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Churchill Wanted Dead or Alive (1999)

de Celia Sandys

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1052198,085 (3.5)1
In this stirring biography of a brash, resourceful Churchill in his early twenties, Celia Sandys retraces her illustrious grandfather's path through South Africa as she reconstructs his adventures during nine months of the Anglo-Boer War at the end of the last century. She visits the campsites where the bold war correspondent and ready soldier bivouacked, the battlefields where he skirmished and fought, the site of his incarceration in Pretoria as the Boers' prisoner of war; she follows the route of his daring escape to the Mozambique border.Using both British and South African sources, which alternately reveal the young combatant as a courageous ally or formidable foe, Sandys narrates the heart-stopping exploits of a Churchill that history has largely forgotten. Yet his heroics in Africa thrust him to fame on the international stage, and within three months of his return to England, at the age of twenty-five, Churchill became a member of Parliament.Churchill Wanted Dead or Alive offers both a multifaceted portrait of the youthful adventurer who would become England's legendary prime minister and an exciting tale of the turbulen… (més)

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When people talk about Sir Winston Churchill they usually talk about his leadership during WWII. And rightly so, but the beginnings of his greatness started long before he became prime minister of England.

Here in this volume his adventures in the Boer war are discussed at length. He spent a great deal of the war as a correspondent. As a civilian he showed great bravery under fire when a scouting train was ambushed and was responsible for saving the lives of several men and rescuing the train engine when he took charge of the situation. He was able to return to active duty and retain his role as a correspondent, even though that was against the rules. An exception was made, he only had to agree to being in an unpaid status while serving.

He was captured and imprisoned for some time and escaped. Having adventures was not enough though. He also wrote about them, published several books, managed to support himself, and kept his eye on the goal of running for political office one day. He had a sense of destiny, patriotism, and a strong will to win when things were difficult. His standing as aristocracy may have opened some doors for him but he made his own way. He was more than likely an extrovert.

This book includes the results of interviews of the children of people that Churchill met in South Africa and the stories that they told. They are well woven into the overall pace of the narrative and add to the story rather than being mere asides.

Churchill had a lifetime of experience by his 26th birthday.
( )
  Chris_El | Mar 19, 2015 |
I enjoyed reading this; it serves two purposes; first to illuminate Churchill's escapades in the Boer War and secondly to put the war into a better historical context - for me at least.
  xtofersdad | Aug 16, 2008 |
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In this stirring biography of a brash, resourceful Churchill in his early twenties, Celia Sandys retraces her illustrious grandfather's path through South Africa as she reconstructs his adventures during nine months of the Anglo-Boer War at the end of the last century. She visits the campsites where the bold war correspondent and ready soldier bivouacked, the battlefields where he skirmished and fought, the site of his incarceration in Pretoria as the Boers' prisoner of war; she follows the route of his daring escape to the Mozambique border.Using both British and South African sources, which alternately reveal the young combatant as a courageous ally or formidable foe, Sandys narrates the heart-stopping exploits of a Churchill that history has largely forgotten. Yet his heroics in Africa thrust him to fame on the international stage, and within three months of his return to England, at the age of twenty-five, Churchill became a member of Parliament.Churchill Wanted Dead or Alive offers both a multifaceted portrait of the youthful adventurer who would become England's legendary prime minister and an exciting tale of the turbulen

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