Reynolds - In Command of History
Stewart - Winston Churchill As Writer and Speaker
Young Winston's Wars
Churchill - The People's Rights
Soames - Churchill - Speaking for Themselves

The Churchill File

Churchill the Writer

Although Winston Churchill came from an aristocratic family he was not rich by the standards of the society into which he was born. Following the death of his father both he and his mother were frequently short of ready cash. His debts sometimes became serious, and he earned his way out of them by his pen. Even during his early years in Parliament, as members were not then paid a salary Churchill made his living as a writer. He wrote first as a journalist and later as a biographer and historian.

It is not often remembered now that the man people came to think of as the British "bulldog" of World War II also was awarded the Nobel Prize in Literature 1953.

Alldritt - Churchill the Writer

It would be impossible here to go into great detail on the vast amount of Churchill's writing. Keith Alldritt in 1992 produced Churchill the Writer [Find here], an excellent overview of this facet of his life, the cover of which is illustrated here. An earlier book by H. L. Stewart, Winston Churchill As Writer and Speaker (1954) [Find here], combined these two aspects of his life. More recently (2004) David Reynolds examined in his In Command of History [Find here] the way in which Churchill brought together his national leadership during World War 2 with his later historical documentation of the conflict in the six volumes of The Second World War [Find here] .

Churchill's literary output falls mostly into three categories: history, biography, and journalistic reports and articles (some of which were later assembled into books, e.g. "Thoughts and Adventures", 1932). Examples of each category are shown, including a compilation by Woods of his early reporting ("Young Winston's Wars", 1972). This categorisation omits his writing of speeches, which are covered in a separate page. There was also one novel, Savrola, originally serialised in Macmillan's Magazine in 1899, and published as a book in 1900; the title page illustrated opposite is from the Hodder & Stoughton "Sevenpenny Library" edition of 1915.

His biographical work ranges from the short pieces on eminent men of his day in "Great Contemporaries" (1937) to the biography of his father "Lord Randolph Churchill" in 1906 and that of his famous military ancestor, "Marlborough: His Life and Times," originally published in four volumes between 1933 and 1938 (in the US, six volumes) but combined into two volumes in 1947. Here also we should refer to his auto-biographical writing. There are writings on specific experiences such as "My African Journey" (1908) which describes a tour of East Africa made in 1905 when he was a junior government minister in the Colonial Office. Then there was the more broadly based "My Early Life" (1930)

Churchill's major historical works were three multi-volume sets, not counting the historical biography of Marlborough. "The World Crisis" was his two-volume account of the First World War, in which he had several very different roles at different phases of the conflict, from First Lord of the Admiralty to serving in the trenches. For a long time I shelved my set next to the "War Memoirs" of WW1 by David Lloyd-George who was Prime Minister from 1916-1922 - complementary accounts by two long-term political and personal friends (see "David and Winston," 2005, by Lloyd-George's great-grandson, Robert Lloyd-George [Find here]). Following the Second World War there came the six volumes of "The Second World War" already mentioned, and then between 1956 and 1958 came his final great work, sweeping across the centuries: "A History of the English-Speaking Peoples".

Finally, quite apart from writing intended for publication there are many letters, memoranda, reports, etc., from every phase of his life accumulated in the tremendous Companion Volumes (sixteen at latest count) to the official biography commenced by his son, Randolph, and continued by Martin Gilbert. The later volumes now attract high prices, but those relating to WSC's earlier years can often be obtained at very reasonable cost. The range of material is vast; even personal letters between himself and his wife, Clementine, have been lovingly collated and edited for publication (in 700 pages, "Speaking for Themselves," 1998) by his youngest daughter, Mary Soames.

Winston Churchill Nobel Prizewinner 1953


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Part of Churchill collection
Reynolds - In Command of History
Churchill, My African Journey
Churchill, Savrola
Churchill, Lord Randolph Churchill

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