The world history stack was filling up, so it did a friendly takeover of the adjacent shelves (medieval history and reading/libraries) and moved British and French history onto that two – shelf stack. Of course that got me thinking about who to put in the roundel above.
I had thought about Winston Churchill for the military history stack a couple of years ago, but after reading Nigel Hamilton's FDR at War series it became clear that although he was on the right side of history, his military management skills were abysmal, and he actively attempted to sabotage Roosevelt's D-Day invasion plans, then rewrote the relevant history in his memoirs. Oh, and he actively resisted giving Britain's colonies the self-government rights we were ostensibly fighting the war for. So I went with George C Marshall.
But if you're just talking about the leading figure in the history of Britain and France, it becomes a much easier choice. While, as I said, Churchill's military skills and instincts were atrocious, in the summer of 1940 he was the sole figure in the British government that was willing to resist Hitler, and had the political skills to bring his country around to his way of thinking. I just finished Eric Larson's The Splendid and the Vile, and it reminded me again of Churchill's gifts.
So Winnie is up there between the pope and a Byzantine emperor – which he would no doubt find completely appropriate. The boys are trying to get me to put the French knight from Monty Python and the Holy Grail on the parapet over him as I did with the Beatles, and I'm still mulling it over.