‘Completely engrossing’ Andrew Roberts
From The New York Times bestselling 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 twenty-four, 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.