*Success is the ability to go from one failure to another with no loss of enthusiasm.
*It is a mistake to try to look too far ahead. The chain of destiny can only be grasped one link at a time.
*When the eagles are silent, the parrots begin to jabber.
*We make a living by what we get, but we make a life by what we give.
Sir Winston Churchill
He fascinated my husband first, really. M is a political history buff and the courage, leadership, flaws and fancies of this enigmatic man held M's interest through many a documentary and book. I would nod in semi-interest when M would recount aspects of British history, the brilliance of the orations in Parliament, the interesting styles of the various prime ministers, Margaret Thatcher, Lloyd George and of course, the Lion.
Sir Winston Churchill.
I hadn't planned on developing such a fascination myself for him. I purchased William Manchester's enormous anthology on Churchill titled The Last Lion for M for a birthday gift and began picking up the huge volumes myself, poring over the incredible lineage, education, military career, marriage and fearless leadership of this man. He weathered political success and political defeat. He wrote, painted, spoke and entertained. His writings and treasury of quotes still speak into the challenges of today, the wisdom of military and political leadership still ringing from those words.
It is inspiring to read of Churchill's military campaigns that protected Britain in time of war. It is disturbing to read of his bigotry toward India and his derisive comments about Ghandi. It is compelling to learn of his first term as Prime Minister, the way he united his country-and then was ousted at the conclusion of World War II, all to come back into the office six years later. His adoration of his wife, his love of his children, his humor, his odd work habits, his uncanny timing for one-liners all reveal a man of many layers and levels.
And in the end, to look back on the ninety years of Churchill's life, to see a life that was lived fearlessly, boldly, full of successes and failures, strengths and flaws, gives a portrait of a life fully lived, a life in which every ounce was squeezed out in service of country and people. While his accomplishments garner my admiration, it is the volume and breadth of his life that captures my full attention.
A portrait of a life lived full-out.
Who is it for you? You may have several, those historic figures whose times spent here have shaped and honed your perspective, your understanding, your goals. Pick one and tell me why, give me the skinny on who's biography is on your bedside table, whose wisdom and walk speak to you. Feel free to leave your pick in the comment section or write your own post on this topic and place your name and the url of your post in the Mister Linky's box below. Dust off those history books!