I guess sometimes you just know. Winston Churchill just knew he was going to be the prime minister of England, and early on he set our to show a nation that he was right for that job.
For Churchill, that meant joining the armed forces and looking for trouble. He found it, and that is the subject of Candice Millard’s “Hero of the Empire,” about the young and not-to-be-deterred Churchill.
One would be hard-pressed to believe a story such as this could happen today. The means to leadership posts are not nearly as exotic or fraught-filled as was his.
So much written of Churchill understandably comes from the war days. Yet to read of his youth is a tale of a different world, even from that of the war itself.
This was real danger he sought, undertaken by a privileged individual who could have avoided it all by simply heading in another direction. He not only went straight to trouble, he did so a second time after escaping internment as a prisoner of war.
The early sections of this book can be a bit taxing and drawn-out, but they set the stage for the substance to follow. As a matter of history, this early life of Churchill leads one to a greater understanding of how he handled himself in public office and how he was able to provide a desperately needed stoic front during the early days of World War II.
“If you cannot read all your books, at any rate handle, or as it were, fondle them - peer into them, let them fall open where they will, read from the first sentence that arrests the eye, set them back on the shelves with your own hands, arrange them on your own plan so that if you do not know what is in them, you at least know where they are. Let them be your friends; let them at any rate be your acquaintances. If they cannot enter the circle of your life, do not deny them at least a nod of recognition.” ― Winston S. Churchill
Gary Thorne is the play-by-play voice of the Orioles on MASN, and the 2017 season is his 11th with the club and 32nd covering Major League Baseball. His blog will appear regularly throughout the season. The Orioles and Sarasota County have partnered on the Big League Reader Program, which rewarded kids who read three books in February with tickets to a Grapefruit League game at Ed Smith Stadium in March.
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