There comes a time every fortnight or so when I finish a book I am reading and wonder what to read next. This time I picked a book my dad bought a long time back titled “The Book of Insults” by Nancy McPhee. Believe me, this is a gem of a book.
If you want a comprehensive list of the greatest, wittiest and nastiest invectives that have spewed out of the mouths of the well known and even the not so well known, this book is it. From Winston Churchill to Charles Dickens, from George Bernard Shaw to Benjamin Disraeli, The Book of Insults has quoted all the masters who have often used their trenchant wit to devastating effect.
To let you judge for yourselves whether this is true or not, I will let you have a sample.
Lady Astor: Winston, if you were my husband, I should flavour your coffee with poison.
Winston Churchill: Madam, if I were your husband I should drink it.
Bessie Braddock, MP: Winston, you’re drunk!
Churchill: Bessie, you’re ugly. And tomorrow morning, I shall be sober.
The Earl of Sandwich: Egad, sir, I do not know whether you will die on the gallows or of the pox.
John Wilkes: That will depend, my Lord, on whether I embrace your principles or your mistress.