I recently had the pleasure of reading Gretchen Rubin's book, "Forty Ways to Look at Winston Churchill: A Brief Account of a Long Life." This book offers a fascinating, intriguing way to present biographical information about Churchill.
Each of Gretchen's forty chapters takes a different aspect of Churchill's life and legacy, and presents it from a distinct perspective. In some chapters, the information is presented as a skeptical or critical observer might present it. In others, the information is presented through the lense of an admiring fan. And, in others, in an objective, "Just the facts, ma'am" kind of way.
The result is wonderful.
I didn't know a great deal about Churchill before I read this book though I felt a sense of respect for him from all of the historical accounts I've read about World War II. After reading this book,
- I now know a great deal about his formative years (childhood and early adulthood) which I found to be both sad and inspiring.
- I learned that he could quickly transition from boorish to inspiring -- and sometimes both impressions could be achieved by the same speech, depending on the listener's bias.
- I discovered that Churchill himself was a prolific author and Pulitzer prize winner.
- I learned that he was adept at creating feelings and changing perceptions (even recasting past events to reshape them into idealistic accounts).
- And I learned about many scandals, spectacular failures & embarrassments, and the world-changing triumphs in this great man's life.
And these simple bullet points don't do any of these things justice. But the book does. I recommend this book to anyone who's looking for a creative, enjoyable reading journey about the fascinating historical figure of Winston Churchill.