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Posted October 18, 2004
Work without Faith is Doomed to Failure
To his credit, Stephen Mansfield illustrates the decisive importance of religious faith in the life of Winston Churchill since his encounter with his influential nanny, Mrs. Elizabeth Everest (pg. 41, 50, 192). The vision of death that Churchill experienced when he was a teenager could also have fortified his faith (pg. 212). Too often, Churchill¿s faith is downplayed in the abundant literature available about his words and deeds (pg. 34, 221-227). Churchill was a strong-willed nonconformist who rarely chose the well-worn path for which he sometimes paid a heavy price in his life as Mansfield correctly states (pg. 43, 99-100, 203-206). Randolph Churchill, his emotionally distant father, had no much faith in his son until his premature death in 1895 (pg. 160). Randolph Churchill thought that Winston was just good for a military career, not clever enough to go to the bar (pg. 47, 96-97). During his military service in India, Churchill realized that he had huge gaps in his learning in contact with men of his own age who benefited from both breadth of knowledge and ease of discourse. Driven by curiosity and ambition, Churchill embarked on a demanding program of readings on his weakest subjects. This eager pursuit of knowledge was a turning point in Churchill¿s life (pg. 54, 99-102, 161-162). It marked the end of youth and progressively revealed Churchill¿s emergence as an exceptional man (pg. 101). Churchill probably best summarizes his life¿s philosophy in a three-tier question and answer in Savrola, his only novel: 1) Would you rise in the world? You must work while others amuse themselves (pg. 57, 131). To merely exist was no better than death (pg. 134). Churchill¿s high talent and amazing energy were both praised and criticized (pg. 69-70, 85-86, 120, 129, 178, 188-190). Churchill could not stand the routine and the tedious. He was never idle. History transfixed Churchill and fed his vision of the world (pg. 70, 108, 139-141, 144-145, 209). Churchill deeply believed in action; he had a goal, a plan and an iron will to get things done (pg. 109-110). Churchill possessed an almost mystical knowledge in knowing the facts and seeing them as they were, as a critical step towards ultimate triumph (pg. 144). As Mansfield correctly points out, Churchill¿s weapons were his words, passionate words loaded with faith and vision (pg. 84, 147-150, 174, 179). 2) Are you desirous of a reputation for courage? You must risk your life (pg. 57). Churchill had little regard for his personal safety, was not concerned with criticism where his principles were involved, and regularly stood firm before the most determined opposition (pg. 77, 79, 82, 120, 123-126, 130, 195-198). Churchill, however, was open to genuine self-criticism (pg. 155-158, 160). Unsurprisingly, Churchill was perceived as a political opportunist, a maverick without deep loyalty to any political party as he switched back and forth between Conservatives and Liberals between 1904 and 1924 (pg. 66). Furthermore, Churchill regularly flirted with death first during his military career and then in politics (pg. 57, 104-106). Yet behind the public persona that radiated an aura of power and confidence, Churchill could sink in periods of depression that reminded him of his weaknesses (pg. 155-156, 171, 213). Churchill acknowledged that without the help of the Almighty, he could have never succeeded (pg. 64, 72, 84-85, 115-117, 152-153). 3) Would you be strong morally or physically? You must resist temptations (pg. 57, 132, 161). Churchill only asked of others what he required of himself (pg. 57, 106). Churchill never gave in except to convictions of honor and good sense (pg. 151). Churchill was not ashamed to show his emotions and compassionate nature (pg. 163, 172, 184). Churchill¿s happy marriage to Clementine Hozier is a testimony of their faith in each other, despite the many differences existing between them (pg. 119-122, 135-138). ChurchilWas this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.