Through the Looking Glass Children's Book Reviews

Winston Churchill: British Soldier, Writer, Statesman

Winston Churchill: British Soldier, Writer, Statesman

Brenda Haugen
Nonfiction  Series
For ages 9 to 12
Compass Books, 2006   ISBN: 978-0756515829

Today it is hard to imagine what World War II would have been like if Winston Churchill had not been the Prime Minister of England at the time. Would the English have been able to face their hardships without the leadership and encouragement of their sometimes eccentric leader? One thing is for sure, and that is that Churchill himself felt that his entire life had been leading up to this point and that it had all been in "preparation for this hour and for this trial."

Indeed Churchill had had many experiences and adventures before he won the 1940 election. He had been a soldier, a journalist, a writer, a prisoner of war, and a Member of Parliament. He had had several other political appointments, a few of which were not great successes and in general his career was mercurial in nature. At times he was in favor and at times he was not. In the lulls Churchill would give lectures, write books, and paint, and when things were looking up he would dash about with great energy getting involved with as much as possible.

It was this energy and determination which carried him through the hard war years. He also was a powerful speaker who had a gift for saying just what needed to be said and his words had a profound effect on the moral and courage of his people. Churchill made sure that he saw what his people were experiencing and showed them that they had his sympathy and support. Today the words of his speeches and the photos of his famous "V for Victory" sign still move us and we still give thanks that this exceptional man was there for the allies in those dark days when the future was far from certain.

With plenty of annotated photos and illustrations, informative boxes, lots of quotes, and a well written text, this biography provides younger readers with an excellent portrait of one of the great men of our time. We are able to see that Churchill had his flaws and his failures, just like the rest of us, and yet he rose above them when he was needed in time of trouble.