Churchill: Imperfect Man, but a Man with a Mission

December 19, 2007

I just finished reading a biography on Churchill and was fascinated to learn a ton about a man who I previously knew nothing about. I only knew of Churchill the strong Prime Minister who stood up and made a country believe they could defeat the Nazis.  I had no idea of Churchill the soldier, writer, the loser (in elections), the spendathrift, and the painter.

Yet by far the most intriguing part of Churchill’s life is seeing how all of his prior failures and experiences played a part in shaping the man who was ultimately THE statesman of the 20th century.  Churchill’s finest days were undoubtedly in the crisis of the century, WWII.  He would later describe how he felt,

“All my past life had been a preparation for this hour and this trial and I was sure I would not fail.”

This, from a man who had failed quite frequently (especially in WWI as an officer).  Churchill was not perfect.  But he was never afraid to believe in his abilities and to lead others.  I love how the author summed it up:

Churchill had many faults but he had great virtues; courage, a clear sense of right and wrong, a determination not to compromise with tyranny, a belief that right would triumph in the end. Above all, he had a willingness to lead, to take the initiative in this fast-spreading war and fight it out to the end.


The Kite Runner

August 23, 2007

Just finished reading the Kite Runner by Khaled Hosseini. It’s an extremely powerful work of fiction that tells a 1st person story of an Afghan boy, his friendship with a childhood servant, the changing of the guard in Afghanistan, and the search of the young boy (who by this time is a man) to redeem himself from some future failings.

The writing is exquisite – the details rich and illuminating -and the story is gripping. I read a lot of it at the beach last week and had about 160 pages left on Sunday when we got back. I started to read before bed. Next thing I knew, I was at the end, having spent 2+ hours turning page after page.

Hosseini has a 2nd book out now – A Thousand Splendid Suns. I think I’ll be picking it up soon.