Churchillian Beach Reads? Not nearly so outlandish a conceit as you might suppose. To begin with, Winston Churchill loved the beach, and particularly loved to swim in the sea. Field Marshall Lord Alanbrooke himself attested to this, recalling Churchill stopping his motorcade in the midst of his August 1942 return visit to Egypt, on the way back from his first Moscow meeting with Stalin, for a dip in the Mediterranean. There, according to Alanbrooke, Churchill was “rolled over by the waves and came upside down doing the ‘V’ sign with his legs.”

We savor August with recommendations for Churchillian Beach Reads  — new books about Winston Churchill, plus two classic books by him, that will go down easy while soaking up some rays.


APPEASEMENT: Chamberlain, Hitler, Churchill, and the Road to War
by Tim Bouverie, is a new history of a dark and well-documented subject: England’s sunstroke-like cluelessness that enabled Hitler’s rise and ultimate domination of Europe; as well as Churchill’s ascendancy to the Prime Ministership.
Tim Bouverie will be speaking here on October 15 @ 7pm. You are hereby invited.

CHURCHILL’S MENAGERIE: Winston Churchill and the Animal Kingdomby Piers Brendon (former-Keeper of the Churchill Archives), is a sunny exploration of Churchill’s lifelong love of animals, from cats and dogs to horses; butterflies to pigs.
Piers Brendon will be speaking here on Nov. 4 @ 7pm.
Again, you are invited.

“If Britain must choose between sunbathing and the open sea, she must always choose the open sea.”
—Winston Churchill

, edited and introduced by David Cannadine, is a breezy compendium that collects all of Churchill’s writings about painting, as well as contemporaneous reviews and critical assessments of Churchill as a painter.

GATSBY’S OXFORD: Scott, Zelda, and the Jazz Age Invasion of Britain 1904-1929
, by Christopher A. Snyder. Did you know that F. Scott and Zelda Fitzgerald crossed paths with Winston and Clementine Churchill at a luncheon hosted by Churchill’s mother, Jennie? Neither did we! Read all about it.



Churchill floated in the Hendaye sea, “like a benevolent hippo, in the middle of a large circle of protective French policemen who had duly donned bathing suits for the purpose.”
—Private Secretary John Colville (1945)


MY EARLY LIFE is Winston Churchill’s only volume of personal memoirs. It is also, arguably, his most entertaining book, a larger-than-life recollection of youth and wayward school boyhood. Perfect for beach towel reflection.


THOUGHTS AND ADVENTURES is a terrific anthology of Churchill essays and magazine articles from the 1920s and early 1930s on a wide variety of subjects, including Churchill on “Cartoons and Cartoonists,” flying and the future.


“It is not enough to float. We have to swim!”
—Winston Churchill