSTICE AND IN PEACE.” —WSC, U.S. CAPITOL, 26 DECEMBER 1941
December 2011 marked the 70th anniversary of Churchill’s first speech to Congress, only three weeks after the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor. Churchill had come to Washington to coordinate with President Roosevelt the now-combined war effort. At a joint session of Congress, December 26th, he received a rousing welcome, winning over even former critics with his roar of defiance at the enemy, driving them to their feet when he exclaimed, “What kind of a people do they think we are?” Read More >
Sir Martin Gilbert’s biography, the longest in history, takes a giant step toward completion as Hillsdale College Press publishes The Churchill Documents: Testing Times 1942—the first document volume supporting biographic volume 7 (1942-1945), seventeenth in a projected twenty-three document volumes, and twenty-fifth in all counting the eight volumes of biography.
This is the first new volume since The Ever-Widening War 1941, published fourteen years ago. Since then, supported by friends and donors of Hillsdale College, H.C.P. has republished all eight of the biographic and the previous sixteen document volumes. Churchill Centre Chairman Laurence Geller aided the new volume by a kind gift to support Sir Martin’s work. Churchill Centre members may buy all twenty-five volumes at a 30% discount, all seventeen document volumes at 20% discount, and Document Volume 17 at $51, a 15% discount off the cover price. Provide proof of membership when you order from HIllsdale’s bookshop: http://bit.ly/1jF3nYL. (Note: the discount will not appear on your confirmation, but will be given when the order is processed. ) Read More >
“The Four Pillars of The Churchill Centre are Publications, Education, Research and Media.” —Laurence Geller, Chairman, 2007
Research and “Churchill Central”
To knit together the vast and diverse trove of Churchill material on the Internet, The Churchill Centre UK has combined with Bloomsbury Publishing to launch the Churchill Central website in 2015 on the 50th anniversary of Sir Winston’s death. Rather than another Churchill site, Churchill Central strives to concentrate and direct browsers to important sources of research from the various organizations. The Churchill Centre’s part in all this is largely based on Finest Hour, with some 800 articles and papers now in digital as well as .pdf form which constitute one of the broadest collections of Churchill material by leading scholars, published over the past thirty-five years. Here is a sampling of the article synopses we are preparing for Churchill Central, in Bloomsbury’s twelve chosen aspects of his life and times, with web pages you can access.
Please tell me how to get a copy of all the original Chartwell Bulletins as written by Winston Churchill. —W.B. STONECYPHER, VIA EMAIL
The Churchill Centre published twelve Chartwell Bulletins in book form in 1989 with an introduction and footnotes by Martin Gilbert and photos from Lady Soames’s albums. Bookfinder.com lists numerous copies as low as $23. Search their site or see this page: http://bit.ly/1rT2r4h.
Churchill sent many such bulletins from time to time, but these, to his absent wife during her 1935 South Seas voyage, are the most cohesive and entertaining. They are reproduced in Document Volume 12 of the official biography, but our booklet gathers them with family photos and more detailed notes by Sir Martin. Anyone interested should have a copy.
Raymond Campbell is a local artist based in Sussex. In 2009, through Royall Fine Art, I commissioned him to do a “Pol Roger” painting for the David Cameron-Margaret Thatcher awards dinner in London. We were most grateful to Pol Roger for donating the champagne that evening, as they have for so many Churchill Centre functions over the years.
Pol Roger was established in Epernay, south of Reims, by Jacques Pol-Roger (the family name is hyphenated) in 1849. It was one of a score of grand marques which together fixed levels of quality for champagne that still prevail. Churchill often recalled the words of Napoleon: “I could not live without champagne. In victory I deserve it, in defeat I need it.”
Churchill had been a Pol Roger customer since 1908, but his friendship with the family began in 1944, when he was introduced to me. Odette Pol-Roger by British Ambassador Alfred Duff Cooper in Paris. The grande dame of Pol Roger Champagne, Odette encapsulated Churchill’s romantic vision of France; he was as captivated by her elegance and beauty as by the champagne served that day: Pol Roger’s full-blooded ’28. He left instructions that every time he returned to Paris, Odette Pol-Roger was to be invited to dinner. Read More >
Comparative Texts – “The Truth about Hitler,” 1935 “Hitler and His Choice,” 1937
By Winston S. Churchill
How different was Churchill’s first Hitler article from his chapter in in Great Contemporaries? Let readers decide! Ronald I. Cohen herein provides the complete text of the original Strand article, showing (in colored type and strikeouts), what Churchill altered in Great Contemporaries. This is incidentally instructive on WSC’s skill as an editor. Note: Some paragraphing differs; for example, paragraph 3 below is part of paragraph 2 in Great Contemporaries.
It might be said that Lord Rosebery1 outlived his future by ten years and his past by more than twenty. The brilliant prospects which had shone before him until he became Prime Minister in 1894 were dispersed by the break-up of his Government and the decisive defeat of the Liberal Party in 1895. The part he took as an Imperialist2 and a patriot in supporting, four years later, the South African War3 destroyed his hold upon the regard and confidence of a large section of the Radical masses.4 His resignation of the Leadership of the Liberal Party had already released them from their allegiance. By his definite declaration against Home Rule5 when Mr. Balfour’s fall in 19056 was approaching, he cut himself off deliberately and resolutely from all share in the impending Liberal triumph and long reign of power. He severed himself by purposeful action from his friends and followers. ‘Content to let occasion die,’7 he withdrew from all competition for leadership in the political arena; he erected barriers against his return which he meant to be insurmountable; he isolated himself in cool and unaffectedly disdainful detachment. It was known only too well that overtures would be useless. By 1905 his political career was closed for ever. It was only in 1929 that his long life ended.
Did Churchill Ever Admire Hitler? The Hitler articles and Great Contemporaries
By Richard M. Langworth
One of the most controversial chapters in Great Contemporaries (And in the opinion scholars the one least like the rest) is “Hitler and his choice.” Some critics maintain that the essay implies approval of Hitler, rendering Churchill a hypocrite. Others ask if the Great Contemporaries version was a milder form of an earlier article—Andifso, whether Churchill pulled his punches. (Paintings: National Archives and Wikimedia Commons.)
The Hitler chapter in Great Contemporaries, like the rest of the book, was derived from a previous article. In this case the original was “The Truth about Hitler,” in The Strand Magazine of November 1935 (Cohen C481). Ronald Cohen notes that Strand editor Reeves Shaw, who paid him £250 for the article, wanted Churchill to make it “as outspoken as you possibly can… absolutely frank in your judgment of [Hitler’s] methods.” It was.
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Churchill was delighted when a little girl surprised him with flowers one day in Italy. Gratefully moving his cane aside, he gave her a kiss on the cheek. Missing his own family, and beset with troubles, he truly loved this moment. I guess we’ll never know the little chap behind the bouquet. … See MoreSee Less
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.