Winston Churchill (1874-1965), the greatest statesman of the 20th century, told the English people he had nothing to offer them but "blood, toil, tears, and sweat." For posterity, however, he left behind some of the greatest books and speeches ever written:
- Marlborough: His Life and Times, (5 volumes)
Churchill's Marlborough is his greatest historical work. Whereas Macaulay's famous account of Marlborough painted him as a brilliant but treacherous 18th century statesman, Churchill seeks to vindicate him as one of Britain's greatest patriots. The biography becomes a morality play, which uses Marlborough's desertion of James II in the Glorious Revolution of 1688 as a commentary on political duties and rights. It is also a profound commentary on the necessity of great statesmanship in political crises. As a military general, Marlborough won every battle he fought. As a statesman he formed an international alliance to defeat tyranny in continental Europe wonderfully prophetic of Churchill's own later role.
- Great Contemporaries
These sharp portraits of the most important figures of early this century, including Hitler, are an ideal brief introduction to Churchill's writings.
- The Second World War, (6 volumes)
This work, which serves as a primary source for the history of the war, won Churchill the Nobel Prize in Literature in 1953.
- Memoirs of the Second World War
One-volume abridgement of the six-volume work.
- Blood, Toil, Tears, and Sweat: The Speeches of Winston Churchill
This collection of speeches from 1938 to 1941 chronicles how Prime Minister Churchill rallied England to oppose Hitler. Instead of dwelling on England's weaknesses, he focused on the country's strength, but also laced his comments with dire warnings about the deterioration of the English situation.
- While England Slept
This book collects Churchill's speeches during the pre-war years from 1932 to 1938.
- Step by Step: 1936-39
Commentary on events leading up to the war.
- The World Crisis 1911-1918, (2 vols)
Churchill's history of World War I.
The River War
This book ranges from a history of British colonial operations in Africa to a first-hand account of Churchill's experiences in desert combat. Recounts one of the last great cavalry charges by the British Army in the battle of the Omdurman, in 1898.
- My Early Life: A Roving Commission
Autobiographical account of Churchill's first 26 years, ending with his election to Parliament.
Churchill described his only novel, published in 1900, as the story of "a liberal leader who overthrew an arbitrary government only to be swallowed up by a socialist revolution."
Biographies of Churchill
Churchill's son, Randolph, wrote the first two volumes of Churchill's official biography. British historian Sir Martin Gilbert wrote the final six.
- Churchill, A Life, by Martin Gilbert
With the benefit of 25 years of research and writing on Churchill's life, Sir Martin Gilbert condensed the eight-volume official biography into this one volume work, which blends accounts of Churchill's public and private lives. Gilbert concludes that: "His finest hour was the leadership of Britain when it was most isolated, most threatened, and most weak; when his own courage, determination, and belief in democracy became at one with the nation."