What is there to say ? Those who have an interest in this giant of men and a man of many parts will find the book a compelling read. It is only by digging that one gets to understand the determination of the man, of his many unconnected skills,of his sensitivities. He bridges a gap between the modern era and that which died with the occurrence of the war to end all wars. Today ( in 2017) it is almost customary for younger generations to berate everything and everyone who went before them. Churchill has been branded a warmonger when he was in fact a warlord. A man of great perception, had his foresight been heeded by the likes of Chamberlain ,that stain which will forever tarnish the history of our species, WW2 could have been stopped in it"s tracks and the consequent terrible events avoided. This book leaves behind Churchill the schoolboy, the soldier, the adventurer and takes us on a journey with him as he embarks on his adult life at the grand old age of 26. This book covers only a period of Sir Winston"s life but it is all revealing. We see the components coming together from which would emerge a great leader and I , a mere admirer highly recommend you read it. Lastly I must thank the supplier who sent the book timeously and well packaged.
I have been a member of the Churchill Society for more than 20 years, have a library of books about or by WSC. I thought I couldn't learn many new things about WSC - wrong. This book deal with his contemporaries both female, social and political in some depth painting a detailed picture of him especially when joining society and promoting himself in his career. Excellent
This is one of the most interesting books on Churchill I have read. His work as First Lord demonstrated a capacity to think ahead. Changing the Royal Navy ships from coal to oil and ensuring the supplies of oil from the the middle east shows a perspicacity which explains a lot about his foresight later in his career. To break the heart of the boss's daughter and still keep his job shows a high degree of skill. The hunt for Violet Asquith on the cliffs of Kincardinshire after he told her he was going to marry Clementine was a good example of the author's ability to tell a rattling good story.
Michael Shelden is an American writer whose style begs for the time-honoured phrase 'the art that conceals art', such are the smooth, unpretentious, literate qualities of this bewitching canter through the great man's young adult life - picking it up at the point where Churchill left off in his own wonderful memoir My Early Life. What comes across strongly, particularly in the first half of the book is Winston's romantic, ardent nature. He loved striking, spirited women who could engage him, both emotionally and conversationally - not that they got much of a word in once he started talking! He could also - and did, if you let him - quote Byron from memory for hours on end. I'd like to have heard that. Another vivid character to emerge from these 300 or so pages is his mother Jennie, a beautiful stylish American woman who was widowed on the death of Lord Randolph, the father Winston forever regretted not really knowing. This biography opens, appropriately enough for a man always on the move, as Winston is travelling to Winnipeg to give a speech about his earlier life and adventures. He is 26 and already making waves even before entering parliament, which he does as a Tory, soon crossing over to the Liberal benches, having become frustrated and angered by the intransigence and obstinacy of the Tory grandees leading the party to which he would later, after the period covered by this book, return. One thing that strikes me after reading Young Titan is that Churchill transcended parties; he could have belonged to almost any of them and still left his mark, upon both his party and the country. You could say he was 'above parties'. Another thing that impresses (the more I learn about him, and not only from this book) is how much he was his own man, not in a vulgar, hectoring Thatcherite way, but an informed, deeply passionate, widely-read sense. (While reading, I wondered what Churchill would have made of Thatcher, who greatly admired him - I am convinced he would have scented humbug, while recognising certain of her qualities. Who would have out-talked the other is anybody's guess.) The sheer energy of the man reminds me of Dickens, another force of nature - who died four years before Winston was born. The 'Inimitable' wore himself out in the end, while Churchill, despite an over-indulgence in the food and drink he relished, lived to be 90. One is very glad he did, for all kinds of reasons, many of which are for another time, another book. This one tells us of a period of his life not so often related or known about, and as such it is essential reading. That it is written so well, with such wit and taste, is further cause for celebration and gratitude.
Given that there is a plethora of Churchill biographies on the market (everything from Churchill as Warlord, to what type of underwear he wore) the introduction of yet another biography, failed to quicken the pulse.
Fortunately, this was one of those occasions where I enjoyed being proven wrong. Sheldon's young titan is a masterpiece of historical biography. It reads like a novel, but never becomes to novelistic. It is peppered with historical sources and quotes, but never to the detriment of the narrative. We see a side of Churchill, that although we new existed, had never been adequately explored...until now.
If the sign of a good book is sitting down to read it, and then you glance up at the clock, and you realise two hours have flown past, then this is a good book!