The World Crisis, 1916-1918

Blessed. Companion Is a. Book.

by the Rt.Hon Winstone S. Churchill. New York: Charles Scribner’s Sons. 1927.8vo. xviii+297+277 pp. Illus. 2 vols. 10.00
THREE years ago this reviewer, in discussing the earlier volumes of this history, spoke of the writer as a man of genius. Now he would call the man a writer of genius. For, however opinions may differ as to the value of Mr Churchill’s Protean labors in the war as Private Member, Minister of the Crown, Soldier, First Lord of the Admiralty, Minister of Munitions, and unwearied instigator, prodder, pusher of every man or method susceptible of advancing the Allied cause, none will dispute the enormous interest of In’, history or the flexible dexterity of a narrative which sweeps through the six continents and the seven seas, and yet never completely disentangles itself from the personal history and fortunes of the narrator. There is an Ego at the centre of Mr. Churchill’s Cosmos, but if it lessens the stature of the statesman, it exalts the effects of the artist.
What a life it is to make history and then to write it; to buttonhole the supreme actors in the world’s supreme drama and then to paint their pictures in colors of your own choosing 1 Readers of history who recall the portrait gallery in the stately corridors of Clarendon will remember what an accent of reality is added to the likeness of Squire Cromwell when the historian recounts his conversation with that racy Radical in the lobby of the House. Mr. Churchill s narrative is full of such personal snapshots, and yet, by a subtle dissemination of his personality, lie seems never to depart from the objectiveness of bis chronicle or to interrupt the progress of history. His gift of evoking a remembered scene and of etching the quick lines of a personal sketch are alike remarkable. It is not for nothing that Mr. &; ’ Lurch il Is water colors sell in Paris even when freighted with a less distinguished name.
Mr. Churchill’s talent for controversy does not fail him here. His enemies maintain that he slips through politics like an eel, but as an historian his opinions are nothing if not definite. He has his views about Robertson and Haig, Ilenry \\ ilson, Gough, and the rest, and he states them. Not for him is the role of the august historian apportioning praise and blame without favor, lie hates his enemies, sticks by his friends, and damn the reader who disagrees! The muck and sweat of the fight are still on him. He is a man’s man, and plays the game hard.
If the World Crisis is not a final history, it is a contribution to finality. No one else has written so burly a story of the Great War. The judgments may not be ultimate — the writing is.
A clever commentator In the Atlantic remarked some time since, regarding the new Chancellor of the Exchequer, that if the war did 11’t produce an unsinkable ship, at least it produced an unsinkable politician, and we will hazard the opinion that this book of his will be afloat anti in repair when all but a fraction of the histories now written of these great events will be flotsam and jetsam on the shores of Time.