'Churchill and the Islamic World' - new book by Warren Dockter
Published: 15 Apr 2015
In this anniversary year - 50 years since the death of Churchill and 70 years since the end of World War II - historian and author Warren Dockter sheds light on an important yet little known aspect of Churchill's life and career.
Winston Churchill was the greatest statesman of the twentieth century, yet he began his career as a colonial policeman in the North-West borderlands of India, and this experience was the beginning of his long relationship with the Islamic world.
Overturning the widely-accepted consensus that Churchill was indifferent to, and even contemptuous of, matters concerning the Middle East, this book unravels Churchill's nuanced understanding of the edges of the British Empire.
Warren Dockter analyses the future Prime Minister's experiences of the East, including his work as Colonial Under-Secretary in the early 1900s, his relations with the Ottomans and conduct during the Dardanelles Campaign of 1915-16, his arguments with David Lloyd-George over Turkey, and his pragmatic support of Syria and Saudi Arabia during World War II.
Challenging the popular depiction of Churchill as an ignorant imperialist when it came to the Middle East, Dockter suggests that his policy making was often progressive when compared to the orientalist prejudices of many of his contemporaries.
Above all, the book shows how Churchill left a lasting legacy in the region, which continues to be felt in Middle Eastern politics and British policy today.