London Mayor Boris Johnson has recently written a book, where he makes a claim about one of Britain’s most iconic figures that might ruffle a few feathers. Churchill, usually a symbol of stalwart determination and courage, is described as a having “short man syndrome,” and is compared to dictators like Adolf Hitler by Mayor Johnson, reported The Telegraph.
“Who else was 5 foot 6 or under? Some of the biggest tyrants and creeps in world history: Augustus (5 foot 6), Napoleon (ditto), Mussolini (ditto) Stalin (teensy at 5 foot 4). Hitler was only 5 foot 8. All these characters have been associated with the over-compensatory aggression that is sometimes referred to as ‘short man’ syndrome; and there is some evidence, at least on the face of it, that Churchill did, too.”
Johnson continued to make comparisons between infamous dictators and Winston by saying that Churchill was a man plagued by an insufferable ego. Winston literally believed that he was the leading the world’s greatest nation as the world’s greatest man, wrote Boris. Other historians think Winston’s perception of himself was even more inflated — saying that he thought he was literally the “greatest man of all time.” Such gusto, however, did have its benefits for what Winston was able to accomplish as a leader. Johnson writes that Churchill was unshakeable.
“Churchill’s bravery wasn’t something he just put on. It wasn’t a mask he struggled with. He was made like that. The spirit of derring-do just pumped through his veins, like some higher-octane fuel than the one the rest of us run on. Nothing could stop him.”
Dwarfed by his time as the prime minister of England during World War II, Winston’s career as a writer is often forgotten. Many don’t know that Churchill was actually a Pulitzer Prize winner for literature in 1953. In his home, he had a giant team of researchers — fashioned something like a primitive search engine — so that he could constantly be putting together a book of some kind. During his life, he put more words to paper than William Shakespeare and Charles Dickens combined.
That’s not to say Winston’s writing is without its detractors — both today and at the time of its publication. Evelyn Waugh, author of Brideshead Revisited, was particularly critical of Winton’s writing; though this may have been slightly out of jealousy, Churchill was the highest paid journalist in Britain at the time, according to The Telegraph.
“[He is] a master of sham-Augustan prose [with] no specific literary talent but a gift of lucid self-expression. [Churchill’s biography of his father is a] shifty barrister’s case, not a work of literature.”
[Images via Flickr]