The life and crimes of the last, great Imperialist
Tariq Ali has written more than two-dozen books on world history and politics-the most recent of which are The Dilemmas of Lenin, The Obama Syndrome and The Extreme Centre-as well as the novels of his Islam Quintet and scripts for the stage and screen. He is a long-standing member of the editorial committee of New Left Review and lives in London.
In Ali's telling, which draws on more honest existing historical
scholarship than most popular biographies of Churchill, the
two-times prime minister emerges not so much as deeply racist -
some of his contemporaries remarked on it in shock - as profoundly
authoritarian, with a soft spot for fascist strongmen, and a
hostility to working-class assertion.
For Tariq Ali, Churchill debunking, like Churchill worship, is a political act.
Ali portrays Churchill as cruel, incompetent and blinded by prejudice
A Marxist insult to history.
A powerful corrective...shining a light on the nasty parts of the Churchill story that his supporters conveniently ignore. This book is an unreserved polemic against the man usually celebrated for standing up to Hitler
An essential antidote to the Churchill myth...This book could not be more timely.
A counter to popular mythology; an effort to peel back the curtain of propaganda and locate truth ... a worthy contribution in a crowded field
[Ali] seeks not so much to flush WC down the toilet of history, but to reassign him to his rightful place as one of history's most over-rated figures ... [a] highly readable book
The important thing about Ali's book, even after a thousand on the same subject, is that it is primarily interested in Churchill's years in service to British imperialism, and only secondarily interested in World War II, inverting the usual balance...a vital corrective.
Ali's book is a helpful corrective to the cult of Churchill that has come to dominate British culture. His study makes one thing clear: there is ultimately no path to a socialist and internationalist future without challenging this legacy.
Ali's examination remains an important corrective to the hagiographic praise that Churchill receives to this day.
Ali has produced a searing critique full of little known detail, of a long and powerful British life which did untold damage at home and abroad.
*Review of African Political Economy*