The Skyline Room at Amarillo National Bank was filled to capacity Friday night, February 8, to hear Dr. Andrew Roberts of Cambridge discuss his book, “Churchill: Walking with Destiny.”
The New York Times calls the author’s treatment of Churchill “Thucydidean,” and asserts that this massive work is “the best single volume biography of Churchill” yet written. Incidentally, the book is on the NYT’s bestseller list.
The event, sponsored by WTAMU, included in the audience Amarillo’s mayor, state senator and an area state representative. Dr. Roberts was introduced by the President of the University.
The author came from his book-signing table, his hand doubtless the cramped victim of overuse. WTAMU received a portion of the proceeds, and judging by the line of book-buyers that was a substantial amount.
Andrew Roberts’ crisp British intonation carried clearly through the room while his self-effacing humor put the audience at ease. He punctuated his presentation with several vintage Churchillian quips. Who says the Brits have no sense of humor?
Roberts contended, at the onset, that Churchill thought himself ultimately destined to lead and save England, and, as a romanticized/regency figure, paced his life accordingly.
His two greatest qualities, along with his elevated eloquence, were self-confidence and moral courage, which never faltered even as the tide of history appeared to surge against him.
Churchill made huge errors in judgment, but Roberts contends he always learned from his mistakes. And, what he got right, namely the rise of Prussian militarism, and both Nazi and Communist aggression, more than compensated.
Roberts does not believe that Churchill was either an alcoholic or a depressive, but admitted that Churchill possessed an immense tolerance for spirits.
What makes this biography unique among the more than one thousand already written is that Roberts is the first to use the notes of the War Cabinet as well as the diaries of George VI.
Critics carp when they say the author can’t get past the man of myth to see, with clarity, his feet of clay. With Churchill, more than any person of modern times, there’s too much human being truncated by mortality for one to contend, or comprehend.
Our gratitude to Dr. Roberts for adding to the rich culture of the High Plains and to WTAMU for making the arrangements.
Such exposure to world-class literature in the heart of cowboy country is a reason we can say, “Keep Amarillo Artsy! Keep Austin Weird! Keep Lubbock in the Rear View Mirror!!!!!