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Hero of the Empire: The Boer War, a Daring Escape, and the Making of Winston Churchill

Unabridged Audiobook

Written By: Candice Millard

Narrated By: Simon Vance

Publisher: Random House (Audio)

Date: September 2016

Duration: 10 hours 15 minutes


From New York Times bestselling author of Destiny of the Republic and The River of Doubt, 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 the Boer War would profoundly affect 20th century history.

From the Hardcover edition.


  • Dale P

    Having read River of Doubt and Destiny of the Republic, I knew Candice Millard wouldn't disappoint with this book. Finding out so much about the man who would become Winston Churchill is fascinating. The story is told beautifully and with terrific detail. Simon Vance enhances the experience with his narration.

  • Kimberly G

    I absolutely loved this book and the narration!! The author has spent years in painstaking research to give us the details that make this account a one of a kind work. One feels as if one were actually with Churchill at the moments in time portrayed. The insights into the character of the young Churchill are fascinating, and the storyline is displayed with the color and tension that make one not want to stop. As the work closes, it is eerie how much the echoes of this work are heard in our current days. Truly a timely and wonderful book.

  • Beth Richard

    This story and narration is riveting!! I highly recommend this CD. So much is revealed about the character of young Winston Churchill. The book reads like a rollicking, Raiders of the Lost Ark--a fun adventure--with a glimpse into the history of the Boer War in South Africa as well.

Hero of the Empire: The Boer War, a Daring Escape, and the Making of Winston Churchill

by Candice Millard

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Hero of the Empire: The Boer War, a Daring Escape, and the Making of Winston Churchill, Candice Millard