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My Early Life: A Roving Commission

4.24  ·  Rating Details ·  2,025 Ratings  ·  124 Reviews
Packed with adventure and incidents, Winston Churchill's first 25 years were spent working as a soldier and a war correspondent in India, South Africa and Cuba. Churchill evokes a so-called golden age before 1914 in his autobiography.
Audio CD, 12 pages
Published November 1st 2005 by Ulverscroft (first published 1930)
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Lewis Weinstein
"When does one first remember? When do the waving lights and shadows of dawning consciousness cast their print upon the mind of a child?"

What a delight. Published in 1930, it covers the first 30 years of Churchill's life (1874-1904), and packs in more adventure than most of us could ever expect in many times those years. Churchill tells war stories in which he was a participant ... in Egypt, in South Africa. Apparently he barely survived many times, before rushing off to India to play in an army
...more
Jonathan
Churchill is an engaging writer, both insightful and entertaining. Written in 1930, Churchill covers his life from childhood until the beginning of his political career, with a significant portion of the book devoted to his military time in India and South Africa. There are many interesting tidbits, such as Churchill's meeting with Mark Twain during Churchill's tour of America (Twain gives Churchill a hard time about the Boer Wars) and Churchill's fear of extemporaneous speaking, which led him t ...more
Linda
May 28, 2009 Linda rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
It did take me a long time to read this book, since I read a lot of other ones in between chapters. I think it was a great book however, and wish I had known Mr. Churchill when he was young. I enjoyed his insights about hiself and his views of the Boer War.
Colin Flanigan
May 05, 2013 Colin Flanigan rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is Winston Churchill, with all his flaws and famous strengths. It is filled with both adventure and misadventure, as he becomes an officer in the army and starts his writing career. What many forget is that he wrote countless books and supported himself as an author. He was in South Africa during the Boer War, stationed in India, went to Cuba and ran for office, switching parties from conservative to liberal and back again!

His Victorian attitude to the countries under England's rule in the
...more
Laura
Sep 05, 2007 Laura rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: history, nonfiction
A fascinating read. I so often forget that Churchill was a real Victorian. If I could have done half of the exciting things that this man did in the five years after he turned 20, I should be satisfied for life.
Bill
Jun 10, 2014 Bill rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
What a surprise! I knew nothing of Churchill's life before the World War II years. My lasting image of him was the jowly, squat, late-middle-aged man in the famous photo of him, Roosevelt, and Stalin at Yalta. This autobiography of his first twenty-seven years blew that image away.

After a few chapters about his schooling and his distaste for educational institutions, he writes about his years as a young cavalry officer. He managed to attach himself to fighting expeditions in northwest India, Eg
...more
Peter
Jun 16, 2013 Peter rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: biography
In 1930 Winston Leonard Spencer-Churchill, then age 56 and destined to live another 34 years, looked back on his first 30 years. One would think this hubris, for what can be achieved in one’s first 30 years? But in fact, unlike some modern politicians who write their autobiography at a young age before any achievements, Churchill had a lot to report.

The result is “My Early Years: 1874-1904,” perhaps one of history’s most entertaining autobiographies. Churchill documents his childhood as the neg
...more
Kathy
This book was an interesting look at Churchill's formative years, education, army experiences, and early political life. He came of age during the last of the Victorian Era, when Britain thought it still "ruled the world". Churchill did not come up through the university system but went into the army instead. He felt this was a disadvantage but he was highly ambitious and his family's political connections more than compensated for his lack of an Oxford or Cambridge pedigree. Much of the book ch ...more
Scott
Oct 17, 2010 Scott rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This was the first biographical work I ever read just because of my own interest. I found it on the bookshelf at the old Henry County Public Library - What a great place! As a young teen, I would ride my bike down and spend hours reading - books, magazines, everything! The librarians, especially Mrs. Mastin, helped so much. She introduced me to the topical files - and a great way to do research. I loved it!

The book was inspiring to a 12-year-old kid! It was written before WWII, so Churchill was
...more
Virginia
Sep 09, 2008 Virginia rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Great book; Churchill is quite a surprise in a lot of ways. His personal history was interesting and a bit sad, too.
Rick
Jan 21, 2008 Rick rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: non-fiction
Churchill wrote this memoir in 1930 when he was 56. With a historian’s respect for the perspective of time, the book only covers his birth through the beginning of the 20th Century. In other words, for one of the giants of the century, none of his major life events (his stints as prime minister and cabinet member and member of the House of Commons, his roles in both world wars and the cold war) are discussed either because he felt more time needed to lapse before tackling them or because they ca ...more
Gopal Vijayaraghavan
“My early life” by Winston (Spencer) Churchill was published in the year 1930. It covered the period of Churchill’s life from childhood to his becoming a member of House of Commons i.e. about 25 years. This book is an example of Churchill’s command of English language. The best part of the book is when he had narrated the ordeals of his schooling days. Churchill was frank enough to admit his inadequacies and struggles as a student. His aversion to classical languages(e.g. “So they told me how Mr ...more
Chayzat Khovalyg
Feb 18, 2017 Chayzat Khovalyg rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
О том, что Уинстон Черчилль писал свои речи сам, я знала давно.
Но каково же было моё удивление, когда из сериала "Корона" я узнала, что он еще и книги писал. В своей автобиографической книге он говорит о своём раннем периоде жизни. Интересно то, что он в школе был не такой хороший ученик, чтобы освоить греческий и латинский, он был в отстающей группе, которой усиленно давали английский язык.
Он настолько стал силён в английском, что даже книги начал писать, в итоге получил Нобелевскую премию Чи
...more
Kimberly
This autobiography of Winston Churchill covers the period from his birth until his late 20s. While I read it as part of the Goodreads Ultimate Popsugar Reading Challenge for the “political memoir” prompt, it really was more a book about Churchill’s formative years and the wars that provided a foundation for his life. And some politics were thrown in for good measure. Particularly, the book covered Churchill’s participation in the Indian, African and Boer Wars.

Churchill has an easy-going writing
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Tim Jin
Feb 16, 2015 Tim Jin rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
It was pretty awesome to hear about the early life of Winston Churchill. I'm a big fan of this great diplomat and have learned about him religiously when I was in school. He was one of the best speech writers of all time. When Churchill spoke, his voice rumbled through the air waves like no other. There hasn't been a leader with this great enthusiasm throughout our history like Winston Churchill.

"My Early Life" is something that he wrote prior to World War II. Great sentence structure and great
...more
Michelle
Feb 19, 2015 Michelle rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: biography
I've long been an admirer of Winston Churchill, but had only the image of the unforgettable WWII persona in mind. It was fascinating to hear the author's own account of his upbringing and critical young years. Amazing how much (and how little :) the world has changed in the last 100 or so years as well. I'd probably give this 3.5 stars, just because I wasn't incredibly interested in the military details of the wars in India, the Sudan or South Africa except for their impact on Churchill (his esc ...more
Meen
Might've been three stars but for all the detailed descriptions of the military maneuvers, which I find rather boring. I am, however, fascinated with him (especially his role in WWII) and the wildly changing times he straddled. I think I'll enjoy The Last Lion 1: Visions of Glory 1874-1932 more. I prefer the more neutral reportage of biography and history to the first person narrative of autobiography and memoir. Still, fascinating stuff, and I'm glad I got a sense of his voice before I embarked ...more
Marcus
May 29, 2013 Marcus rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
After reading Herman’s ‘Gandhi and Churchill’, I thought I’d see what Churchill wrote (in 1930) about his ‘Early Life’ – 1874 to 1904, from Harrow, through Sandhurst, Bangalore, Malakand, Omdurman and South Africa, to Westminster. It is a remarkable story through which Churchill makes full use of his elite family connections to get where he wants, and do what he wants – a young cavalry officer desparate for military action, and finding it, repeatedly. An ‘action man’, taking huge risks, with som ...more
G Hodges
Mar 03, 2012 G Hodges rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Even though I knew most of this, hearing it from his point of view is illuminating. And his escape during the Boer war was riveting. Sometimes in history, the right person comes to the stage at the right time. Even though he would have dismissed me as irrelevant in all probability, he is one of the people in my 'who would you like to meet' interview question list. Remarkable. We need someone like him now, but all we have are empty headed selfish politicians who can't see beyond their pocket book ...more
Tom
Jul 03, 2012 Tom rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Only Churchill! Pompous, egotistical, self-absorbed. All true. And yet - brilliant, intuitive, entertaining, insightful. You've heard it all before and this self-serving retrospective of The Great Man in his own words is all of the above...and more. Idiosyncratic. Impatient. But always the center of any stage...of any age. Really wonderful. Come listen to a true voice of the Victorian and Edwardian Ages, a brilliant and beloved dinosaur describing his own age.
Jon
Jun 25, 2014 Jon rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Churchill's first 30 years in his own words: an interesting and clear picture of the British political world at the close of the Victorian era. Reading Churchill is simply a delightful experience of the English language.
Akhil Jain
Oct 13, 2016 Akhil Jain rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Page 17 |
"The greatest pleasure I had in those days was reading. When I was nine and a half my father gave me Treasure Island, and I remember the delight with which I devoured"
Page 20 |
"They all went on to learn Latin and Greek and splendid things like that. But I was taught English. We were considered such dunces that we could learn only English."
Page 53 |
"Was there not always more error than malice in human affairs?"
Page 57 |
"‘You have seen us tear down these barricades tonight; see that you p
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Александр Шушпанов
Вообще, прочитать эту автобиографию было действительно интересно с точки зрения стиля изложения - Уинстон Спенсер Черчилль, как известно, за словом в карман не лазил, а опыт военного журналиста (о котором немало в этой книге) - это опыт военного журналиста.

Реально книга охватывает первые тридцать лет жизни автора - и если о совсем юных годах читать не очень интересно (они практически у всех известных британцев, родившихся в период от 1850 до 1950 состоят из Закрытая Мужская Школа и Меня Пороли Р
...more
Larry Bassett
This autobiography covers the first 30 years of the life of Winston Churchhill. He was born on the top of the pile but had a relatively undistinguished educational life. His description of life in the last quarter of the 19th century did not capture my interest. After completion of school he joined the military and served in the Calvary. I think the book would be much more interesting if you knew more English history especially the boar war which seemed to go on and on. Apparently playing polo w ...more
Marko Savić
Knjigo sem našel ob zadnji selitvi doma doma. In jo kar pospravil v potovalko. Gre za avtobiografijo W. Churchilla, ki opisuje dvajset let od 1880 do 1900, čeprav se navezuje tudi na dogodke pred in po teh letih.

Prebral sem le del do poglavja Kuba. Ki opisuje njegovo Otroštvo, Harrow, Izpiti, Sandhurst in Četrti huzarski polk. Kar se meni zdi vredno iz tega dela zapomniti je, da je bil Churchill slab učenec ali celo zelo slabo učenec. Našel se je šele potem v vojaški šoli.

Precej bolj zanimiva je
...more
Tobias
Jan 30, 2016 Tobias rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Winston Spencer Churchill is generally remembered as the aging defender of the free world in the struggle against Hitler and the Axis powers, and sometimes as one of the last British Imperialists. That he is one of the most well known characters in 20th century history is beyond doubt.

This book was written in 1929. Churchill was already above 50, and his political career appeared to be over. He spent his time writing and trying to convince people that Hitler was actually a threat to the rest of
...more
Jens
Feb 08, 2017 Jens rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: history, bios
My hopes for this book were somewhat higher, seeing that this used to be considered a book to inspire new generations. In the preface of the Danish edition that I read, a former Minister of Foreign Affairs relates how this book was presented to him at age 14, and served to kindle his interest in politics and public service. While it is hardly disputable that Churchill was among the greatest Statesmen of the 20th century, this book left me with an impression that I would not have cared much for t ...more
Jos
Mar 22, 2013 Jos rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Churchill wrote this autobiography spanning the first 30 years of his life from 1874 to 1904 in 1930. I have no idea why he chose to restrict himself to a time period so long ago but it helped the book as everything he experienced had already been put in perspective by history.
To start with, Churchill had experienced more with 30 years than other people will in ten lifes. The autobiography is competently written and has something to tell which is a rare thing nowadays that every third rate VIP i
...more
Suncerae
The first 30 years of Winston Churchill’s life subverts your impression of the powerful, confident, alcoholic, jowly, WWII prime minister. I appreciate the candid nature of this autobiography, from admitting the assistance he received from his powerful rich parents, to his jealousy of the Oxford/Cambridge educated, and his initial fears of public speaking.

Winston begins by describing his childhood and schooldays, growing up an aristocrat in Dublin, distant from both parents, but especially his p
...more
Diego
Jun 10, 2016 Diego rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
"Como odiava aquela escola! Que vida ansiosa, ali, durante dois anos! Progredi muito pouco nas lições e, nos esportes, nada. O meu maior prazer, nessa época, era a leitura. Esta grande salvadora das almas humanas. Lembro-me com detalhes da maioria das coisas que li, meus professores viam-me ao mesmo tempo retardado e precoce, lendo livros acima de minha idade e, no entanto, a ser dos últimos da classe. Mas você sabe; eu era teimoso. Onde a minha imaginação ou minha curiosidade não estavam engaja ...more
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 next »
  • The Last Lion 2: Winston Spencer Churchill: Alone, 1932-40
  • Churchill - A Biography
  • Queen Victoria's Little Wars
  • Churchill: A Life
  • Troublesome Young Men: The Rebels Who Brought Churchill to Power and Helped Save England
  • Napoleon: A Biography
  • The Reason Why: The Story of the Fatal Charge of the Light Brigade
  • Warlord: A Life of Winston Churchill at War, 1874-1945
  • Winston Churchill
  • Uncrowned King: The Life of Prince Albert
  • Disraeli: A Picture of the Victorian Age
  • The Path To Power
  • The Strange Death of Liberal England
  • Melbourne
  • Winston S. Churchill: Young Statesman, 1901-1914 (Volume II) (Churchill Biography Book 2)
  • The Boer War
  • Wellington: The Iron Duke
  • Farewell The Trumpets: An Imperial Retreat
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Sir Winston Leonard Spencer-Churchill, KG, OM, CH, TD, FRS, PC (Can) was a British politician who served as Prime Minister of the United Kingdom from 1940 to 1945, and again from 1951 to 1955. A noted statesman, orator and strategist, Churchill was also an officer in the British Army. A prolific author, he won the Nobel Prize in Literature in 1953 for his own historical writings, "for his mastery ...more
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“You will make all kinds of mistakes; but as long as you are generous and true and also fierce you cannot hurt the world or even seriously distress her. She was meant to be wooed and won by youth.” 115 likes
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