Adrian Fort (Law, 1966)
The dramatic story of Lord Cherwell, Churchill’s closest friend and adviser for a quarter of a century. He was also a Christ Church don, international tennis star, and scientist of world renown. As a young man in Germany he was admired by the world’s leading physicists, including Einstein, whom he introduced to Oxford, and he then found fame in England by acts of suicidal courage in order to solve the lethal problem of aircraft spin. A very rich man, he moved in pre-war upper-class circles and entered the political arena by standing for Parliament in Oxford. His arrogance and wit upset many colleagues: of one don at the House he said “I would like to castrate him – not that it would make any difference”, while – paraphrasing Hobbes – he dismissed one of Oxford’s most celebrated philosophers as ‘nasty, brutish and long-winded.’ Yet as Churchill’s scientific adviser he played a crucial part in the story of Britain’s atom bomb, the V-weapon battles, and the saturation bombing of Germany – a saga which arose out of a conversation at dinner at the House – and he remained at Churchill’s right hand through the most desperate years in the country’s history.
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