A colleague recently sent me a copy of the above adventures of British politician and Prime Minister Winston Churchill written by author Candice Millard that touched on many historical aspects of the young man’s life primarily during the Boer War in 1899-1900.
The 318 pages of text (Anchor Books, division of Penguin Random House) followed by another 63 pages of Acknowledgements, Notes, Bibliography, Illustration, etc. tell the story of the two years in young Winston’s life at the age of 24 that led him from an unsuccessful political candidate for Parliament to ultimately be the World War II Prime Minister of England where he is commonly recognized as part of the trio of leaders (Stalin and Roosevelt) that saved the world from Nazi and Japanese atrocities.
Churchill was raised in the luxury of the English nobility and he was described by one reviewer as “supremely courageous, flagrantly ambitious, and incredibly lucky” in his two-year adventure in the Boer War in South Africa.
The similarity between the issues of slavery in America and apartheid (racial segregation) in South Africa cannot be dismissed by simply stating that slavery was banned in 1833 in the British Empire while America went through a Civil War in 1861-1865 to finally outlaw the practice in both locales after military conflicts.
His involvement in the conflict, the saga in an Army career that included his capture, and the harrowing escape to freedom appear to be a great tale of fiction in the Ian Fleming type character of James Bond. However, the author’s dedicated adherence to actual history and recorded documents give it an additional twist of reality added to the thousands of pages already written about the late statesman. Churchill has been credited with being the appropriate leader of the British Empire during its darkest hour when England basically was the only citadel of freedom prior to Russia and America entering the conflict that would eventually take the lives of over 60 million men and women.
Fame is often fleeting and Churchill was rewarded in the post war era by eventually being replaced as Prime Minister by Sir Anthony Eden.
However, the coverage of his military experiences in South Africa in 1899-1900 is well worth reading by anyone interested in history.
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You can reach Jerry Summers at firstname.lastname@example.org