[Roberts] writes elegantly, with enjoyable flashes of tartness, and is in complete command both of his sources and the vast historiography. For a book of a thousand pages, there are surprisingly no longueurs. Roberts is admiring of Churchill, but not uncritically so. Often he lays out the various debates before the reader so that we can draw different conclusions to his own ... Some may find Roberts’s emphasis on politics and war old-fashioned, indistinguishable, say, from the approach taken almost half a century ago by Henry Pelling. He is out of step with much of the best British history being written today... [blending] cultural and intellectual history with the study of high politics. But it would be foolish to say Roberts made the wrong choice. He is Thucydidean in viewing decisions about war and politics, politics and war as the crux of the matter. A life defined by politics here rightly gets a political life. All told, it must surely be the best single-volume biography of Churchill yet written.
'He was quite magnificent,' Dalton wrote [of Churchill]. I defy anybody to finish this terrific book, which bursts with character, humour and incident on almost every page, without sharing Dalton’s view. Magnificent is indeed the word ... this is a familiar story, but [Roberts] tells it superbly ... Roberts tells this story with enormous confidence, drawing on a vast range of sources to present what is undoubtedly the best single-volume life of Churchill ever written.
We now have two reasons to be grateful to Mr. Roberts: the first is that his is unarguably the best single-volume biography of Churchill (and so good that it makes redundant Martin Gilbert’s multi-volume labors); the second is that, as a result, no reasonable person will write a Churchill biography for years to come ... Mr. Roberts need not oversell the allure of his new regal sources, welcome though they may be. The book is a brilliant feat of storytelling, monumental in scope, yet put together with tenderness for a man who had always believed that he would be Britain’s savior ... Mr. Roberts’s narrative structure follows an unfussy chronological pattern from birth to death, with everything in between. But there’s not a moment’s dullness in this book, with every account of his subject’s many character flaws riveted to a larger context ... For all his erudition, Mr. Roberts is a popular historian, not an academic one, and he writes with the flair of a man who has made a living wielding his words for newspapers and magazines ... The book is an unapologetic tribute to Churchill but not a hagiography ... In response to...morally awkward episodes in Churchill’s life, Mr. Roberts plays the role not of apologist but of explicator ... Alongside this litany of errors, Mr. Roberts counterposes Churchill’s many achievements, not least of which was, if one may put it this way, the salvation of Britain.
... anecdotes sparkle like gems throughout Roberts’s book, an exhaustive but fluent text that draws on a wider range of sources than the typical Churchill biography, of which there have been more than 1,000 in the five decades since the great man’s death in 1965 ... Roberts clearly admires his subject, but his book is no hagiography. He details Churchill’s misjudgments and policy errors ... Roberts is surely right to conclude that Churchill’s flaws scarcely matter when weighed in the balance against his irreplaceable role in ensuring Britain’s survival, above all in 1940.
[Roberts] has drawn on some fresh material ... The author’s admiration for his subject is clear, but this does not stop him from discussing Churchill’s earlier misjudgments and catastrophic errors ... not an original argument, but Roberts presents it in more detail and with more flair than many previous biographers ... repeatedly in the book the dark episodes of Churchill’s career, often the consequences of his prejudices, are too easily dismissed ... hurchill’s racism and paternalism are treated merely as typical of his era and generation – which they were, but only to some extent ... perhaps no biographer can get beyond the Churchill legend, so long as our devotion to a mythic version of the conflict that defined the man and his century remains so resolute.
So much has been written by and about Winston Churchill that it is difficult to do him justice or write anything new about him in a single volume. Historian Andrew Roberts does both, however, in his new book Churchill: Walking with Destiny ... Roberts dutifully covers Churchill’s post-war warnings about the Soviet threat and his second premiership in the early-to-mid 1950s, including his complex relationship with Anthony Eden ... Andrew Roberts has written the best single-volume biography of Winston Churchill to date.
[Roberts has a sense of both drama and character as well as the context of Churchill’s time ... turns up fascinating fragments ... Roberts’ portrait comes warts and all ... The author delivers a clear, well-limned view of a complex figure who, in no danger of being forgotten, continues to inspire ... The most comprehensive single-volume biography of Churchill that we have in print and a boon for any student of the statesman and his times.
In brightly engaging chapters, Roberts takes readers through all the stages of Churchill's adventurous life as a soldier of the empire and then as a professional politician...And Roberts is frank about Churchill's famous failures ... Roberts is a shrewd and experienced biographer.