Selecting Texts

Yesterday I noted the way a Chautauqua scholar may find useful material just because the antennae are out and opportunities present themselves.  The major readings to learn the ins and out of a person’s life cannot be so haphazardly developed – still, curious, happy accidents do play a role.

Since my assigned  Chautauqua theme is seeing America through the eyes of its historic visitors, I began my reading search online with a Google search for “Winston Churchill America”.  I immediately discovered the writings of Churchill’s “official” biographer Martin Gilbert.  His monumental biography is eight volumes and over 9000 pages!  A collection that is far too overwhelming to be my first read, BUT he also wrote Churchill and America.

Bingo!  A source from a noted and highly respected scholar that specifically addresses the focus of my presentation, and it is available in the collection of my neighborhood library.  I love it.

A perusal of the text showed it would form the core of my essay development and actual Chautauqua program.  But before I explored it in detail I wanted a broader background knowledge of Churchill.

My neighborhood library also had Pearson’s The Private Lives of Winston Churchill and Chuchill’s granddaughter Celia Sandys’ Churchill – Wanted Dead or Alive, the tale of Churchill’s most exciting adventure as a young man.

I also went to my favorite local used bookstore and found Rubin’s Forty Ways to Look at Winston Churchill.  I love this book!  Why?  It is a collection of forty essays on the contradictory nature of Churchill’s personality.  As reflected by its subtitle “A Brief Account of a Long Life” this book explores the antitheses that Churchill are evident in the points of view of the nearly 700 biographers who have explored his life.  This text became my first cover-to-cover read as its author discusses the contradictions by, in effect, summarizing a broad cross section of the Churchill canon.

Tomorrow I’ll report on using multimedia to enrich a Chautauqua scholar’s unique understanding of the character.

Note – I noticed that yesterday’s posting came out with today’s date, so I adjusted time setting for the blog to avoid this error in the future – hope I got that change done correctly.