The Life of Winston Churchill Essay - Critical Essays

Leonard Wibberley


In his preface, Wibberley states that his intention is to create a balanced account of the life of Churchill that will cover the main facts of his career in a manner that will appeal to young readers. In order to hold their interest, Wibberley has concentrated on amusing incidents from Churchill’s life, presented whenever possible in the form of anecdotes.

Wibberley writes from the view of history as being dictated by great individuals, and he presents his subject’s life from Churchill’s point of view. This approach stresses the importance of individuals in shaping the world around them rather than the significance of social or economic forces. In addition to presenting Churchill as the prime instigator of action, this approach also leads to a narrow focus on Churchill’s activities, with little attention given to the context within which he worked.

Wibberley is highly sympathetic toward his subject. He portrays Churchill as a hero and devotes little space to his flaws. Although Robert Rhodes James entitled his important study of Churchill’s life prior to World War II Churchill: A Study in Failure, 19001939 (1970), there is little hint of this irony in Wibberley’s study. At times, Wibberley’s adulation for his subject leads him into theological interpretations, as when he suggests that Churchill’s life was spared in dangerous military situations because he was “destined” for greater purposes.


(The entire section is 517 words.)