[FOUNTAIN]The nation's loss of wordsThe Nobel prize Winston Churchill received in 1953 was not a peace prize but a prize in literature. The Nobel Committee at the award ceremony said that Churchill's memoir was an impressive work of humanism that beautifully depicted the life experience of a great politician. But critics at that time said that it was a strange case in which an active prime minister received the Nobel Prize in Literature, and called the Nobel prize politically contaminated.
Whatever critics say, Churchill's memoir seems to have deserved the praise of the Nobel Committee. The memoir starts with an impressive preface. The historical consciousness of the hero of World War II is simple and straightforward. Churchill writes that the future depends on reflecting on the past. He also confesses that he did his best to find truth, which was an agonizing process in which he had to present opinions that oppose the people he respected. The memoir is logical and graceful. Churchill's short description of the young Adolf Hitler, in particular, is outstanding. He makes us realize the insanity of Hitler and provides us with insights on Nazism.
Churchill's writing capabilities and insights were developed while he was working as a soldier and war correspondent. He volunteered to join the war in Cuba in 1895, also working as a war correspondent for the Daily Telegraph to earn money. He was more popular for his coverage of the war than for his soldiering. Churchill later earned a reputation as a war correspondent. Whenever he returned to his home at the end of a war, he published his reports. The crystallization of those reports is the memoir Churchill wrote as prime minister.
In a recent BBC poll of the British public, Churchill was "the greatest Briton." His great memoir must have influenced the public's choice. Throughout the memoir, Churchill shows his leadership and patriotism, historical consciousness and eloquent English.
A recent remark by the long-time political boss, Kim Jong-pil, honorary head of the United Liberal Democrats, is regrettable. Last Monday Mr. Kim announced he would not publish his memoir. As a young soldier in the revolution and a leader of the May 16 military coup in 1961 and as a politician who has been at the center of history for more than 40 years, Mr. Kim has the experience and insights to document the story of modern Korea. He is also a good writer. His decision is sad news.
The writer is popular culture news editor of the JoongAng Ilbo.
by Oh Byung-sang