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My Early Life: 1874-1904 (1930)
Amazon.com Amazon.com Review (ISBN 0684823454, Paperback)The voice of a vanished England speaks from the pages of Winston Churchill's evocative memoir of his first 30 years (1874-1904). The young Churchill inhabits a world in which men fight like hell in meaningless colonial wars--India, Egypt, South Africa--soldiering across the imperial map then extending the hand of friendship to their erstwhile enemy as if they were schoolmates at Harrow. Yet Churchill, born into a privileged family, was not an uncritical supporter of the Victorian status quo. He himself loathed Harrow; an especially amusing chapter skewers the school's emphasis on an irrelevant classical education and rote learning. A firm Tory, he considered himself a friend of the working class, and in 1899 campaigned for parliament with a Socialist colleague. Looking back from his vantage point of 1930, Churchill expresses the most attractive values of the English aristocracy--honor, loyalty, fair play--without giving the impression he wants to live in the past. The book's appeal also stems from its magisterial but colloquial prose. Anyone familiar with recordings of Churchill's rousing speeches during Word War II will hear in their minds' ears that growling timbre and unmistakably patrician accent as they read. Though he would have preferred the peace prize, My Early Life offers good evidence that Churchill's 1953 Nobel for literature was aptly awarded. --Wendy Smith
(retrieved from Amazon Mon, 30 Sep 2013 13:27:32 -0400)
Published to coincide with the 40th anniversary of Churchill's death The first twenty-five years of Churchill's life were full of adventure: night marches, cavalry charges, skirmishes on the North West Frontier, escape from a Boer prison camp and a visit to the Cuban War. In what is acknowledged as his best book, his zest for life bursts right out of the narrative. Yet this is more than just an adventure story. It is an elegiac portrayal of the halcyon period of Edwardian content before the First World War, and deeply revealing of one of the dominant personalities of the twentieth century. Here lie the roots of that restless, questing energy and dauntless ambition, born of absent parents and miserable schooling.
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