Tag Archives: Winston Churchill

Us & Them & Them & Us

                                

Ian Buruma – The Churchill Complex – The Curse of Being Special, From Winston and FDR to Trump and Brexit

It’s impossible to understand the last 75 years of American history, through to Trump and Brexit, without understanding the Anglo-American relationship, and specifically the bonds between presidents and prime ministers. FDR of course had Churchill; JFK famously had Macmillan, his consigliere during the Cuban Missile Crisis. Reagan found his ideological soul mate in Thatcher, and George W. Bush found his fellow believer, in religion and in war, in Tony Blair. And now, of course, it is impossible to understand the populist uprising in either country, from 2016 to the present, without reference to Trump and Boris Johnson, though ironically, they are also the key to understanding the special relationship’s demise. There are few things more certain in politics than that at some point, facing a threat to national security, a leader will evoke Winston Churchill to stand for brave leadership (and Neville Chamberlain to represent craven weakness). As Ian Buruma shows, in his dazzling short tour de force of storytelling and analysis, the mantle has in fact only grown more oppressive as nuanced historical understanding fades and is replaced by shallow myth. Absurd as it is to presume to say what Churchill would have thought about any current event, it’s relatively certain he would have been horrified by the Iraq War and Brexit, to name two episodes dense with “Finest Hour” analogizing. In The Churchill Complex, distinguished author, Ian Buruma offers more than a reflection on the weight of Churchill’s legacy and its misuses.  It’s never been a relationship of equals: from Churchill’s desperate cajoling and conniving to keep FDR on the side in the war on, British prime ministers have put much more stock in the relationship than their US counterparts did. For England, resigned to the loss of its once-great empire and the diminishment of its power, its close kinship to the world’s greatest superpower would give it continued relevance, and serve as leverage to keep continental Europe in its place. And now, even as the links between the Brexit vote and the 2016 US election are coming into sharper focus, the Anglo-American alliance has floundered on the rocks of the isolationism that is one of 2016’s signal legacies. Ian Buruma is a keen observer and a delightfully informative guest.

Wendy Holden – The Royal Governess  – A Novel Of Queen Elizabeth Ii’s Childhood

In 1933, twenty-two-year-old Marion Crawford accepts the role of a lifetime, tutoring the little Princesses Elizabeth and Margaret Rose.  Her one stipulation to their parents the Duke and Duchess of York is that she brings some doses of normalcy into their sheltered and privileged lives. At Buckingham Palace, Windsor Castle, and Balmoral, Marion defies stuffy protocol to take the princesses on tube trains, swimming at public baths, and on joyful Christmas shopping trips at Woolworth’s. From her ringside seat at the heart of the British monarchy, she witnesses twentieth-century history’s most seismic events. The trauma of the Abdication, the glamour of the Coronation, the onset of World War II. She steers the little girls through it all, as close as a mother. During Britain’s darkest hour, as Hitler’s planes fly over Windsor, she shelters her charges in the castle dungeons (not far from where the Crown Jewels are hidden in a biscuit tin). Afterwards, she is present when Elizabeth first sets eyes on Philip. But being a beloved confidante to the Windsors comes at huge personal cost. Marriage, children, her own views: all are compromised by proximity to royal glory. Best known for her comic novels, Wendy Holden’s diversion into what she calls “hybrid” writing, is almost a self-effacing description of a brilliant melding of fact and fiction. You’ll be enchanted by the bestselling author’s enthusiasm for her story of a progressive young teacher who became governess to children of a family frozen in time.

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Exclusive Interview With Ian “Mac” McLagan

Ian McLagan & Norman B

Ian McLagan & Norman B

In the next edition of Life Elsewhere we proudly present Part One of Norman B’s exclusive interview with Ian McLagan, the legendary keyboard player with the Small Faces and Faces, who went on as a backing player with The Rolling Stones. Mac has also played in the studio and on stage with an extraordinary list of rock and roll luminaries. In what Mac describes as a cozy fireside chat, he shares with Norman B, personal stories and recollections of his early days in the music business. We urge you not to miss this intimate conversation. Here is a sample of what you can expect:

Also in the program Boris Johnson, the outspoken and sometimes controversial Mayor of London talks with Norman B about his new book The Churchill Factor: How One Man Made HistoryDoes Boris offer a new perspective on Britain’s revered statesman? Norman B invites you to join in the conversation by emailing your questions for Boris Johnson to: info (at) lifeelsewhere (dot) co

Life Elsewhere airs Mondays at 9.00am ET 
Podcasts of Life Elsewhere are available at Stitcher
WMNF 88.5fm

Mac & Boris

 Ian McLagan was the keyboard player with the Small Faces and Faces, then went on as a backing player with The Rolling Stones. Back in 60’s, Mac went to Art School in London, the same Art School Norman B attended a year or so later. Earlier this year, Mac and Norman ran into each backstage at a charity event in Seattle, where the former Small Faces member suggested the two silver-haired ex-art students should get together for what Mac describes as a cozy, fireside chat. On the next edition of Life Elsewhere, you’ll hear Part One of Norman B’s exclusive interview with Ian McLagan recounting his discovery of the blues and joining the Small Faces. Life in the quintessential Mod band and the crazy non-stop routine of a pop star. He talks about the beginning and the end of Faces and gives us a peak into what it was like recording with The Rolling Stones plus the often unglamorous life of being on the road with the world’s greatest rock ‘n’ roll band. Mac offers his opinions on Punk, keyboard players he admires and his favorite keyboards. He recounts the ups and the downs, the truths and the untruths of rock ‘n’ roll and why his muse was so crucial in his life. McLagan discusses his latest album United States and his currant musical cohorts The Bump Band, based out of his adopted home of Austin, Texas.

Boris Johnson was born one year before the death of the subject of his new book, The Churchill Factor: How One Man Made History. The outspoken and sometimes controversial Mayor of London had no living experience of the idiosyncratic politician, so why the fascination with Winston Churchill? Does Boris offer a new perspective on Britain’s revered statesman? Norman B invites you to join in the conversation by emailing your questions for Boris Johnson to: info (at) lifeelsewhere (dot) co

Podcasts of Life Elsewhere are available at Stitcher
Life Elsewhere airs Mondays at 9.00am ET 
WMNF 88.5fm