From New York Times best-selling author of Destiny of the Republic and The River of Doubt, a thrilling narrative of Winston Churchill's extraordinary and little-known exploits during the Boer War.
At age 24 Winston Churchill was utterly convinced it was his destiny to become prime minister of England one day, despite the fact he had just lost his first election campaign for Parliament. He believed that to achieve his goal, he had to do something spectacular on the battlefield. Despite deliberately putting himself in extreme danger as a British army officer in colonial wars in India and Sudan and as a journalist covering a Cuban uprising against the Spanish, glory and fame had eluded him.
Churchill arrived in South Africa in 1899, valet and crates of vintage wine in tow, there to cover the brutal colonial war the British were fighting with Boer rebels. But just two weeks after his arrival, the soldiers he was accompanying on an armored train were ambushed, and Churchill was taken prisoner. Remarkably, he pulled off a daring escape - but then had to traverse hundreds of miles of enemy territory alone, with nothing but a crumpled wad of cash, four slabs of chocolate, and his wits to guide him.
The story of his escape is incredible enough, but then Churchill enlisted, returned to South Africa, fought in several battles, and ultimately liberated the men with whom he had been imprisoned. Churchill would later remark that this period, "could I have seen my future, was to lay the foundations of my later life".
Millard spins an epic story of bravery, savagery, and chance encounters with a cast of historical characters - including Rudyard Kipling, Lord Kitchener, and Mohandas Gandhi - with whom he would later share the world stage. But Hero of the Empire is more than an adventure story, for the lessons Churchill took from the Boer War would profoundly affect 20th-century history.
"Millard ably weaves a seamless and gripping narrative of the future statesman's early career and involvement in the Boer War.... [V]ivid, entertaining.... A fresh, captivating history of the enduringly colorful Churchill." (Kirkus)
"Biographer Millard 'gets at' her subject by a somewhat out-of-left-field path that leaves the reader satisfied and feeling that her approach is right and perfect.... Millard's rendering of the exciting details of Churchill's heroic exploits result in a magnificently told story." (Booklist)
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Fascinating well-told story of future World Leader
Yes, this book is recommended for anyone who enjoys biographies, especially those readers with the curiosity to find out more about the early life of a well-known public figure.
The description of Churchill and a group of British soldiers being ambushed on a armored train by a group or South African (Boer) soldiers was one of the most interesting and suspenseful episodes in the book.
This book covers a pivotal year of Winston Churchill's young life. The writer includes many interesting details relating to Churchill's life and South Africa's history to fill out, and extend, the central story of this book.