BOOK REVIEWS: Lloyd George or Churchill: Who Was the Greatest British Statesman? Lloyd George & Churchill: Rivals for Greatness, by Richard Toye. Published by Macmillan, Pounds 25. Reviewed by Paul Dale

The Birmingham Post (England), April 7, 2007 | Go to article overview

BOOK REVIEWS: Lloyd George or Churchill: Who Was the Greatest British Statesman? Lloyd George & Churchill: Rivals for Greatness, by Richard Toye. Published by Macmillan, Pounds 25. Reviewed by Paul Dale


Byline: Paul Dale

Churchill and Lloyd George, political giants of the 20th century, or indeed of any century - but who was the greatest?

Author Richard Toye doesn't quite answer that question in his new biographical study, which appropriately enough is subtitled Rivals for Greatness. But we are left in little doubt that Mr Toye believes Lloyd George's outstanding achievements between 1906 and 1918 -old age pensions, national insurance, his Great War premiership - have been somewhat forgotten in the mists of time, eclipsed in the memory of many historians by Churchill's Second World War heroics.

Both Lloyd George and Churchill were political mavericks. It is difficult to see, given today's 24-hour media intrusion, how either could have held high office for long at the beginning of this century. A modern Lloyd George would never have survived the Marconi scandal, where he appeared to use insider information to cash in on rising share values. Similarly, his tangled love life would not pass muster today.

There were no sex scandals in Churchill's cupboard, but political mishaps a-plenty.

When he became prime minister in 1940, Churchill could look back on a less than successful career. A combative Home Secretary, who turned up at the Siege of Sydney Street with a gun, he was moved sideways for being "too military" in his manner. …

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BOOK REVIEWS: Lloyd George or Churchill: Who Was the Greatest British Statesman? Lloyd George & Churchill: Rivals for Greatness, by Richard Toye. Published by Macmillan, Pounds 25. Reviewed by Paul Dale
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