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From the New York Times best-selling author Candice Millard, this is the gripping true story of one dramatic - and emblematic - year in the early life of Winston Churchill.
At the age of 24, Winston Churchill believed that to achieve his ambition of becoming Prime Minister, he must do something spectacular on the battlefield. Although he had put himself in real danger in colonial wars in India and Sudan and as a journalist covering the Spanish-American War in Cuba, glory and fame had eluded him.
Churchill arrived in South Africa in 1899 to write about the brutal colonial war against the Boers. Just two weeks later, he was taken prisoner. Remarkably, he pulled off a daring escape - but then had to traverse hundreds of miles of enemy territory alone. The story of his escape is extraordinary 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'. Candice Millard tells a magnificent story of bravery, savagery and chance encounters with a cast of historical characters - including Rudyard Kipling, Lord Kitchener and Gandhi - with whom he would later share the world stage and gives us an unexpected perspective on one of the iconic figures in our history.
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By Pieter Reyneke on 11-01-17
The research of this book is the best I heave ever came upon. The story is a balance between facts and a great narrative, making it great to listen to. As a Afrikaner South Afrikaner whose then 19! year old grandfather, Oupa, was wounded near Pretoria and send to Sri Lanka; and whose grandmother, Ouma, survived the concentration camps, this is really as good as it gets. My Ouma’s and Oupa’s families lost everything. My Ouma survived as an only child aged 14, losing her father and 4 siblings, 9 to 12 years old due to the systematic killing of the women and children by the British. They survived rape attempts by blacks and British soldiers I knew them for a short while. They were proud as humans but kind to Englishman and Black. Apartheid was harsh. It is a pity that people that suffered that much could not stop discriminating even after suffering so much. Or was it the unforgiving African way you have to survive Africa even today that shaped their politics? This book is great as an introduction to study the history of the Afrikaner. Herman Gilliomee wrote an excellent book called The Afrikaner. I would suggest it as a great follow up to this book.
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By Jem on 10-10-17
Deviates from the title
I've listened to four hours of the book and there has been very little about Churchill. Instead it deviates in detail to indirectly connected information, for instance - the Boer going off to battle wore a wide brimmed hat with a 'Meerkat tail dark tipped and slightly bushy' and as he walked out the door his wife or mother handed him a linen sack filled with food etc etc.
Perhaps these details may go on to show a direct effect on the making of Churchill but as the book is only 10 hours long I'm going to exchange it for one that sticks to the man himself after all there is plenty enough material to fill a book or two.