Books Peter Orne will Not Read
Peter Orne writes: Reading the black news about Conrad Black and his chief operating officer, David Radler, accused of helping themselves to some $400 million of Hollinger funds from 1996 to 2003 -- some 95 percent of the company's net income -- I recall James Chace's elegant review in The New York Review of Books of Lord Black's 1,000+-page Franklin Delano Roosevelt: Champion of Freedom (2003).
Have any WAISers read it? Believing that good scholarship and good character go hand in hand, I am disinclined to read it now, though author/subject together stoke my fascination in the right's (in this case Lord Black's) increasing love for FDR, even as President Bush tears at his New Deal legacy. Evocations of Reagan and FDR as coequal 20th-century bookends, however, seem to me off-key. FDR virtually created the second half of the 20th-century so that a figure like Reagan could ride atop it, and pull hard to right.
Now I have received "The Character and Greatness of Winston Churchill: Hero In a time of Crisis, by Stephen Mansfield, author of the The Faith of George W. Bush. I have no interest in reading this either, as it opens with a historical inaccuracy. The inscription reads "Ronald Wilson Reagan: Statesman, Warrior, Hero (1911-2004)" Ronald Reagan was also an actor who made several memorable movies in the 1930's, '40s and '50s and served as president of the Screen Actors' Guild. I would be pleased to mail this handsome paperback from Cumberland House to any WAISer who seeking a probably unblemished portrait of Winston Churchill.
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September 26, 2004