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Churchill and Australia

By: Graham Freudenberg (580.14/36011)
Publisher: Macmillan ISBN: 9781405038706

'Australia seemed to bring out the worst in Winston Churchill. Often enough to form a discernible pattern. Australia found itself on the wrong side of the very qualities his strength of will, singleness of purpose, his refusal to "give way, in things great or small, large or petty", the power of his imagination to set grim reality at defiance, his mastery of the English language - that made Winston Churchill, as the philosopher Isaiah Berlin described him, "the saviour of his country, the largest human being of his time".

Winston Churchill was a titan of the 20th century, universally acknowledged as on of the greatest leaders of his age. Yet his relationship with Australia was a troubled one, marred by conflict from the time Churchill was a junior minister in 1907 to bitter disputes over the use of Australian troops in the Second World War. The connection between the two would span the first fifty tumultuous years of the 20th century, from the Boer War through to the opening salvos of the Cold War, and act as a fascinating backdrop to Australia's march from a collection of dependent colonies to full nationhood.

Graham Freudenberg has written the grand story of this relationship. It's both an epic told with enthralling narrative verve, and an astute portrait of an extraordinary man, revealed with a true insider's knowledge of the political world, and drawing persuasively on previously neglected sources and documents. Beautifully written, compelling, sweeping in its scope and dazzling in its detail, Churchill and Australia will be hailed as an Australian masterpiece.

December 2008

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