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His legendary qualities of leadership, personal drive and commitment to a cause were all very much honed in his early years when military life influenced his thinking and demeanor.
Did the Army make a man of the boy? Did it prepare him for spirited leadership? And what faults and failings did his military life identify to Churchill himself and his contemporaries?
This most comprehensive examination yet of his soldiering career is destined to become a core work in Churchillian studies.
Posted April 13, 2008
In the American mind, the career of Winston Churchill begins in 1940, but in fact he had many careers, and in all of them, he demonstrated courage and a prodigious amount of energy. In Winston Churchill: Soldier, Douglas S. Russell focuses on Churchill¿s early life as a gentleman and lieutenant in the service of Victorian England. It was, by any standard, an impressive service and Russell takes us through all the key events, illuminating them with informative and entertaining prose. In a five-year period, Churchill saw combat in four countries, won several decorations including the Spanish Order of Military Merit, became fabulously famous as an escaped prisoner of war, wrote five books, and gained a seat in Parliament. He was not yet twenty-six. It is an intimidating task to relate the events of such a life, and it is made more challenging by knowing who your subject was to become. Russell¿s achievement is admirable. He begins with Churchill¿s childhood¿it is well to remember that the future Prime Minister was born forty years before the First World War¿and takes us through his days at the Royal Military College at Sandhurst before going on to his service in the 4th Hussars and combat on an international stage. (It is difficult for an American to picture Churchill fighting in Cuba.) Russell succeeds in showing the best traits of a biographer in this volume. He is engaged with his subject and yet he retains a scholarly distance. It is not easy to maintain such balance with someone who looms as large in our minds as Churchill.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.