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Winston Churchill [Paperback]

John Perry
4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
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Book Description

March 2 2010 Christian Encounters Series

Christian Encounters, a series of biographies from Thomas Nelson Publishers, highlights important lives from all ages and areas of the Church. Some are familiar faces. Others are unexpected guests. But all, through their relationships, struggles, prayers, and desires, uniquely illuminate our shared experience.

Winston Churchill captivated the world with his voice and his writings. His books and speeches ooze with patriotism and faith in a just God. But he wasn’t always known for his oratory skills, his faith, or his ability to captivate. In fact, as a child, he was small for his age, accident-prone, and frequently sick. To make matters worse, he was stubborn and self-centered, had a lisp, and did poorly in school.

Born to an aristocratic family, young Winston was whisked off to boarding school at an early age, ignored by his parents, and left in the care of a nanny, Elizabeth Everest. But Everest excelled where Winston’s own parents had failed him. She nurtured and encouraged him, and shared with him her own steadfast faith in God, shaping the views and vision of the persistent little English boy who would become one of the most influen­tial men in history.


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About the Author

John Perry is a former advertising copywriter and founder of Wolf, Perry & Clark Music and American Network Radio. He is the author of Sergeant Alvin York; Unshakable Faith, a dual biography of Booker T. Washington and George Washington Carver; and Lady of Arlington, the biography of Mary Custis Lee, wife of Robert E. Lee. His Letters to God has been on the New York Times best seller list. John now lives in Nashville.

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4.0 out of 5 stars Fascinating Man, But No Evidence of Saving Faith June 6 2010
By Amazon Customer TOP 100 REVIEWER
By anyone's estimation, Winston Churchill is one of history's most charismatic and memorable characters. His larger-than-life figure piqued my interest as a young student in junior-high school, so it was with great interest that I noted a volume dedicated to exploring his life through a Christian lens in Thomas Nelson's Christian Encounters series of short biographies.

Having been publicly educated (and not having read extensively on Churchill's life, I hoped that he might have held a faith that I was unaware of. This doesn't seem to be the case. Though John Perry does try to make a case for the man's spiritual beliefs, these quite clearly do not fall in line with depending upon the person of Jesus Christ as savior. Rather, by his own admission, he rejected Christianity, and held a belief system that can be more accurately classified as agnostic ' believing in some greater 'universal' power at work but refusing to truly worship it, or become specific.

Though Perry quotes extensively from Churchill's own letters we never see evidence of a walk with Christ. In his public speeches God is given due place, but we find this in any Christian countries when politicians speak ' regardless of their own personal faith. Clearly Churchill's God is not truly the Judeo-Christian God, creator of the universe, but rather a creation of Churchill's own ' one who plays by Churchill's rules and expectations, and not by His own. We can only judge Churchill to be a Christian if we adopt a very, very liberal point of view that accepts anyone who even vaguely believes in a higher power as Christian, and that we cannot do if we wish to hold to the biblical gospel.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) 3.5 out of 5 stars  69 reviews
14 of 15 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Interesting but Problematic July 15 2010
By Labarum - Published on
Format:Paperback|Vine Customer Review of Free Product
Thomas Nelson Publishers' Christian Encounters series has thus far produced interesting biographies offering a quick glimpse into the lives of well known figures in various fields from the perspective of their religious beliefs - particularly their Christian faith. All have been interesting reading but the overall accuracy seems to vary according to the amount of "spin" necessary to reach the desired conclusion. With well known religious figures (Bunyon, St. Patrick), they have been more successful since their religion was the reason for their notoriety. But when their personal faith is secondary to other achievements (Newton, Eyre), there needs to be some separation of public and private images.

The religious beliefs of Winston Churchill would be a fascinating topic of a full length investigation by an academic historian. In the "Christian Encounters," version authored by John Perry (less than 200 pages), pronouncements on religious themes, no matter how incidental, are seized upon to present the subject as devout - an assumption that is then just assumed throughout the book to anchor various elements of his life. The problems with this approach are obvious: How serious should we take references to God in poltical speeches and events meant to motivate Britain in a time of crisis? Do these reflect serious belief or just an appeal to British tradition? Politicians often make appeals to Christian values when they haven't attended church regularly in decades.

This is not to say Churchill had no religious feeling but that he kept his beliefs close to the vest and would hardly fall into the expressive form of many contemporary Christians - particularly in America. Part of this is no doubt cultural: understatement was a virtue for British gentlemen of his time. His private statements on religion seem often full of contradictions but with someone who experienced such highs and lows in both his private and public life, one might expect such changes of heart with respect to divine providence.

Despite these misgivings about the book, it is worth reading - but with a cautious eye. More interesting than the insights it presents on his personal faith are those reflecting the battle within himself between two facets of his personality: his desire for stability and love of tradition with his own inherent rebellious and questioning nature. It might be asked if his attachments to relgion were because of personal faith or seeing it as reflective of the best in British tradition.

Overall, it remains an open question whether the Christian faith had a deep hold on Churchill or was mere convetion. I suspect both have elements of truth mixed with the wishes of identifying a great man with their cause by both sides of the question. This liitle booklet is a very interesting read but, given the reasons noted above, remains problematic.
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Interesting yet misleading Sept. 17 2010
By Chawks - Published on
Format:Paperback|Vine Customer Review of Free Product
This book is a very interesting book on Winston Churchill. It is well researched, full of insights and capably written. However, the publisher, Thomas Nelson should not have picked Winston Churchill as an important life in the history of the Christian faith. According to Thomas Nelson, the Christian Encounters series seeks to highlight the important lives of those throughout Church history. As this book proves, Mr. Churchill was not active in promoting the gospel in any way. Which would seem to be a requirement for inclusion in this series.

I think Thomas Nelson included Churchill in the series because of his comments during WWII. During the early days of WWII when the outcome was in doubt, Winston rallied Britain and the world around his cause by declaring that Britain was fighting for the survival of Christian civilization. These statements worked and fortunately, nazism was defeated.

However, after reading this excellent overview of his life, I came away believing that this book did not belong in this series. Winston Churchill was an interesting person but his life was certainly not an important life in the history of the Christian Church.
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars I really enjoyed this book July 18 2013
By Kurt A. Johnson - Published on
This cute little book is a fascinating biography of that great British statesman, Winston Churchill. Making this book different than most biographies, the author studies the spiritual influences in the great man's life, and looks behind his the rhetoric he used in his speeches (which for many public speakers is often given for effect) to what his real beliefs were. Now, don't get me wrong, the book does not focus primarily on Churchill's religious beliefs, it's primarily a biography and it discusses religion where it fits in.

As for myself, I must say that I really enjoyed this book. Nice and short, it gives the reader a good overview of the great man's life without becoming bogged down in minutiae. I found it to be interesting and informative, and I really enjoyed the time I spent reading it.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars What's the Deal with "Christian Encounters?" Jan. 8 2013
By Amazon Customer - Published on
Winston Churchill by John Perry is a short biography of Churchill from birth to death. The book reads very factual, giving both the good and the bad about Churchill. As I have never read much about Churchill except for the information in history classes in regards to WWII, this was all new for me. The book reads very easy and gives many interesting details. I am not a history buff, so this was a good overview of Churchill.

Given this book is part of a series titled Christian Encounters I kept waiting for the part of the book where Churchill becomes a Christian. That never came. From the beginning Churchill is very open-minded and supports thinking with the head and the heart, even if they don't agree. Therefore he discounted religion, but felt there was someone out there to pray to when he was in a foxhole. Even after his prayers and receiving answers to the prayers, Churchill continued to believe fate, God, or whatever else was out there was why he was alive. He managed to be in all kinds of dangerous situations and yet he always said whatever was out there wanted him alive, not giving credit to God. As part of a "Christian Encounters" series, I would not recommend this book.

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Informative book but left me wanting... June 29 2010
By Jesus First - Published on
Format:Paperback|Vine Customer Review of Free Product
As for as educational? Yes, it is an educational book that gives very good information about Winston Churchill. It wasn't even the most painful biography I've read. I am a bit confused about the title, though. The series is called "Christian Encounters" and after reading the book, I didn't feel like anything in the book led me to believe that Winston Churchill even was a Christian. The only person that came across as a Believer was Winston's nanny that taught him godly values. From the author's view, Churchill used God and religion when it benefited him and went on his own when it didn't (at least that's how it came across). So perhaps the Christian encounter was Churchill encountering Jesus in his nanny and that's it.
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