‘I have not become the King’s First Minister in order to preside over the liquidation of the British Empire.’ These notorious words, spoken by Churchill in 1942, encapsulate his image as an imperial die-hard, implacably opposed to colonial freedom – a reputation that has prevailed, and which Churchill willingly embraced to further his policies. Yet, as a youthful minister at the Colonial Office before World War I, his political opponents had seen him as a Little Englander and a danger to the Empire. Placing Churchill in the context of his times and his contemporaries, Richard Toye evaluates his position on key Imperial questions and examines what was conventional about Churchill’s opinions and what was unique. Combining a lightness of touch and entertaining storytelling with expert and insightful analysis, the result is a vivid and dynamic account of a remarkable man and an extraordinary era.
Author: Richard Toye