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Marlborough: His Life and Times, Book One Paperback – September, 2002
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John Churchill, the Duke of Marlborough (1644-1722), was one of the greatest military commanders and statesmen in the history of England. Victorious in the Battles of Blenheim (1704), Ramillies (1706), and countless other campaigns, Marlborough, whose political intrigues were almost as legendary as his military skill, never fought a battle he didn't win. Although he helped James II crush the rebellion of the Duke of Monmouth, Marlborough later supported William of Orange against James II in the Glorious Revolution of 1688 and brilliantly managed England's diplomatic triumphs during the War of the Spanish Succession. Marlborough also bequeathed the world another great British military strategist and diplomat—his descendant, Winston S. Churchill, who wrote this book to redeem Marlborough's reputation from Macaulay's smears.
One million words long and ten years in the making, Churchill's Marlborough stands as both a literary and historical masterpiece, giving us unique insights into the Churchill of World War II, for just as Churchill's literary skill helps us understand the complexities of Marlborough's life, so too did his writing of Marlborough help Churchill master the arts of military strategy and diplomacy. This two-volume edition includes the entire text and almost all the original maps.
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Top Customer Reviews
WSC gives us a picture of the whole man, including his faults. One of WSC's purposes is to rescue Marlborough's reputation from the attacks of generations of historians. The book becomes a brilliant defense and of course it cannot be unbiased. WSC is Marlborough's defense attorney, not his judge.
By the 1920s, Marlborough had been called miserly, greedy, ambitious, duplicitous, disloyal and treacherous. As he recounts Marlborough's life, WSC continually picks up an episode that seemingly illustrates one of these traits, but turns it around.
Where unsympathetic historians saw miserly habits, WSC saw thrift and WSC goes further. Marlborough was miserly when it came to his own needs, such as when he insisted surgeons cut his stocking along the seem so that it could be resown. Yet he paid his army's bills and wages on time; apparently this was unusual in those days. He paid, from his own discretionary funds, which other generals often pocketed as a matter of course, for military intelligence that proved crucial to securing many of his victories.
Where accusers saw ambition needlessly prolonging a difficult war, WSC presents Marlborough has being bound by duty to achieve the best results possible, and to reject a timid peace, which would have left Europe in the hands of a despot.Read more ›
I will not reiterate what other reviewers have already said. However, I would add that in the writing of this book, Winston Churchill prepared himself to become even greater than his general ancestor. It can hardly be surprising that as this history was being written, events were conspiring to lead Winston Churchill into the biggest world confrontation ever. After studying the campaigns in Europe of Lord Malborough, it can hardly be surprising that Churchill fully suspected the coming of the war long before his fellow MPs.
This is a scholarly work and shouldn't be undertaken without serious patience. Each of the two volumes are in themselves close to 1,000 pages long. The history is written from the point of view of a defender, though Winston Churchill is careful not to gloss over details that might cast an unfavorable opinion of his ancestor. Well worth the effort.
BOOK TWO -
Since I reviewed Book One, I felt it was important to follow up with a review of Book Two of this work.Read more ›
Winston Churchill viewed history as something that was alive and tangible and his historic writings capture that feeling for readers. Marlborough's battles - both military and political - come to life in the hands of Churchill. We get to see one of the great military minds of the 18th century push military science closer and closer to its modern form. We also see him perform less well on the political front against his foes there.
Through the entire book, we get to listen to Winston Churchill in his element, telling us a story about a topic he feels passionately about. So many of the trials, trevails, and reactions that Churchill ascribes to Marlborough are so obviously parallels to Churchill's life and his reactions that the book has a clear autobiographical tone to it as well.
Highly recommended for history buffs and for people who want to understand Churchill more deeply.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
I enjoy English history and it probably helps to have an interest in the Stuart era to appreciate this book. With that said, I'm blown away by how good this work is. Read morePublished 2 months ago by Paul Enterline
A very interesting addition to our collection of writings and times of Winston Churchill. Marlborough (named John Churchill), his ancestor, is a worthy and interesting forebear.... Read morePublished 14 months ago by Amazon Customer
Churchill's biography of his ancestor is really great military history. He has analyzed each of the great battles in detail and sets them out clearly and with great maps (much of... Read morePublished 17 months ago by David W. Drake
Churchill puts you back into history with wit, authority and a just plain comfortable read. Step back in time and enjoy.Published on February 3, 2014 by Russell Clunan
I have been wanting to read this work since the 1980's. In about 2005 I obtained a DVD copy of the "First Churchill's" as shown on PBS in 1971 during the very first season... Read morePublished on November 7, 2013 by Brian Wayne Wells
The review that I wrote for volume two stands for this book as well. I can honestly say that I was sorry when I was done with all 2000 pages!Published on September 3, 2013 by John McCullough
I have been searchinjg for the complete Marlborough for years, had originally wanted the hard bound early edition but difficult to find complete setes. Read morePublished on February 5, 2013 by brad williams
This is quite a genealogy/family history. Some day I may finish it. Other than that, the great W. Churchill is an author that cannot be equaled.Published on October 29, 2012 by Ladonna A. English