Churchill review – the character behind the caricature

British hero or imperial villain? The folly of such debates is laid bare by this richly nuanced historical study of the former PM

There was a time, not long ago, when you could strut happily through life knowing almost nothing about Churchill beyond the cigar and coat, the fact that all biffer babies look like him and that he was played by John Lithgow in The Crown. And that he won the war with bulldog spirit (though the coat probably helped). In recent times, however, something of the lie has been given to this simple, simplified image of the wartime leader – to the point that his statue was protected by a ring of Met officers during a recent protest against police violence.

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