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0 out of 50 out of 50 out of 50 out of 50 out of 5 0.00 (0 ratings) (rate this audio book) Author: Candice Millard Narrator: Simon Vanc Publisher: Penguin Random House Format: Unabridged Audiobook Delivery: Instant Download Audio Length: Release Date:
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From New York Times bestselling author of Destiny of the Republic, a thrilling narrative of Winston Churchill’s extraordinary and little-known exploits during the Boer War.

At age twenty-four, Winston Churchill was utterly convinced it was his destiny to become prime minister of England one day, despite the fact he had just lost his first election campaign for parliament. He believed that to achieve his goal he must do something spectacular on the battlefield. Despite deliberately putting himself in extreme danger as a British Army officer in colonial wars in India and Sudan, and as a journalist covering a Cuban uprising against the Spanish, glory and fame had eluded him.

Churchill arrived in South Africa in 1899, valet and crates of vintage wine in tow, there to cover the brutal colonial war the British were fighting with Boer rebels. But just two weeks after his arrival, the soldiers he was accompanying on an armored train were ambushed, and Churchill was taken prisoner. Remarkably, he pulled off a daring escape—but then had to traverse hundreds of miles of enemy territory, alone, with nothing but a crumpled wad of cash, four slabs of chocolate, and his wits to guide him.

The story of his escape is incredible enough, but then Churchill enlisted, returned to South Africa, fought in several battles, and ultimately liberated the men with whom he had been imprisoned.

Churchill would later remark that this period, “could I have seen my future, was to lay the foundations of my later life.” Millard spins an epic story of bravery, savagery, and chance encounters with a cast of historical characters—including Rudyard Kipling, Lord Kitchener, and Mohandas Gandhi—with whom he would later share the world stage. But Hero of the Empire is more than an adventure story, for the lessons Churchill took from Boer War would profoundly affect twentieth century history.

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Quotes & Awards

  • Gripping…Millard’s suspenseful writing is ideal for this adventure-novel material.  Not too much should be given away, for the twists and turns are such fun in the reading…tremendously readable and enjoyable…Most historians will have cause to envy her narrative ability.  Her prose gallops along; her short, action-packed chapters often screech to a halt on a cliffhanger. Alex von Tunzelmann, The New York Times Book Review
  • Over the years Ms. Millard had made a stylish niche for herself zooming in on a brief, pivotal chapter in the life of a historical figure and turning it into a legitimate feature-length production...The story Ms. Millard tells here is no less cinematic or dramatic...As involving as a popcorn thriller...Excellent. Jennifer Senior, The New York Times
  • “A nail-biting escape story…a truly fascinating book.”

    Financial Times

  • “Millard’s tome is a slam-bang study of Churchill’s wit and wile as he navigates the Boer War like [a] proto-James Bond.”

    USA Today

  • “Compelling.”

    Wall Street Journal

  • “As involving as a popcorn thriller…Excellent.”

    New York Times

  • “Thanks to Millard’s formidable storytelling skills, she has succeeded in infusing this familiar narrative with color, excitement and life.”

    Washington Post

  • “Both eminently readable and exceptionally informative.”

    Phil Reed, director of the Churchill War Rooms

  • “Combining vivid narrative and original scholarship, Candice Millard reveals how Winston Churchill laid the foundations of his political career during the Boer War. Supremely courageous, flagrantly ambitious, and incredibly lucky, young Winston emerges as the authentic hero of this thrilling tale of imperial derring-do.”

    Piers Brendon, former keeper of the Archives Centre, Churchill College, Cambridge

  • “A seamless and gripping narrative…vivid, entertaining…A fresh, captivating history of the enduringly colorful Churchill.”

    Kirkus Reviews (starred review)

  • “Millard’s rendering of the exciting details of Churchill’s heroic exploits result in a magnificently told story.”

    Booklist (starred review)

  • “Captures Churchill’s exploits as a prisoner of war, daring escapee, and heroic fighter in this stirring narrative.”


  • An Amazon Editor’s Top Pick for September 2016
  • A BookPage Top Pick for October 2016
  • A Publishers Weekly Bestseller
  • A New York Times Bestseller
  • A New York Times Editor’s Choice
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