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Author Philip White On Winston Churchill's Famous "Iron Curtain" Speech at MNU’s Mabee Library on April 19

Few people realize that the term "Iron Curtain" was first introduced to the world in a famous speech by Winston Churchill at a small college in Missouri. Author Philip White has captured the details of what Churchill called “The most important speech of my career,” in Our Supreme Task: How Winston Churchill’s Iron Curtain Speech Defined the Cold War Alliance.

            White will discuss his just released book at MidAmerica Nazarene University on Thursday, April 19 at 6:30 p.m. in Mabee Library. Free and open to the public, the event will include a book signing and light refreshments. For questions call Mabee Library at (913) 971-3485.


White, who is a 2004 alumnus of MNU, with a Bachelor of Arts in English, is a writer, and guest lectures at MNU. He is a regular contributor to The Historical Society publications and his business writing has been recognized with awards from the Public Relations Society of America and the International Association of Business Communicators. The Olathe, Kan. resident has received positive reviews on the historical significance of his work, with Kirkus Reviews calling it “a small slice of history charmingly retold” and the Washington Times dubbing White “a historian to watch.” White recently appeared on the Fox & Friends show on Fox News and on KCTV5, and will soon be featured on C-Span Book TV.

At one moment, Winston Churchill was sitting across the negotiating table from Stalin at Potsdam; the next he’d been voted out of office back in England. Out of power, Churchill was keenly aware of the perils of the postwar world and needed a public platform to voice a growing fear: that Communism posed as great a threat to freedom and democracy as did Nazism. Unexpectedly an invitation arrived to speak at the most unlikely venue-Westminster college in Fulton, Missouri. And with it, a postscript from President Harry Truman, who promised to introduce Churchill if he accepted this engagement in Truman’s home state. Realizing his chance had come, Churchill informed Truman and Westminster College president Franc “Bullet” McCluer of his acceptance.

            Our Supreme Task follows Churchill to New York in January 1946, down the Eastern Seaboard and then to Cuba, the White House, and then with President Truman, to Missouri to deliver his speech “The Sinews of Peace,” now known as the “Iron Curtain Speech.” At the same time, the audacious Bullet McCluer frantically worked to prepare his small town to host two of the world’s most recognizable figures and an influx of 20,000 visitors.

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