Churchill: The Greatest Briton Unmasked

Book Review

Published: 30th September 2008

Churchill: The Greatest Briton Unmasked by Nigel Knight. David & Charles, Sept 2008, £14.99; ISBN: 978 0 7153 2855 2

Reviewed by Alf Wilkinson

Nigel Knight, a lecturer in British Government at Cambridge, has written a revisionist analysis of Churchill and his achievements. Based on extensive research he has set out to show that, perhaps, Churchill was not the greatest Briton. That he chimed with the times of 1940-45 is not in doubt; the part he played in vocalising every person's defiance to Hitler and the Nazis is unquestioned. Yet Knight produces plenty of evidence and convincing argument that, right throughout his career, from before WW1 through to 1955 and final electoral defeat, Churchill had a habit of 'taking the wrong option,' of over-riding expert advice, and of extending the war by his dispersionist strategy. Knight even highlights the part Churchill payed in helping to set up long-term conflicts in both Ireland and Iraq.

Whether you agree with the evidence presented here before you or not, Nigel Knight makes a readable and convincing case that it is time to re-evaluate the reputation of a man who, if WW2 had not come along, would have been barely remembered as a Chancellor of the Exchequer during the General Strike. The conclusion would make a perfect activity to begin to discuss significance! Recommended.