Book Review: God & Churchill: How the Great Leader’s Sense of Divine Destiny Changed His Troubled World and Offers Hope for Ours

19 Dec
Churhchill book cover

God & Churchill: How the Great Leader’s Sense of Divine Destiny Changed His Troubled World and Offers Hope for Ours

☆☆☆☆☆ Recommended

God & Churchill: How the Great Leader’s Sense of Divine Destiny Changed His Troubled World and offers Hope for Ours presents new insight into the life of Great Britain’s former British Prime Minister and wartime leader Winston Churchill. Co-written by Churchill’s great-grandson Jonathan Sandys and journalist Wallace Henley, God & Churchill details how the significant role of Churchill’s spirituality and Christian faith helped guide him through the twentieth century’s twin conflagrations: in the trenches during First World War, and in greater depth leading Great Britain and Allied leadership through most of the Second World War.

With God & Churchill, we are offered an exceptional book on Allied leadership’s cornerstone figure during World War II. So what makes this contribution to the collection of work on the twentieth century’s greatest leader unique and a ‘must have’? Sandys and Henley give substantive evidence for Churchill’s destiny towards greatness—his unwavering belief in God’s plan for his life and leadership. Additionally, the author’s use of substantive sources—primary and secondary—many in Churchill’s own words, speaking of his destiny for greatness on the world stage, fills gaps not covered in earlier works on the former British Prime Minister.

For 2015, the publishers at Tyndale Momentum have added God & Churchill to the growing body of literature on Churchill during another tumultuous period in our world’s history. Sandys and Henley draw parallels between Adolph Hitler’s Nazi Germany and today’s growing terror in Iraq and Syria through ISIS and its growing world-wide influence. At a time when religious beliefs are the central theme for a different form of war today, the authors offer hope: “Here, then, is our hope for the cataclysmic time in which we live: The same God who brought forth Winston Churchill (and other deliverers) still rules over history, and he has a deliverer—or deliverers—for our season as well…. It might even be the ultimate Deliverer.” [1]

Sandys and Henley offer extensive contrast between what role the church was to play for Hitler and Churchill; such views which were the core of their respective ideologies—and their fates as the authors suggest.

As the era of the Second World War becomes more distant, research historians and writers continue to write more objectively, with less bias foregoing ‘romantic views’ of the war’s culture in modern memory. What does remain is a clearer view of Winston Churchill—‘warts and all’ as historians like to say. In God & Churchill, Sandys and Henley have done commendable work in adding to our knowledge of the popular wartime leader. British historian Geoffrey Best, Senior Member and retired professor at St. Antony’s College, Oxford in Churchill: A Study in Greatness, in recounting Winston Churchill’s state funeral (30 January 1965), decreed by the Queen and usually reserved only for royalty, writes:

For a former private secretary privileged to be in the small party that went with the family to the interment, there was no forgetting the ‘two single figures’ he saw from the train: ‘first on the flat roof of a small house a man standing at attention in his old RAF uniform; and then in a field, some hundred yards from the track, a simple farmer stopping work and standing, head bowed, and cap in hand’. For the millions who link with the funeral had to be television, the most unforgettable moment was probably (as it certainly was for me) the great cranes [grey heron; bird] along the south side of the stretch of river between Tower Bridge and London Bridge, dipping their masts in tribute as the launch went by, ‘like giants bowed in anxious thought’.[2]

Such was Winston Churchill’s positive impact on history and the world; a man whose leadership and legacy we may never see again.

God & Churchill will appeal to those readers interested in Winston Churchill, early-to-mid twentieth-century British history, as well as Great Britain’s role during the Second World War. Those who study leadership in particular will find the book essential reading. Readers and students interested in a deeper dive into the study of Churchill, the University of Oxford’s Department for Continuing Education offers the following course (most semesters) titled: Churchill: Soldier, Politician and Statesman (Online). This is a tuition-based live class delivered via distance learning methodology and open to learners worldwide.

[1] Jonathan Sandys and Wallace Henley, God & Churchill: How the Great Leader’s Sense of Divine Destiny Changed His Troubled World and offers Hope for Ours (Carol Stream, Il: Tyndale Momentum, 2015) 237.
[2] Geoffrey Best, Churchill: A Study in Greatness (London: Oxford University Press, 2003) 327.

Best, Geoffrey. Churchill: A Study in Greatness. London: Oxford University Press, 2003.
Sandys, Jonathan and Wallace Henley. God & Churchill: How the Great Leader’s Sense of Divine Destiny Changed His Troubled World and offers Hope for Ours. Carol Stream, Il: Tyndale Momentum, 2015.

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Posted by on December 19, 2015 in Book Reviews, WWII in Europe


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