The Ultimate Comeback Kid
By Amy Willis
In this episode, EconTalk host Russ Roberts turns our attention to one of his childhood heroes, Winston Churchill. Historian Andrew Roberts chats with Roberts about his biography, Churchill:Walking With Destiny. The two discuss the craft and process of biography, the quirks and setbacks of Churchill’s amazing life, the importance of taking Churchill in his historical context, and the possibility of revitalizing his reputation.
Who was your childhood hero, and how do they compare to Churchill? How do you learn from your mistakes? What other lessons can you take from the life of this seemingly larger-than-life historical figure? Use the prompts below for further discussion.
1- The conversation includes a good deal of discussion on Churchill’s failures. Which of these examples did you find most surprising, and why? What do you think the most important lesson Churchill learned from his failures was?
2- Did Churchill have the virtue of humility? What’s more important in a leader- humility or confidence? (You may want to revisit this episode with David Deppner.)
3- Why does modern-day England seem to have such unease with its Imperial past according to Roberts? What would Churchill have to say about this? What do you think Churchill would think about Brexit today?
4. Andrew Roberts bemoans that British students today are more likely to believe that Churchill is a fictional rather than historical figure. “We have cut the great men of history out of the school curriculum,” he says. To what extent do you agree with him, and why?