Young Titan, The Making of Winston Churchill by Michael Shelden
Although Winston Churchill is arguably best known for his leadership during WWII, he was a celebrity politician forty years earlier. At the turn of the century, Churchill’s image, slight, freckled, and with a full head of hair, was as well known to his Edwardian constituents and colleagues as the stout and balding portrait was to later generations.
Although there are many biographies of Churchill, Michael Shelden has written the first to focus on Churchill’s early career and its ignominious collapse in the wake of the Gallipoli campaign.
Churchill was a household name when he was elected to Parliament in 1901. Having spent the previous five years gallivanting about the empire, India, Cuba, Egypt and most notably South Africa, Churchill chronicled his adventures in magazine articles, newspaper columns, and an astonishing five books.
Settling into the House of Commons, Churchill was right at home and completely unintimidated by and occasionally impatient with his elders. As a member of Prime Minister Herbert Henry Asquith’s Cabinet, he served as President of the Board of Trade, Home Secretary, and First Lord of the Admiralty.
Ambitious and inquisitive, Churchill was a ferocious worker. In his limited free time, he courted several glamorous women, married Clementine, traveled widely, learned to fly, and wrote extensively, including a popular biography of his father, Lord Randolph Churchill.
Churchill was the next big thing, but by age forty his career was in tatters.
Churchill emerged from the wilderness years for a triumphant second act, but his earlier experiences had an enormous influence on leader he became.
I highly recommend Michael Shelden’s book—a readable, insightful portrait of a great leader’s formative years.