#NetGalley #KindleReview Churchill: An Illustrated Life by Brenda Ralph Lewis

I’ve read a lot about Franklin Roosevelt, so of course I’ve found out a bit about Winston Churchill in the process. I’m always eager to learn more, so a few years ago I read the 982-page biography Walking with Destiny (review here) and have watched several documentaries specifically about Churchill. NetGalley offered me a copy of Churchill: An Illustrated Life, a book originally published in 2013, which will be available on Kindle on June 14, 2021, in exchange for an honest opinion of the book.

From the publisher: As a young man, Winston Leonard Spencer Churchill set out to become a hero. He would exceed everyone’s expectations – save perhaps his own. This book is a celebration of the life of one of Britain’s greatest statesmen. Churchill’s career has few parallels in British history for richness, range, length and achievement. he was an early pioneer of Britain’s welfare state and played a key role in preparing the royal Navy for World War I. In World War II he emerged as an inspiring, charismatic leader and was a prime architect of the final victory in Britain and the United States. Illustrated with magnificent photographs, and featuring extracts from his most brilliant speeches, this book covers the whole life of this most colourful of men.

I thought Churchill: An Illustrated Life was interesting. As suggested by the title, this book is heavy on photographs, interspersed with a biography, as well as frequent quotes from Winston throughout the book. There’s nothing here that I hadn’t read in Walking with Destiny, but that doesn’t mean the book wasn’t interesting. Winston Churchill led an amazing and interesting life, and if you don’t want to trudge through a thousand-page biography, this is an apt attempt. I’m a visual person, so the many pictures and captions helped tell the familiar story to me in a different way.

As a former journalist, I am always amazed at the output of Churchill’s writings. I’ve only read excerpts from various publications, and some are included in this book. Some time this year I intend to read Churchill’s history of Great Britain series of books. His biography of his ancestor, the original Duke of Marlborough, is also on my TBR list.

It amazes me every time I read or watch something about Churchill just how alone England was for more than two years fighting the Axis powers. And he held the country together when it seemed like there was no way they could win. I can not imagine what the people went through, being bombed every night, the war rations, everything. My mom and dad were born in 1936 in mining towns in Michigan’s upper peninsula, and they were poor, and the war only made it worse. They remember the lard sandwiches they were forced to eat during World War II, and I know Churchill’s England had it much worse. Churchill’s diplomacy with Roosevelt before America entered the war was masterful. Roosevelt’s Lend-Lease policy lent England aid when many people in the United States were isolationists.

I was curious to read more about the ousting of Churchill from the government as soon as the war was over. It seems incomprehensible, yet it happened. But luckily Winston returned for a few more years as PM. Unfortunately, a lifetime of not taking care of his health caught up to him and he retired when it was clear he could not go on as prime minister.

An amazing man who led and amazing life. Even though I’m trying to pare down my physical book collection, I was so impressed with the Kindle edition of this book that I bought a hard copy for my collection. I’ve got more Churchill books on my TBR, including the audiobook of Boris Johnson’s biography of Churchill, Stay tuned, I’ll be reviewing that book in the near future.

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