Talk:Winston Churchill as historian

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Value of articleEdit

This appears to be original research? —Preceding unsigned comment added by CaughtLBW (talkcontribs) 21 February 2007

H.G. Wells and Winston ChurchillEdit

I do not understand why H.G. Wells' opinion of Churchill's writing is so important as to deserve to be mentioned on this page. The World Crisis is a masterpiece. Wells wrote (mediocre) science fiction books, he was not a historian (in fact his 'Outline of History' was shamelessly plagiarized, see, nor a respected politician, nor a history maker, not even a prominent writer. He was a Communist and a Utopian who understood little about the realities of waging a world war. I feel that it is ridiculous to allow Wikipedia to become a channel of communist and socialist propaganda, particularly with regard to a person of the stature of Sir Winston Churchill. Wells was a paperback writer. —Preceding unsigned comment added by Rmn1791 (talkcontribs) 24 May 2007

It is easy for a novelist to critise a leader of men whom faced the supreme challenge of the time. We are all bound by our backgrounds, our social origins. Winston faced fascism square in the face when most could not. What better could you want from a man?

This article is about Churchill as historian, and not his political positions and achievements. As such, Wells' criticism of Churchill may be worth noting, as is the criticism he has recieved from other notable authors and historians for this writings. --Nick Dowling 09:55, 13 June 2007 (UTC)


Shouldn't we have a list of all the books Churchill wrote? And publication dates, of course. Wellesradio 17:35, 8 September 2007 (UTC)

Churchill's History of the English-Speaking PeoplesEdit

The present text of this article derides Churchill's History of the English-Speaking Peoples in one location as having been "written primarily to raise money," and later (while admitting that the H.E.S.P. was among the writings that earned Churchill the Nobel Prize in Literature) further derogates it as being "very old-fashioned, seeing world history as a one-dimensional pageant of battles and speeches, kings and statesmen, in which the English occupy central stage," plus "[a]lthough Churchill's enormous prestige ensured that the books were respectfully received and sold well, they are now little read" — all asserted without citation.

How radical that a history titularly primarily about the English-speaking peoples would be found to be mostly about… you guessed it.

In any event (further sarcasm forthcoming), Churchill's H.E.S.P. is really universally regarded so poorly these days that noted American historian Henry Steele Commager produced in 1991 an abridged one-volume edition of Churchill's History of the English-Speaking Peoples specifically so folks could better avoid encountering it. As Commager wrote in his Preface:

“Like almost everything Winston Churchill wrote […] A History of the English-Speaking Peoples was a very personal book. This history was a project long close to Churchill's heart and long in his mind, as well. He began work on it in the thirties, when he was out of office; he returned to it again after he had helped guide the English-speaking peoples to victory in the Second World War; it represented therefore almost two decades of thought and of writing.”

So much for it being primarily about “making money.” Commager continues:

“It is a grave responsibility to cut and trim and arrange a classic, which has, after all, its own proportions and its own symmetry. But if the four-volume A History of the English-Speaking Peoples is to be made available in a single volume, there is no alternative. Needless to say I have scrupulously respected the original text; everything here is as Churchill wrote it. But I have reduced the book to approximately half its original length. […] This book is not, after all, meant for scholars, who will go to the original [as Commager clearly thinks scholars might want to do –MEM], but for the large reading public which Churchill himself most wanted to reach and for young people, in school and out. […] And as this book is designed primarily for American readers, I have given proportionately larger space to the story of the expansion of England, to the Empire, the Commonwealth, and the United States, than Churchill gave in the four volumes of the History.”

I like the unabridged version better myself, but Commager's effort to make the work more accessible to folks generally speaks volumes, I think, about how he at least regarded Churchill's History.

As far as the earlier text of the article's asserted "one-dimensional pageant of battles and speeches, kings and statesmen" is concerned, I found Churchill's history — he being a parliamentarian while very clearly far from a devotee of the "divine right of kings" — to be quite valuable as an introduction to the development and evolution of Parliamentary government and its institutions, from its roots in the Medieval period and beyond through the modern epoch.

Thus, in my view, most of the disparaging commentary about the H.E.S.P. is biased garbage and should be junked.

Michael McNeil (talk) 05:18, 21 May 2008 (UTC)

I think Michael McNeil has a point so I have added an NPOV tag. Biscuittin (talk) 22:26, 6 May 2009 (UTC)

Candidate for deletionEdit

This article is obviously an effort to opinionate about Churchill as an historian. It violates three policies of Wikipedia: No original research, verifiable sources and neutral point of view. Wikipedia is not the place to share brilliant insights. First, the article should properly establish that there is a scholarly debate, specifically citing legitimate, published parties to the debate (weasel words are unacceptable), then lay out the claims attributed to them. This article should be about the debate, not a part of the debate. Unless it is drastically changed, this article should be deleted. The appropriate tags have been added. J M Rice (talk) 19:49, 21 November 2009 (UTC)

It's not clear that it violates three policies. Wikipedia:Original research is intended to block unpublished research. While this article may be heavily based on a single work, it's a published and available work; that doesn't make it OR. It also doesn't make it unverifiable - the source is readily available to anyone who cares to buy or borrow it.
Neutrality is another matter, and a balance would clearly be better. However as someone with some familiarity with Churchill's works it certainly doesn't read as too far from the mainstream. Much of what is written reflects mainstream views, even if it isn't sourced as such.
This article isn't a candidate for deletion, it's a candidate for improvement. If you know enough to criticize the article, then you probably know enough to improve it. DJ Clayworth (talk) 17:19, 23 November 2009 (UTC)

There is a middle ground here. Churchill won the Nobel Prize for Literature so his work is a valid subject for a Wikipedia article. Yet the article does have a good deal of opinion, and does not have inline citations. There is one source, without page numbers, and that source may be largely opinion as well. Without further sources it seems the article would be more appropriate as a straight recitation of the work, rather than a review of it. Thus, I will trim/improve the article as DJ Clayworth suggested and see the reaction from others.Chagallophile (talk) 15:23, 16 March 2013 (UTC)


It has been 7 years since the last discussion and the state of the page has not changed. It still relies on one source, has no inline citations and appears to contain original research. The page does not have the content to justify being a page and most of its comments on his published work on history is already covered on the Winston Churchill as writer article. I belief it is at this time either time to delete the article or move whatever there is of value over to Winston Churchill as writer. — Preceding unsigned comment added by Dubarr18 (talkcontribs) 16:59, 13 December 2020 (UTC)

Return to "Winston Churchill as historian" page.