Hero of the Empire

Hero of the Empire

The Boer War, A Daring Escape, and the Making of Winston Churchill

Book - 2016
Average Rating:
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At age twenty-four, 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 must 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.
Publisher: New York :, Doubleday,, [2016]
Edition: First edition
ISBN: 9780385535731
0385535732
Characteristics: xi, 381 pages : illustrations ; 25 cm

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p
patcarstensen
Jul 13, 2017

Who would have guessed that Winston Churchill had adventures as exciting as a James Bond novel.

b
bulltweed71
Feb 06, 2017

Millard helps to fill the gap many biographers miss. Churchills activities in the boer war catapulted him into the nations eye and into parliament. It was to be the beginning of his rise through political and governmental greatness to culminate in his role as foil to hitlers ambitions. A very very good read. Well done.

c
cknightkc
Oct 25, 2016

For me HERO OF THE EMPIRE is a rousing success! Local Kansas City, KS author Candice Millard has a real gift for making non-fiction a pleasure to read. Impeccably researched, this narrative focuses on a pivotal episode in the life of the young Winston Churchill as prisoner and later escapee during the Boer War of South Africa in 1899. Even if you’re not a fan of “war stories”, you can’t help but appreciate the insights you gain into the “larger-than-life” personality of Churchill, as well as, the background and history of the region and its peoples. I was so totally absorbed reading this, it was hard for me to put the book down.

m
MelatSCPL
Oct 14, 2016

This, her latest offering, proves that the high praise Ms. Millard has received is totally justified. Hero of the Empire is history that reads like an Indiana Jones adventure; a real 'page turner'. I finished the book, knowing a lot more about Winston Churchill, but wanting to know more about the run-up to the Boer War. While Millard tries to maintain the historian's professional detachment, she hints that the Boer War (seen as a just cause at the time) was anything but.

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fjvalentin
Oct 11, 2016

This is another Candice Millard excellent book. It is about a young Winston Churchill and his experiences in South Africa during the Boer War. Her research is well done. I particularly like her writing style. As in her other books, River of Doubt and Destiny of the Republic, they read like a novel rather than non-fiction. The only reason I didn't give it five stars was that the Boer War didn't stir me as much as the settings in her previous books.

i
IanS_Librarian
Oct 07, 2016

Millard delivers another extremely readable book about the fascinating history of an important individual. Like her previous "Destiny of the Republic," her writing style is engaging, the pace is perfect and her way of connecting events that happened over 100 years ago with the modern reader is skilled.

In this book she tells the story about Winston Churchill the war correspondent. He covered the Boer War around the turn of the 20th century. I learned a lot about the Boer War (which has always been a mystery to me) and Churchill before his political career. A great read.

I look forward to seeing Millard at Southdale Library on Oct. 17 at 7 p.m. as part of the Club Book series.

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