Forty Ways to Look at Winston Churchill: A Brief Account of a Long Life

Forty Ways to Look at Winston Churchill: A Brief Account of a Long Life

by Gretchen Rubin
3.6 5


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Forty Ways to Look at Winston Churchill: A Brief Account of a Long Life 3.6 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 5 reviews.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Gretchen Rubin has the merit to make the complex personality of Winston Churchill accessible to a wide audience. Rubin is very good at reducing a mass of information and data about her tragic hero to the key talking points about a wide range of topics relevant to the life of Churchill. Some biographies about Churchill can intimidate many readers because of their size and/or complexity. Rubin, a lawyer by training, plays the devil¿s advocate in some chapters by arguing both sides of an issue without taking side. Some readers, understandably, would have preferred that Rubin took a clear stance in these chapters. Although Rubin deeply admires Churchill, she ultimately passes the test of impartiality by acknowledging his most egregious shortcomings.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
An absorbing account of Winston Churchill through 40 anecdotes ranging from memorable quotations, to his sex life (or relative lack thereof) and love for England. A quick read with many overlapping ideas and observations, Rubin at times repeats herself, but not with any emphasis, suggesting she recycled material from earlier chapters with no new spin. However, this repetition does not weigh down the book any more than the few fluff chapters do. For example, the one paragraph “How He Saw The World” chapter included a map of the Britain at the height of it’s empire in 1930, in attempt to show us what has already been established – Churchill was an imperialist and always hoped to preserve the British Empire. Also, an unenthusiastic true/false questionnaire chapter drags us down a puerile path heading towards an obvious conclusion: Churchill’s life is the stuff of legend.  This book continually claims an unbiased account of Churchill, especially through many chapters posing two opposite views. This initially pushes the reader to choose one or the other, but these dichotomies condition the reader to a more meaningful conclusion - toward the end of the book it becomes easier to accept both claims and infer, for example, that Churchill was both depressed and cheerful during periods of his life. Rubin may have intended this effect, which enforces the underlying purpose of this book and allows the reader to synthesize his or her own view of Churchill. Like a decent tomato-basil soup at the beginning of a delicious five-course meal, this book both pleases and invites us to keep reading about a legendary and polarizing figure.   Final book rating:  65/100
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
40 Ways to look at Winston Churchill is a great summary of Winston Churchill. This biography offers everything there is to know about Winston Churchill. Gretchen Rubin, the author, does a fantastic job in always providing both sides of the argument. Additionally, her writing is differentiable from all the other authors, who have written memoirs and biographies of Churchill. She does not simply retell what everyone already knows about Churchill but she describes  “her” Winston Churchill. The quotes and speeches she includes are so purposeful that they always enhance her argument. Quotes, letters and speeches of Churchill and others are always including with a purpose and elevate the overall arguments. I really think Gretchen Rubin did a good job at cutting these pieces and including only the most important things. Her biography is different form any biography or memoir I have ever read. In my opinion, this well written biography gives a new insight to Churchill from a more modern day perspective. Yet, even though the content is great an academic scholar did not write this book. This means that the book does not have the best imagery in it; as well as, it is often lacking the eloquent writing style that one would expect out of a Winston Churchill biography. For all these reasons I would give this book a 3.5.  - Laura
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