The English-Speaking Union

News and Events

Wednesday, August 17, 2022 at 5 PM (EDT) Churchill at War on the Nile With Dr. James Muller

The River War, Winston Churchill's second book, describes the reconquest of the Sudan from the Islamist regime of the Dervishes by an Anglo-Egyptian army commanded by General Herbert Kitchener, 1896-99. Churchill participated in the campaign as an officer and a war correspondent, charging with the cavalry at the climactic battle of Omdurman. His book, published in two volumes in 1899, is the most impressive of five books he wrote before he entered Parliament in 1901 at the age of 26. Abridged into a single volume three years later, it has been out of print in its unabridged version for more than 120 years. After 32 years of work, Professor James W. Muller has edited the definitive edition of the book, published by St. Augustine's Press, which won the 2021 Literary Award from the International Churchill Society. Professor Muller will tell the story of preparing the new edition and speak about the significance of the book for understanding Churchill's thoughts on empire, war, race and religion.

Register Here

 

James W. Muller is Professor of Political Science at the University of Alaska Anchorage, where he has taught since 1983, and Chairman of the Board of Academic Advisers of the International Churchill Society. Educated at Harvard University and the Ecole Normale Supérieure, Paris, he is a by-fellow of Churchill College, Cambridge, and served as a White House Fellow in 1983–84 and an Academic Visitor at the London School of Economics and Political Science in 1988–89. Professor Muller is editor of The Revival of Constitutionalism (University of Nebraska Press, 1988), Churchill as Peacemaker (Cambridge University Press, 1997), Churchill's "Iron Curtain" Speech Fifty Years Later (University of Missouri Press, 1999), of Churchill's interwar books of essays, Thoughts and Adventures (ISI Books, 2009) and Great Contemporaries (ISI Books, 2012), and of Churchill's earlier book, The River War: An Historical Account of the Reconquest of the Soudan, 2 vols. (St. Augustine's Press, 2021). He is at work on a new edition of Churchill's autobiography, My Early Life: A Roving Commission.


This Program's Signature Cocktail is the Madeira  

For the Happy Hour signature drink, I've decided on Madeira, which Churchill learned to enjoy while Queen Victoria was on the throne. It comes from the Portuguese island of Madeira and is so much loved by people in England (together with its cousin port, from the Portuguese mainland) that a vast trade in spirits developed centuries ago, which eventually extended to the New World as well: Thomas Jefferson purchased, drank, and served vast amounts of Madeira at Monticello. This year marks the 650th anniversary of one of the longest alliances in history, between Britain and Portugal, which Churchill prized and mentioned in his life of his great ancestor John Churchill, who became the first Duke of Marlborough, and also in a speech during the Second World War. As a young war correspondent, Churchill first visited Madeira on October 17, 1899, on his way to South Africa; he returned to the island on January 1–12, 1950, with his wife Clementine, for a New Year's painting holiday. Traditional English brands of the fortified wine imported from Madeira are Blandy's, Leacock's, Miles, etc.; those who prefer an American Madeira can find an excellent one produced by V. Sattui Winery in California's Napa Valley.