The Churchill literary industry seems to grind on unabated. Those of you who thought that every last action of the great man’s life had been recorded, documented, analysed and interpreted need to think again. Apparently, the publishers of the English-speaking world feel that there is still an insatiable demand from readers to spend armchair time with one of their favourite historical characters: each book is like a chance to ask an old, familiar friend round again for the evening. Of course, such people need to remember that too much of a good thing can make it seem stale and tired: which is the case with some of the new clutch of Churchilliana. However, there is still scope – thank heaven – for the odd bit of gold to turn up in the dross.
Of these five books, only four are really about Churchill: the fifth, Dennis Wheatley: Churchill’s Storyteller, Craig Cabell’s interesting account of the war experiences of Dennis Wheatley, is a classic case of bandwagon-jumping. Wheatley, best remembered these days as a writer of novels about the occult, spent the war in intelligence and executed various schemes and ruses suggested or promoted by Churchill. Perhaps his best-known stunt was that