Friday, May 04, 2018

Never Give In: The Extraordinary Character of Winston Churchill ( Book Review)

    1940 set the cinematic stage for 2017 with "Dunkirk" and "Darkest Hour" together garnering five Oscars. Both of these films were outstanding in their ability to transport the viewer to this climatic moment in World War II. Gary Oldham's portrayal of Winston Churchill was masterful! In fact, Mr. Oldham's portrayal, which humanized this larger-than-life personality, created in me a desire to learn more about Winston Churchill. My hubby and I watched two outstanding BBC productions, "The Gathering Storm" and "Into the Storm"about the rise of Winston Churchill and his post-WW2 electoral defeat.

Now it was time to hit the books. It is quite appropriate that Churchill, the prodigious writer, would himself have a myriad of books written on his life, work, and witticisms. Unfortunately in many secular biographies, Churchill's brief agnosticism/atheism is portrayed as being the theme of his life when, in fact, Churchill's deep and abiding belief and desire for Christendom is what shape and molded the man who had such a profound impact on the 20th century and beyond.

Born into an affluent but cold family, Winston found an anchor in a faithful Christian nanny, Mrs. Everest, who brought affection and faith to the small, neglected boy.  This childhood faith would be tested and for awhile rejected during his Army days when he pursued self-education and read religious rationalism; however, his Army experience would also renew his faith as he saw Divine Providence in his escape from prison during the Boer War.

In Stephen Mansfield's "Never Give In: The Extraordinary Character of Winston Churchill" the reader is shown how the rejection, slights, challenges, and hurts Churchill faced during his formative years and beyond were crucial to creating who many have dubbed, the Greatest Man of the 20th Century.  Mansfield surveys Churchill's life in regard to that of his leadership. Included at the end of the book is a list of "Lessons of Leadership" from this remarkable man. Below are a few of these lessons, I highly recommend reading this book for the remainder.

  • Leadership is the power to shape the future.
  • Bitterness erodeds strong leadership; it anchors a leader to the past, distracting him from the promise of the future.
  • Biology need not be destiny.
  • A leader is often his own best teacher.
  • Overwhelming moral and physical courage is at the foundation of all great leadership.
  • To offer a people hope is to acquire a position of leadship in their lives.
  • Religious faith elevates leaders by freeing them from the cult of the contemporary.
  • The quality of a leader is often reflected in the quality of his marriage.
  • Leadership is not a popularity contest; criticism is part of the job.

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