Churchill’s Cigar by Stephen McGinty - review by Michael Coren

Michael Coren

The Big Smoke

Churchill’s Cigar

By

Macmillan 224pp £12.99 order from our bookshop
 

As Freud the fraud famously said, a cigar is sometimes just a cigar. He was right. And a thin monograph about Churchill’s life seen through the mist of tobacco smoke is sometimes, well, just a thin monograph about Churchill’s life seen through the mist of tobacco smoke.

The problem is that there just isn’t enough to say about the great man’s Cuban habit. Mind you, the author certainly tries. The most tenuous connections are explored, from the chronological chain of ownership of the various shops where Winston bought his cigars to the bureaucratic correspondence concerning wartime cigar gifts and whether they were politically acceptable or even physically dangerous.

These attempts during the war years to protect the Prime Minister from poisoning make up the most enjoyable part of the book – a delightful combination of the comical and the grotesque, as quintessentially British security agents argue whether they should simply dump all of the cigar gifts or have

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