Churchill: Visionary. Statesman. Historian.

John Lukacs

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April 10, 2004
224 pages, 5 x 7 3/4
ISBN: 9780300103021
Paper

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Cloth

A clear-eyed view of Winston Churchill, the workings of his historical imagination, and his successes and failures as a statesman, by the celebrated historian of World War II and best-selling author of Five Days in London, May 1940

John Lukacs has spent a lifetime considering the complex personality and statesmanship of Winston Churchill. In previous books Lukacs has told the story of Churchill’s titanic struggle with Adolf Hitler in the early days of World War II. Now, in Churchill: Visionary. Statesman. Historian., he turns his attention to Churchill the man and visionary statesman.

Each chapter of this book provides an essential portrait of Churchill. Lukacs treats Churchill’s vital relationships with Stalin, Roosevelt, and Eisenhower, as well as his complex, farsighted political vision concerning the coming of World War II and the Cold War. Lukacs also assesses Churchill’s abilities as a historian looking backward into the origins of the conflicts of which he was so much a part. In addition, the author examines the often contradictory ways Churchill has been perceived by critics and admirers alike. The last chapter is a powerful and deeply moving evocation of the three days Lukacs spent in London attending Churchill’s funeral in 1965. In Churchill: Visionary. Statesman. Historian., Lukacs deftly sets forth the essence of this towering figure of twentieth-century history with the consummate mastery of a great historian.

John Lukacs is the author of more than twenty books on history, among them The Hitler of History, The End of the Twentieth Century and the End of the Modern Age (which was nominated for the Pulitzer Prize), Five Days in London, May 1940, The Last European War, 1939-1941, The Duel, At the End of an Age, and A Thread of Years, the last five of which are available from Yale University Press.

A selection of the Eagle Book Club

"Mr. Lukacs is one of the more incisive historians of the 20th century, and especially of the tangled events leading to World War II."—Joseph C. Goulden, Washington Times

“We are in the presence of one of the most powerful, as well as one of the most learned, minds [of the] century.”—Conor Cruise O’Brien

“Churchill’s massive figure continues to attract our attention, many years after his death. John Lukacs’s collection of essays, drawing on a lifetime of research, illuminates many aspects of the great man’s personality and achievement.”—P.M.H. Bell, Historian OR Senior Research Fellow, University of Liverpool, England

"Those more familiar with the contours of Churchill’s career will find considerable delight in the more thematic contribution of John Lukacs, Churchill: Visionary, Statesman, Historian. . . . Few biographers have approached Churchill with the depth and breadth of Lukacs. . . . It is still a pleasure to watch his mind at work."—Nancy J. Curtin, America

"Put simply, John Lukacs’ Churchill is a must. It is a very well-written, concise compendium and, as such, carries the powerful, barely contained combustion of words loaded under the pressure of a lifetime’s concentration."—Phillip McMath, Arkansas Democrat Gazette

"Lukacs’ ability to meld the scholarly with the popular is much in evidence here. . . ."—Gilbert Taylor, Booklist

"Not a biography but a group of evaluative essays in which the distinguished histtorian John Lukacs enngages the judgments, both positive and negative, made of Churchill during the almost half century since his death in 1965. . . . An engaging appreciation of one of the greatest, and certainly one of the most consequential, lives of the twentieth century."—First Things

"[Lukacs] is an extraordinary historian, whose pathbreaking works have rightly won him acclaim."—Steve Forbes, Forbes

"This superb little book is a pleasure for the reader. The mix of critical intelligence, sure appreciation of what Churchill did to stop the dark evil of Adolf Hitler, nuanced understanding of the many strands of Churchill’s personality, and literary talent is admirable. . . . It is hard to resist this tour de force."—Stanley Hoffmann, Foreign Affairs

"John Lukacs’ small new book is not another biography of Churchill. It is, rather, an informed, quite personal, volume about aspects of Churchill written by a historian who has spent many years examining Churchill’s life and mind. . . . There is never a doubt of the author’s mastery. Call this perhaps a coda on Churchill’s life, from which admirers and detractors alike may profit."—William W. Starr, Free-Lance Starr (Fredericksburg, VA)

“But now, it seems the tide is turning. John Lukacs, author of the splendid book Five Days in London: May 1940, examines the massive documentation and literature devoted to Churchill, and presents a concise evaluation of Britain’s greatest leader of the 20th century, as visionary, statesman and historian. Even though Lukacs has not uncovered new material, his book offers a succinct, persuasive and balanced profile of the entire public life of Churchill, and is hence worth reading.”—Shimshon Arad, Jerusalem Post

"Each chapter in this book is a tightly constructed essay based on a thorough familiarity with works by and about Churchill. . . . A good choice for academic and larger public libraries."—Library Journal

"Lukacs offers the reflections of a wise, experienced, philosophically minded historian."—Geoffrey Best, Los Angeles Times Book Review

“A valuable guide to thinking about Sir Winston, his impact on his times, and his stature in history.”—New York Military Affairs Symposium Review

"Like all the great historians, this Hungarian-American [Lukacs], also is a great philosopher of history. He is best known for developing his idea of 'historical consciousness' and as a historian of World War II, the Cold War and democracy in America."—John Seiler, Orange County Register (CA)

"You can trust John Lukacs to cast a fresh light on the great man and his accomplishments."—Frank Wilson, Philadelphia Inquirer

“Lukacs convincingly portrays a leader of an empire in irreversible decline and a towering, if flawed, hero of our time.”—Publishers Weekly

"Lukacs’s short collection of essays would make a splendid stocking present for any reader. . . . The pieces in this volume are illuminated by a generosity, a high intelligence and scholarship which will delight any admirer."—Max Hastings, Sunday Telegraph (London)

"An informed, quite personal, volume about aspects of Churchill written by a historian who has spent many years examining Churchill’s life and mind. . . . There is never a doubt of the author’s mastery. Call this perhaps a coda on Churchill’s life, from which admirers and detractors alike may profit."—William W. Starr, The State (Columbia, S.C.)

"Lukacs writes in a compact style, learnedness assumed, phrases strengthened by the weight of protracted study. . . . There is never a doubt of the author’s mastery."—William Starr, The State (NC)

"[An] interesting collection of bits and pieces. . . . Among historians these days . . . the ’great-man theory’ of history is out of fashion, but in this instance . . . Lukacs leave[s] no doubt that it was because this one man rose to the challenge that freedom not merely survived but prevailed."—Jonathan Yardley, Washington Post Book World

"Perhaps the best single assessment of Churchill’s manifold genius."—Carl Rollyson, New York Sun

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