“Allister Vale and John Scadding have written the definitive account of Churchill's illnesses. Their expertise as physicians has been brought to bear on the interpretation of the evidence, much of it available for the first time…Vale and Scadding have produced a well-researched and highly readable book that will be essential reading for Churchillians and other historians of the period, as it provides so much new material and many new insights. Clinicians and general readers alike who wish to understand the impact of illness on arguably the greatest leader of the twentieth century will also find the book of great interest.”

Randolph Churchill
Randolph Churchill From the Foreword

“Winston Churchill’s Illnesses is a tour de force of scholarship. Vale and Scadding have conducted exhaustive research and brought to light much previously unpublished material. Their meticulous and scientific analysis of Winston Churchill’s health makes this one of the most historically significant and important books ever published in the field of Churchill studies.”

David Freeman
David Freeman Editor Finest Hour, Journal of the International Churchill Society.

“With so many books published yearly about Sir Winston Churchill the question is bound to arise: is there room for one more? The answer on this occasion is most definitely ‘yes’…The book is written in an engaging narrative that can be understood by anyone…There can be no doubt that this is the definitive work on Churchill’s many illnesses” Excerpted from a review in the Women in War Group Newsletter.

Cecilia Lee Churchill Biographer
Jean, Lady Hamilton

“A Vital Medical Contribution by Doctors Vale and Scadding…Unreservedly recommended…The copious index is exemplary, giving the names of diseases and drugs as well as people and places. Finally, one must not forget the 16-page central section of plates on glossy paper. This offers excellent, uncommon photographs of the many physicians mentioned in the text, besides familiar pictures of Churchill. I cannot recommend this book more. No serious Churchill scholar will now be able routinely to quote Lord Moran as the final source on Churchill’s health. On that subject, scholars must henceforth acknowledge the decisive caveats introduced by this fine new work.” Excerpted from a review for Churchill Project-Hillsdale College.

Antoine Capet Co-Editor of Winston Churchill: At War and Thinking of War
Antoine Capet
Winton Churchill at war and thinking of war before 1939

“Vale and Scadding’s book is now likely to serve as the definitive record of Churchill as a patient. It is equally worth reading as an account of Churchill the man, with all his fierceness and proneness to tears, his inability to take advice and his willingness to forgive, his mischievousness and his generosity, and most of all his vulnerability and bravery.” Excerpted from a review in Postgraduate Medical Journal

John Launer
John Launer
Ronald Cohen Bibliographer

“In this meticulously researched volume, Allister Vale and John Scadding provide a uniquely comprehensive and readable account of Churchill’s many medical problems, from childhood to his terminal illness, set in the context of his life as one of the greatest statesmen of the twentieth century. Pneumonia threatened Churchill’s life on several occasions and in his later decades he suffered multiple strokes; his ability to continue in high office during these illnesses was exceptional, aided by some of the most distinguished specialists of their time. Drawing on many medical and non-medical sources, the clinical, political and personal aspects of his many illnesses are woven seamlessly together. A superbly rounded account of the great man emerges in a most engaging narrative.”

Andrew Roberts
Andrew Roberts Author of Churchill: Walking with Destiny
Churchill: Walking with Destiny

During World War II, Churchill travelled 110,000 miles outside the United Kingdom, very often in noisy and freezing unpressurized airplane cabins, sometimes within the radius of Luftwaffe fighters, as late as the age of 70. All that was brave enough, but as Allister Vale and John Scadding’s superb and revelatory book Winston Churchill’s Illnesses proves, he also took his life into his hands on a very regular basis in the medical sphere, too…They break their absorbing and deeply researched book up into 33 chapters, most of them dedicated to the major incidents of illness that Churchill suffered between his first bout of pneumonia aged twelve in 1886 and his terminal illness in January 1965. He suffered concussion, a serious shoulder injury, appendicitis, a near-fatal car crash, enteric fever, chest pains, four more serious bouts of pneumonia, a hernia, two strokes, and cerebrovascular disease—and that was all before he retired as prime minster in April 1955. It is astounding that he lived to see his 90th birthday. In two concluding chapters of this tremendously important contribution to Churchillian studies, the authors minutely examine the evidence that Churchill suffered from what he called his "black dog" of depression or from alcoholism. They put forward all the supposed symptoms and theories that have been adduced over the years and conclude that it was a myth that Churchill was a manic depressive. And although he drank a lot, 'there is no evidence that Churchill ever met the necessary criteria for the diagnosis of Alcohol Use Disorder…. [H]e was not an alcoholic.'

Andrew Roberts Claremont Review of Books
Claremont Review of Books

“Vale and Scadding have written the most detailed and definitive account of Churchill’s health with the forensic skills of two distinguished physicians who have mined all available sources and integrated them in the light of both contemporary medical practice and the practice of the early 21st century. The doctors and nurses who attended Churchill come alive. This is far from a medical text book. It exposes the resilience and courage of one man who defied these medical challenges and continued to serve and lead his country until the end of his premiership in 1955.” Excerpted from Blog: Medical Humanities and from Finest Hour Extras

Adrian Crisp
Adrian Crisp Fellow of Churchill College, Cambridge and Chair, Churchill Archives Committee

“Winston Churchill’s Illnesses 1886 – 1965: possibly the most-meticulously researched, best-documented and authoritative medical histories of any great figure ever written, certainly of any known to me.” Excerpted from an article in Takimag

Theodore Dalrymple
Theodore Dalrymple

“Much has been written about Churchill’s health and much has been rumour and speculation. This is the definitive work on the subject, written by experts and grounded in the evidence.”

Alan Packwood
Allen Packwood OBE Author of How Churchill Waged War
How Churchill Waged War

“Absolutely thorough, reliable, wonderfully researched”

Ronald Cohen
Ronald Cohen MBE Bibliographer of Sir Winston Churchill
Ronald Cohen Bibliographer

“…is the definitive history of Churchill’s health from his first bout of ill-health to his terminal illness…Vale and Scadding are both themselves physicians and their training and experience is evident in the interpretations and judgements made on the medical issues discussed in the volume…the book is extensively researched and well-written…Winston Churchill’s Illnesses 1886-1965 is the authoritative account of the widely discussed subject of Churchill’s medical history." Excerpted from A Blog on Winston Churchill

Brad Tolppanen
Brad Tolppanen Author of Churchill in North America
Churchill in North America

“In Winston Churchill’s Illnesses, readers will be delighted to discover the definitive book on the health of one of the most important patients in modern history. We are treated to this magnum opus by two outstanding medical professionals, who have labored for more than three decades to get the story and tell it right—a story that many thought could never be told… By their scholarship, Vale and Scadding have given us a gift. Churchill’s courage, grace, and humor during times of illness provide an example of true greatness to which we can all aspire in our everyday lives." Excerpted from a review in Finest Hour

Gail Rosseau
Gail Rosseau Finest Hour

“Churchill’s illnesses are placed in a political and historical context in this volume, providing readers with fresh insights into this remarkable twentieth-century political giant. The authors have produced a fine work of scholarship and deserve to be congratulated for their herculean efforts in writing this volume.” Excerpted from Hektoen International: A Journal of Medical Humanities

Arpan Banerjee
Arpan K. Banerjee

“The whole narrative is skilfully interwoven between landmarks of Churchill’s political career, the ongoing war campaigns and the inevitable travel, whether for work, pleasure or convalescence. Vale and Scadding have clearly ensured accuracy in minute detail by triangulating references wherever possible: from Sir Winston himself, the Churchill Archives, family members, political colleagues, his secretaries, medical specialists and those who nursed him. The subtle, and sometimes not so subtle, differences between these accounts are both revealing and intriguing… The book is a literary tour de force and whether the reader is medically qualified or not, it is a compelling read.” Excerpted from a book review by Dr Neil Dewhurst, Past-President, Royal College of Physicians of Edinburgh (JRCPE 2022; 52:274)

Neil Dewhurst
Neil Dewhurst