The Life of Sir Winston Churchill: A Four Part Course with Don Brown
Born into a life of privilege, Sir Winston Churchill became one of the towering figures of the 20th century, a participant in most of the major events that took place during his long life. British Prime Minister during the 'Darkest Hour' of 1940 and at the ultimate victory over Hitler's Germany, but then voted out of power in 1945. A defender of democracy, but opposed to self-government for the peoples of the British Empire.
A soldier who faced death in conflicts on four continents; winner of the Nobel Prize for Literature. Loving husband and father; neglected son of absent parents. In this four-part examination of Churchill's life, we trace the story of this remarkable man, from his birth at Blenheim Palace, his unhappy childhood and early careers as a soldier and journalist, to the young politician out to make a name for himself. We'll look at the considerable highs and lows of his political career, at the friends and enemies that he made along the way and how - on more than one occasion - when it seemed as if his career was over, he bounced back to rise still further.
Led by Don Brown, who gave our very popular one hour seminar on Churchill last year, this Conversation develops and deepens our knowledge of Sir Winston. Participants will come away with a fuller picture of the life and achievements, not to mention the controversies, of the man.
Lecture One – His Early Life, 1874-1900: In this first part of the life story we look at his early years - the unhappy childhood and neglectful parents, school days, and military career (including his capture and escape from a prisoner of war camp during the South African war), and his election as a member of parliament.
Lecture Two – The Tyro Politician, 1900-1922: The new MP quickly makes his mark, but not without controversy, and a rapid ascent to high office is matched by an equally swift fall. At 40, it looks like his career is over. On the personal front, Churchill marries and starts a family. Defeat and renaissance; wilderness and destiny.
Lecture Three – War Time Traumas, 1922-1940: At his lowest ebb in 1922, he "bounces back" to government, but then seems to throw it all away yet again and endures his 'wilderness years' of the 1930s. The outbreak of WW2 in 1939 sees him back in the cabinet and about to become Prime Minister.
Lecture Four – Walking With Destiny, 1940-65: From the Darkest Hour of 1940, Churchill steers Britain to victory against Germany. We'll look at his wartime premiership and the impact that he had, examine his defeat in the General Election of 1945, his return to power in the next decade, and finish with his death and funeral in 1965.
Don Brown is a London Blue Badge Guide, the Director of the London Society and a graduate of Oxford University. He previously worked in publishing, for publications as diverse as History Today, The Spectator and The Guardian. His interests and specialisms encompass history - from the Romans to the present day, politics, WW2, and ‘60s and ‘70s popular music, and as director of the London Society he has a professional interest in architecture (contemporary and historical), planning and urbanism.
How does it work?
This is a four-part series held weekly and hosted on Zoom. Please check the schedule for the specific dates and times for each lecture.
Is there a reading list in advance?
Though the course is open to participants with no background on this topic, there will be suggested readings for further investigation. These will be provided at the course's conclusion.
How long are the lectures?
Each lecture is 90 minutes long with time for Q&A.
How much is the course?
The course is $140 USD for three lectures.
Is a recording available?
Yes. If you need to miss a lecture, you will be sent a recording via email after the event.