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More than a half-century after his death and eighty years since his “finest hour”, Winston Churchill remains an icon of modern times, admired for his determination and resilience leading Britain and the free world in the greatest conflict the world has ever seen.
Churchill created history but also chronicled it, believing it would be kind to him. He carefully laid the groundwork for the Churchill legend, most notably in his Nobel prize-winning history of the second world war, in which he played the leading role. To Churchill, “the longer you can look back, the farther you can look forward.”
Steeped as he was in the past, Churchill would not have been surprised that future generations might interpret his role in history in different and challenging ways. Today, he is accused of transgressions from suppressing workers in England and revolutionaries in Ireland to neglecting or even causing a sweeping famine in India. His views on race and empire, often expressed in moments of passion recorded by his contemporaries, are used to condemn him a racist and white supremacist. By the definition of some, he is no longer worthy of commemoration and the recent defacing of his statue in London has become a powerful expression of that.
So what is fact and what is fiction in the differing portrayals of someone whose admirers still call the “Great Man”? Where does Churchill stand at a time when the world is increasingly focused on issues of race, identity, and equality? Is there much we can still learn from him or is he no longer relevant for our post-modern world?
Join acclaimed Churchill speaker and popular Community Library presenter Lee Pollock as he explores these vital questions in an insightful and fascinating presentation.
Lee Pollock is a popular writer, historian and public speaker on the life and times of Sir Winston Churchill and a regular presenter at The Community Library. He serves as a Trustee and Advisor to the Board of The International Churchill Society and was the Society’s long-time Executive Director. He also served as Publisher of the Society’s Journal, “Finest Hour,” and led the development of the National Churchill Library and Center in Washington, DC. A native of Montreal, Canada, Lee is a graduate of McGill University and hold’s a master’s degree from The University of Chicago. He is a frequent editorial writer on Churchill topics for The Wall Street Journal, The New Criterion and other publications. He is the author of Action This Day: Adventures with Winston Churchill.
Photo credit: Tim Buss on Flickr