Friday, August 03, 2007

It's the Thought that Counts

Mr. Bush's gift of a US bomber jacket to Mr. Gordon Brown may well go unworn, I suspect. It is, unfortunately, embroidered with the embarrassing advertisement of his name, rank and number, which will make it difficult to dispose of, anonymously, on E-Bay.
Mr. Brown might have reciprocated with a gift of a Battle of Britain pilot's jacket but, since the US president, in a speech to the Air Force College in Colorado, just prior to going to Normandy for the D-Day memorial, told them that World War II had begun on December the 7th. 1941, probably felt it would not have been much appreciated.
Also, we all knew that he already had a flight jacket since he wore one when he zoomed onto the deck of the USS Abraham Lincoln in 2003 to announce, rather prematurely, the victory in Iraq. The banner behind him read “Mission Accomplished.”
Mr. Bush, it is said, was a history student but not, I assume of recent happenings.
Thus his gift from the British Prime Minister was apposite. A biography of Sir Winston Churchill was an excellent choice, although as I believe he goes to bed around nine o'clock, is not much of a book for bedtime reading. All the ones I have read are pretty hefty tomes.
And I wonder just which of the good many biographies of Britain's wartime leader and icon of the nation he chose to take?
My money would be on Roy Jenkins excellent effort, if only because it dwells much upon Churchill's political history. Jenkins must be one of the more erudite of Socialist politicians and his book, given his inside status for much of the time, is fascinating.
But Philip Ziegler's is, I feel, the more compelling. I doubt that Ziegler could write an uninteresting biography of anyone, and his “Churchill – a Life” is compelling reading.
There is a much earlier book, now often neglected, by Henry Pelling, written in 1974.
Whichever one George got as a present, I hope he gets past the introduction.
“Gee, this is heavy stuff, Laura. Turn out the light, will ya. I'll have another go tomorrow after I've read the National Enquirer.”


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