"Dictators ride to and fro on tigers from which they dare not dismount. And the tigers are getting hungry." - Winston Churchill (While England Slept, 1938)
The Right Honourable Sir Winston Leonard Spencer Churchill was born in 1874 to Lord Randolph Churchill and his wife, Lady Churchill, formerly Jennie Jerome, daughter of American millionaire Leonard Jerome. After being educated at Harrow and Sandhurst, he spent about four years in the army including time in Cuba, India and the Sudan. After resigning his commission he unsuccesfully stood for Parliament and then, in 1899, signed on as a war correspondent to cover the Boer War in South Africa, returning to Britain the following year as something of a popular hero for his exploits escaping from a Boer POW camp.
In 1900 he again stood for Parliament, this time winning a seat. Over the next 55 years he held many high posts in Britain's Liberal and Conservative goverments, including First Lord of the Admiralty at the outbreak of World War II (the same post he held from 1911-1915) and, most importantly, Prime Minister and Minister of Defence from May 1940 to the end of World War II in 1945. He was Prime Minister again between 1951 and 1955 and remained a Member of Parliament until the general election of 1964 when he chose not to seek re-election.
Parallelling the success of his political career was his literary career which began with the publication of his campaign reports from the Sudan (1898 and 1899), followed by a novel (his only one) in 1900 and a biography of his father half a dozen years later. He went on to write a four volume biography of his ancestor, John Churchill, 1st Duke of Marlborough; and a four volume history of the First World War, plus six volumes of his memoirs of the Second World War. In addition, he penned other books such as Painting as a Pastime (1948), My Early Life (1930) and While England Slept (1938).
After retiring from office he wrote A History of the English-speaking Peoples (4 volumes). His oratory is recorded in at least a dozen volumes of speeches. In among his many honors he was awarded the Nobel Prize in Literature in 1953, was the first person to become an Honorary Citzen of the United States and was honored with a state funeral on his death in 1965.
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