Just the Best Literature

Hosted by Dennis Leap

Just the Best Literature inspires you to not only read printed books, but to read only the best books. Besides books, host Dennis Leap will lead discussions on other current literature such as essays and important articles.

#317: Young Winston Visits the Vanished World, Part 2

Aired Monday, September 18, 2023   ·   08:00 AM CDT   ·   28 minutes

Host Dennis Leap finishes discussing key highlights from Chapter 7, “Hounslow.” Winston discusses the beauty of the Deepdene House and Gardens, where he mingled with the wealthy and elite members of the Army and Parliament. It was at Deepdene that he learned the importance of punctuality—after showing up late for a dinner with the Prince of Wales. In Chapter 8, Winston heads to India. As he disembarks from the ship, he falls and dislocates his shoulder—which later in life proved to be a blessing. “One must never forget,” he wrote, “when misfortunes come that it is quite possible they are saving one from something much worse; or when you make some great mistake, it may easily serve you better than the best-advised decision.”

#316: Young Winston Visits the Vanished World, Part 1

Aired Monday, September 11, 2023   ·   08:00 AM CDT   ·   27 minutes

Host Dennis Leap discusses key highlights from Chapter 7, “Hounslow,” from Winston Churchill’s memoir My Early Years 1874–1904. As this chapter opens, 21-year-old Winston has completed his calvary training and has 6 months leave before moving on to India where his regiment is scheduled to remain for 12 to 14 years. Churchill reminisces about this time period in Hounslow, a choice district in London, writing, “I gave myself over to the amusements of the London season. In those days, English society still existed in its old form.” This podcast unveils the beauty and power of the early British Empire.

#315: Young Winston Comes Under Gunfire

Aired Monday, August 28, 2023   ·   08:00 AM CDT   ·   28 minutes

On Nov. 30, 1895, after joining the Spanish Army’s fight against the Cuban rebels, 21-year-old Winston Churchill finally got his wish. He was in the jungle gnawing on a skinny chicken leg for breakfast when a volley of gunfire rang out from the edge of the forest. A bullet passed by his head, killing a soldier's horse. Watching the horse slowly bleed led him to write, “I began to take a more thoughtful view of our enterprise.” Host Dennis Leap finishes his discussion of Chapter 6 with more anecdotes from young Winston.

#314: Young Winston Wants to Go to War, Part 2

Aired Monday, August 7, 2023   ·   08:00 AM CDT   ·   27 minutes

Host Dennis Leap discusses key highlights from Chapter 6 “Cuba” in Winston Churchill’s memoir My Early Years 1874–1904. Winston is 21 years old: Having now been trained as a soldier, he believes he needs a dress rehearsal of a real war. He turns his eyes to Cuba where the Spanish are at war with native rebels seeking to overthrow the government. He writes: “Here was a place of vital action.”

#313: Young Winston Wants to Go to War, Part 1

Aired Monday, July 31, 2023   ·   08:30 AM CDT   ·   28 minutes

Host Dennis Leap discusses key highlights from Chapter 5, “The Fourth Hussars,” in Winston Churchill’s memoir My Early Years 1874–1904. As this chapter opens, Winston is 21 years old. Having graduated from Sandhurst with honors, Winston is ready to take his place in the world. Colonel Brabazon, a family friend and commander of the Fourth Hussars, requests Winston come under his command. Winston is excited for such a move. Filled with a desire to go to war, Winston must learn to survive personal tragedies.

#312: Winston’s Early Soldier Days

Aired Monday, July 10, 2023   ·   08:00 AM CDT   ·   30 minutes

Host Dennis Leap with special guest Grant Turgeon discuss Chapters 4, 5 and 6 of My Early Life. Entering the Sandhurst military school gave Winston a new start in his young life. He wrote, “I was no longer handicapped by past neglect of Latin, French or mathematics. We had now to learn fresh things and we all started equal.” They show how Winston Churchill truly began to blossom as a strong young man with opportunities in a setting that enhanced his talents.

#311: The Deep Thoughts of Young Winston

Aired Monday, July 3, 2023   ·   08:00 AM CDT   ·   30 minutes

Host Dennis Leap and special guest Grant Turgeon continue discussing Winston S. Churchill’s most charming memoir My Early Life 1874–1904. They focus on the first three chapters, which show how deeply Winston Churchill thought as a young boy. He definitely had an understanding of politics and politicians. He recognizes that he was a “troublesome boy” and that he resisted educational subjects in which he had no interest. He hated mathematics, Latin and Greek classics. He loved French, English and poetry. Remember, the list of books planned for this series is featured on Twitter @JBliterature1.

#310: Child of the Victorian Age

Aired Monday, June 26, 2023   ·   08:00 AM CDT   ·   35 minutes

Host Dennis Leap, with special guest Grant Turgeon, begin discussing Winston S. Churchill’s most charming memoir: My Early Life 1874–1904. They focus on William Manchester’s 1996 introduction to this book, which provides key additional insights behind the events Churchill recorded. As a reminder, the list of books planned for this series is featured on Twitter @JBliterature1.

#309: Winston Churchill: Soldier, Statesman, Writer, Reader

Aired Monday, June 19, 2023   ·   08:00 AM CDT   ·   26 minutes

Host Dennis Leap introduces the new JBL series dedicated to the life and accomplishments of Sir Winston S. Churchill. During the British Black Lives Matter riots over the death of George Floyd, Winston Churchill’s statue in Parliament Square was desecrated with red paint, calling him a racist. At the same time, instructors at Churchill College at Cambridge planned a year-long program titled "Churchill, Race and Empire" to critically examine the college’s founder Winston Churchill. Because of family opposition to the program, the project was soon squashed by college executives. While Winston Churchill certainly had human flaws, he also had a sterling life of great accomplishments. Listeners are invited to read the best books about him, the books he wrote, and the books he loved to read. The list of books planned for this series is featured on Twitter @JBliterature1.

#308: Understanding Melville's Use of the Bible

Aired Monday, June 12, 2023   ·   08:00 AM CDT   ·   26 minutes