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Winston Churchill: The Early Years


Long before Winston Churchill was the leader who got Britain through World War II, he was a 20-something trying to make a name for himself as a journalist.

That included being taken prisoner while covering a war in South Africa. On Think, Krys Boyd talked about Churchill’s early life with Candice Millard, author of “Hero of the Empire: The Boer War, a Daring Escape, and the Making of Winston Churchill.”  

The KERA Interview

Candice Millard on …

… his experience as a prisoner of war: 

“He said that he hated this period in his life more than he had hated any other time in his life, for his entire life. He was absolutely miserable, and he would never forget how it felt to be a prisoner. He felt humiliated. He felt confined to this place with these armed guards watching him at every point. And he would remember that his entire life, and later on when he became Home Secretary, it was very important to him to treat prisoners with compassion. He made sure that they had access to books. That they had access to the outdoors. That they could exercise, because he understood that no matter how heinous the crime this was still a human being.”  

... how much he believed in himself:

“He always had what he called faith in his star. He believed that he was destined for greatness. He came from a famous family. He was a direct descendent of the 1st Duke of Marlborough, who is considered to be one of the greatest generals in British history. He was the son of Lord Randolph Churchill, who is Chancellor of the Exchequer and Leader of the House of Commons. He felt very strongly that he had a special place in the world. But the difficulty was proving it to everybody else, and he thought the way to do that was through war.”  

…. how he became a journalist:

“He wasn’t a stellar student, and so when he was in school instead of allowing him to take Greek and Latin with the outstanding students, he was sort of put into the very basic English class. But fortunately for him, and for us, he had an excellent teacher. So he learned the English language inside and out and became a master of the English language. That’s how he came to support himself.”