Winston Spencer Churchill was one of the greatest men of the past century and of modern times more broadly. A world-class statesman, he embodied the cardinal virtues of courage and prudence. This was once the nearly universal consensus of free and informed opinion, often accompanied by genuine admiration and gratitude. To be sure, there have always been outliers: inveterate British socialists, eccentric Tory historians who still defend the wisdom of appeasement, isolationists and pacifists of various stripes, and anti-anti-Communists who cannot forgive Churchill for his lucidity about totalitarianism in all its forms. Today, however, Churchill’s cultured despisers have become mainstream. They take aim at Churchill’s alleged racism, his support for the irredeemably evil West, and his defense of what the political scientist Kirk Emmert called “civilizing empire.”

For example, presenters at a recent conference at Churchill College, Cambridge competed with each other to suggest that Churchill was as bad as, if not worse than, Adolf Hitler himself. His grandson Nicholas Soames has asked for Churchill College to be renamed, since this egregious assault on its namesake belies the considerable benefits it accrues from bearing the name.


James W. Muller’s splendid new two-volume edition of Churchill’s The River War—the

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