The Churchill Complex: The Curse of Being Special, from Winston and FDR to Trump and Brexit (Paperback)

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“Stimulating and highly readable. . . . The Churchill Complex is a rich and rewarding book.” —Wall Street Journal

From one of its keenest observers, a brilliant, witty journey through the "Special Relationship" between Britain and America that has done so much to shape the world, from World War II to Brexit.

It is impossible to understand the last seventy-five years of American history, through to Trump and Brexit, without understanding the Anglo-American relationship, particularly the bonds between presidents and prime ministers. FDR of course had Winston Churchill; JFK had Harold Macmillan, his consigliere during the Cuban Missile Crisis. Ronald Reagan found his ideological soul mate in Margaret Thatcher; and George W. Bush found his fellow believer, in religion and in war, in Tony Blair. Today, the bond between Donald Trump and Boris Johnson illuminates the populist uprisings in both countries, as well as a new kind of Special Relationship that goes against everything it once stood for.

Remembering the past, even its most glorious moments, can be as misleading as forgetting it. Over and over, in the name of freedom and democracy, British and especially American leaders have evoked Winston Churchill as a model for brave leadership (and Nevillle Chamberlain to represent craven weakness). As Ian Buruma shows, in his dazzling, short tour de force of storytelling and analysis, the myths of World War II too often resulted in bad policies and foolish wars.
But The Churchill Complex is much more than a reflection on the weight of Churchill's legacy and its misuses. At its heart are shrewd and absorbing character studies of the president-prime minster dyads, which in Ian Buruma's gifted hands serve as a master class in politics, diplomacy, and the personal quirks of our leaders. It has never been a relationship of equals: from Churchill's desperate cajoling and conniving to keep FDR on his side in World War II, British prime ministers have put much more stock in the relationship than their US counterparts. After the loss of its once-great empire, Britain clung to the world's greatest superpower as a path to continued relevance and leverage. As Buruma shows, this was almost always fool's gold, and now, the alliance has floundered on the rocks of isolationism. The Churchill Complex may not have a happy ending, but as with Ian Buruma's other works, piercing lucidity is its own lasting comfort.

About the Author

Ian Buruma teaches at Bard College. His books include A Tokyo Romance, Their Promised Land, Year Zero, The China Lover, Murder in Amsterdam, Occidentalism, God’s Dust, Behind the Mask, The Wages of Guilt, Bad Elements, and Taming the Gods.

Praise For…

“Stimulating and highly readable. . . . The Churchill Complex is a rich and rewarding book, the best overview that exists of Anglo-American relations from Churchill-FDR to the ‘bromance’ between Boris Johnson and Donald Trump. Buruma's personality sketches of both British and American leaders are as insightful as they are sharp.” —Wall Street Journal

“A smart, lively political history that illuminates the changing relations of two decidedly unequal partners.” Kirkus Reviews

“[A] brisk and insightful history. . . . Buruma writes fluidly and paints vivid sketches of key figures and moments. Political history buffs will be fascinated.” Publishers Weekly

Product Details
ISBN: 9780525522225
ISBN-10: 0525522220
Publisher: Penguin Books
Publication Date: September 7th, 2021
Pages: 320
Language: English

How to read more
( Birmingham Museums Trust’s Digital Image Resource shares thousands of images that span decades of Birminghams vibrant past)

How To Read More

If you love reading, but for some reason you read less and less, know that everything is fine. It happens.
Our lives today have so many things that distract us - how can we not put books away when all these movies, TV shows, YouTube videos, social networks and endless surfing in online stores are around ...
Yes, it's really hard to resist, but you certainly can!

In this article, we want to share with you some tips to read more often and more successfully.
These are some notes and some practices that we have collected for our SUNDOG BOOKS readers club.
And maybe it will bring more books into your life!

Why do we want/need to read more?

To start reading more, you have to understand why you need it.
And you will be surprised, but your goals can be quite varied:

- for work
If you read a lot on duty, then you definitely need to speed up the process. The logic here is simple: read faster → work faster → more time for books for yourself.

- for education
you need this for your educational career or sometimes you just want to read to learn. And, with all the new alternative ways to gain knowledge (podcasts, online courses and videos), the book still does an excellent job of this task too.

- for self-development
all exercises for increasing speed, one way or another, improve cognition and memory.

- for fun
because good books always = fun!

Book lovers have an additional special goal for reading more often. If you love literature, you will understand what we mean: you want to catch everything - to follow modern literature, and not forget about the classics, look into non-fiction and children's publications. And there’s so much you want to reread! The goals are ambitious, but attainable if you read a lot.


And so - How to read more:
We will tell you about the methods that we use ourselves. Perhaps some will suit you as well.


15 minutes a day

You've probably already heard this rule: if you want to start a healthy habit, devote 15 minutes a day to it. Once upon a time, we all read irregularly, in jumps and starts. Sometimes we cannot open a book we have begun weeks ago. Therefore, you should decide to create a rule: devote at least 15 minutes a day to reading. Try reading before bed, or maybe during lunchtime, or even when you are having your morning coffee.

You will see progress immediately. You will notice that almost always your 15 minutes will grow into half an hour or more. But the most remarkable thing is that in three weeks your hands themselves will be looking for a book.


50 First Pages
This method advises - If the book hasn't hooked you from the first 50 pages, put it aside! Life is too short to read uninteresting books.

It is necessary to change the approach to books. At first it will be hard for you to stop and put the book down. Even if we put the book away, it will seem to reproach us from the shelf, mocking us as quitters. But in the end we should come to one simple thought: if it doesn’t hook your attention, you should not force yourself to read it.

***Fifty pages is not a bad test. Not the most objective, but definitely effective. It helps to determine whether it interests you or not, and whether to spend time on things that do not excite.


Reader's Diary

This should be used to improve the quality of reading - to make it more conscious. For starters, it can be a simple notebook with headings:

  • Author
  • Year of publication
  • Main characters
  • Scene
  • Plot
  • Theme
  • Quotes

And, yes, a reader's diary is not a thing about quantity, but about quality. But, it can also motivate. When you open your diary and start looking at quotes (especially quotes), you immediately really want to read.


Maybe a Book Bet?
Several people can participate. Members of the betting group can come from friends, family, and also your colleagues. And of course you can set your own rules for participation, but we'll give you a simple example:

Everyone in the group should read and review a book over the course of a month with weekly updates. Anyone who does not finish a review buys the book for all other participants for the next month.


Speed Reading

Another effective way to increase the amount you read is speed reading. The logic here is simple - the faster you read, the more books you can enjoy.

*There are many online courses on speed reading, and you can also study on your own using instructional books. But, it is worth noting that this is a serious learning process that will require some effort on your part.



Reading every day is quite attainable, the main thing is to try to make it a habit.
Sometimes, instead of heading for Facebook, try opening a book and soon you won’t even remember why you needed to wander around social media.
And also - don't forget about audiobooks. They are a cool way to take the load off your eyes sometimes and just immerse yourself in the story. Some books are really strong in voice acting.


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