National Catholic Reporter

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Why We Love Churchill

It turns out that next month I shall be in Bavaria with a few days to meander around, and the thought occurred that I should visit the battlefield at Blenheim. Up until the advent of air power in the 20th century, battles were often determined by geography, and visiting them always provides greater insight to what transpired. I have never mastered German, and have asked a friend to research whether or not there is much to see. But, this train of thought led me to pull Churchill's "Life of Marlborough" from the shelves of my library. I have not read these volumes in more than ten years and had almost forgotten how wonderful they are. Take for example, this passage on page 135 of Volume I, in which Churchill is describing his illustrious ancestors' early meetings with William of Orange, afterwards William III of England: 

Their talks may have ranged very far. We can in imagination see them poring over the map of Europe with eyes that understood so much about it. William, who was not hostile to young men, must greatly have liked to talk with his agreeable contemporary, who seemed to have the ear of every one at the English Court and had such grounding in the secrets of politics and power as was usually the privilege of princes.

Published in 1933, these words - "who was not hostile to young men" -  affected what we would now call an "outing" of the notoriously homosexual William. Just splendid writing.   

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