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Churchill The Life: An Authorized Pictorial Biography
Churchill The Life: An Authorized Pictorial Biography Churchill The Life: An Authorized Pictorial Biography Churchill The Life: An Authorized Pictorial Biography Churchill The Life: An Authorized Pictorial Biography

* Book Type:

Publisher: Firefly Books

Author Statement: Max Arthur
Audience: Trade
Specs: 220 archival photographs, bibliography, sources, further reading
Pages: 272
Trim Size: 8" X 10" X 1 1/16"
Language code 1: eng
Publication Date: 20151008
Copyright Year: 2015
Price: Select Below


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Churchill The Life: An Authorized Pictorial Biography

The life and times of the great statesman as he saw it.

At 52nd Street and Madison Avenue in New York City sits Chartwell Books, the only bookshop in the world specializing in books, articles and memorabilia of Winston Churchill. Further south in Manhattan is the Morgan Library and Museum where in 2012 a record 70,000 visitors viewed the multimedia exhibition Churchill: The Power of Words.

This year is the 50th anniversary of Winston Churchill's death, and coincidentally the 70th anniversary of V-E Day. This stunning book commemorates the life of Britain's greatest leader and the best friend the United States ever had.

Eight sections narrate Churchill's monumental life and achievements:

  • Youth 1874-1903: Unhappy son of a British duke and American mother; student; father's death
  • Early Military Career 1898-1916: Soldier; war reporter; escaped prisoner; author; husband and father
  • Early Political Career 1899-1922: Decorated soldier; parliamentarian; government minister
  • The First World War: Political defeat and blunders; American lecture tour; government minister
  • Rising through the ranks: Political legacy of the Great War; government minister; painter; farmer
  • The Second World War: Prime Minister; V-E Day
  • Post-War Years: Political defeat; "Iron Curtain" Speech; daughter's suicide; death of second daughter
  • Legacy: Statesman; historian; Honorary Citizen of the United States; Nobel Prize Laureate, final days.

Author and chronicler Max Arthur includes:

  • Previously unpublished photographs of artifacts in the Churchill Archive Centre
  • Family pictures and private correspondence
  • Telegrams, drafts of speeches, press cuttings and official papers
  • Ephemera, like an early report card that describes him as "very bad--in constant trouble to everybody"
  • Pictorial timelines
  • Public correspondence and historical items given to him
  • Fascinating and exhaustingly researched captions and quotes.


Max Arthur is one of Britain's leading oral historians, and author of Above All, Courage on the Falklands War, and Last Post: The Final Word from Our First World War Soldiers. His 2007 book, The Faces of World War I, is the biggest-selling illustrated book on the conflict in the UK. He lives and works in West Sussex, England.



For this book, I have sought out a number of unseen photographs of Winston Churchill and, rather than simply describe them in a one- or two-line caption, I have tried to convey the background to the event and to capture Churchill's feelings at the time the photograph was taken. I have used his own words or the words of those close to him, or against him, to enhance the images.

Churchill: The Life also contains copies of his great speeches and facsimiles of his letters -- sometimes acerbic, sometimes boisterous, but always enlightening. We discover how difficult and disenchanting Churchill found life at school and how he pleaded with his mother and father to show him some affection. We see how his confidence grew at Sandhurst and his reputation develops during his adventures as a young soldier and war correspondent. We observe how, on his entry into Parliament, he began a whole new and successful life, which was eventually overshadowed by the Dardanelles Campaign. Churchill's time serving in the trenches of the Great War is vividly portrayed by those who serve alongside him.

Throughout the book I have tried to capture the basis of his emotional life and with his wife Clementine and their family. Clementine certainly had the patience of a saint, but their letters, from the early days of their courtship until the end of his life, were never less than tender. Clementine was at times tough in her response to Winston's wild dreams, yet she was also comforting, particularly during his years in the political wilderness, when he saw himself as abandoned and held in ridicule for pointing out the inexorable rise of Nazi Germany.

Churchill's many trips to America before, during and after the war were in his view essential to the nation's defence. They were also a source of income and inspiration, but it was his home life, at Chartwell, and his love of Clemetine that truly sustained him.

The sense of destiny that had been with him since adolescence sustained him through the wilderness years and was vindicated in 1940, when, at the age of 65, he became Prime Minister in his country's time of greatest need. This book endeavours to capture the life of a man whose abounding confidence and belief in victory steadied the hearts of a nation, even long after the war was won.




1 Childhood: 1874-1892
2 A Young Soldier: 1893-1900
3 Early Political Career: 1900-1914
4 The First World War: 1914-1918
5 Rising Through the Ranks: 1919-1928
6 The Wilderness Years: 1929-1939
7 The Second World War: 1939-1945
8 The Post-War Years: 1946-1965

Bibliography, Sources and Further Reading

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