Owen's Reviews > Triumph and Tragedy

Triumph and Tragedy by Winston S. Churchill
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's review
Jul 14, 2012

really liked it
bookshelves: ww2, military-history, non-fiction

Winston Churchill found himself with a lot of time on his hands at the end of the war. Part of his personal tragedy was to suddenly discover, not long after the fall of Berlin but before the bombs fell on Hiroshima and Nagasaki, that he was no longer wanted by the British electorate. That is how "Triumph and Tragedy" ends, with a personal note of sourness, although with little explanation as to the why and wherefore of his own political demise. The truth lay perhaps in the real nature of the man. Recognised as the bulldog who could do a lot more than bark in a War Cabinet, he was called for at once when it was clear that Britain was in danger. Yet so well-known were his qualities as a fighter of men that, once peace was about to return, he was dispatched back to political oblivion as being obviously the wrong man to continue. Such is democracy. I've no doubt he felt a little twinge, as many a soldier at the front also paradoxically felt, that his war was over.

Churchill was probably without equal during his own lifetime and, by the curious twists of fate which manage men, was one of the most extraordinary players on the world stage, throughout recorded history. The last sentence in the book nevertheless shows the true heart of a man who, whatever else may be said about him, gave so much:

"It only remains for me to express to the British people, for whom I have acted in these perilous years, my profound gratitude for the unflinching, unswerving support which they have given me during my task, and for the many expressions of kindness which they have shown towards their servant."

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