Young Titan: The Making of Winston Churchill

Michael Shelden

Young Titan: The Making of Winston Churchill

Most people today think of Winston Churchill as simply the wartime British bulldog - a jowly, cigar-chomping old fighter demanding blood, sweat and tears from his nation. But the well-known story of the elder statesman has overshadowed an earlier part of his life that is no less fascinating, and that has never before been fully told. It is a tale of romance, ambition, intrigue and glamour in Edwardian London, when the city was the centre of the world, and when its best and brightest were dazzled by the meteoric rise to power of a young politician with a famous name and a long aristocratic background. Winston Churchill gave his maiden speech in Parliament at the very beginning of King Edward VII's reign in 1901 when he was only 26. By the time the guns of August 1914 swept away the Edwardian idyll, he was First Lord of the Admiralty - the civilian head of the largest navy in the world. In the intervening years, he often cut a dashing figure, romancing several society beauties, tangling with some of the most powerful political figures of his time, championing major social reforms, becoming one of the leading orators of the day, publishing six books, supervising an armed assault on anarchists, and working harder perhaps than anyone else to prepare his nation for war. 3.1 out of 5 based on 5 reviews
Young Titan: The Making of Winston Churchill

Omniscore:

Classification Non-fiction
Genre Biography, History
Format
Pages
RRP
Date of Publication March 2013
ISBN 978-1471113222
Publisher Simon & Schuster
 

Most people today think of Winston Churchill as simply the wartime British bulldog - a jowly, cigar-chomping old fighter demanding blood, sweat and tears from his nation. But the well-known story of the elder statesman has overshadowed an earlier part of his life that is no less fascinating, and that has never before been fully told. It is a tale of romance, ambition, intrigue and glamour in Edwardian London, when the city was the centre of the world, and when its best and brightest were dazzled by the meteoric rise to power of a young politician with a famous name and a long aristocratic background. Winston Churchill gave his maiden speech in Parliament at the very beginning of King Edward VII's reign in 1901 when he was only 26. By the time the guns of August 1914 swept away the Edwardian idyll, he was First Lord of the Admiralty - the civilian head of the largest navy in the world. In the intervening years, he often cut a dashing figure, romancing several society beauties, tangling with some of the most powerful political figures of his time, championing major social reforms, becoming one of the leading orators of the day, publishing six books, supervising an armed assault on anarchists, and working harder perhaps than anyone else to prepare his nation for war.

Reviews

The Sunday Telegraph

James Owen

Surprisingly revealing ... if he does not quite make his case that those years were crucial in shaping the statesman who had to contend with Hitler, it is instructive to be reminded how very different the perception of him was then. Promoted to the Home Office in his mid-thirties, after deserting the Tories to join their Liberal opponents, he was widely mistrusted and disliked both within Parliament and without. For Churchill in the decade before the First World War was a firebrand, a romantic in politics and in love.

22/03/2013

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The Sunday Times

Max Hastings

This is a good book until the author reaches 1914, when he seems to lose interest, perfunctorily dismissing Churchill’s role as first lord of the admiralty in the small military fiasco of Antwerp and the much bigger one of Gallipoli. He makes no serious attempt to summarise his subject’s achievement and predicament in 1915, the end of his chosen span.

17/03/2013

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The Washington Post

Jonathan Yardley

This is a twice-told tale, though none the less stirring for its familiarity. But the years about which Shelden writes have their own importance and their own color, and they tend to get lost in conventional Churchill biographies, particularly the overwrought ones that zero in on the heroic World War II years.

15/03/2013

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The Guardian

Bernard Porter

[An] easy and entertaining read ... The American readership it is probably mainly directed at — the publisher is American, every American link in Churchill's early life is brought out, and Brits don't need to be told that Dundee is in Scotland — won't go far wrong with it. What precisely it tells us about "the Making of Winston Churchill" — the book's subtitle — isn't, however, made clear

16/03/2013

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The Independent

Sonia Purnell

What is undoubtedly true, as Michael Shelden's welcome account of the early years of Churchill's career makes plain, is that he was someone of formidable talent, but was also in the early years naïve, impetuous and, that worst of political sins, unlucky. Yet unlike today's generation of political leaders, Churchill benefited from the decades of tough political and personal apprenticeship prior to finally becoming prime minister, aged 65, in 1940.

16/03/2013

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