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The common perception of Churchill is that of politician—not a man of action. But, between the ages of twenty and twenty-five, Churchill was a globetrotting journalist whose exploits rival any Indiana Jones adventure. His experiences were both enthralling and horrific. Take, for example, the Battle of Omdurman on September 2, Churchill was commissioned with the 21st Lancers and took part in an epic cavalry charge against several thousand Sudanese warriors.
He described the carnage in the Morning Post seven days later:. The Dervishes stood their ground manfully. They tried to hamstring the horses. They fired their rifles, pressing their muzzles into the very bodies of their opponents. They cut bridle-reins and stirrup-leathers.
Simon Read presents 'Winston Churchill Reporting: Adventures of a Young War Correspondent'
They would not budge until they were knocked over. They stabbed and hacked with savage pertinacity.
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Many horses pecked on landing or stumbled in the press and the man that fell was pounced on by a dozen merciless foes. Such episodes shaped the leader he was destined to become and gave birth to several popular Churchillian vices. In Havana in , he developed his passion for Cuban cigars. Two years later, on the North-West Frontier—in what is now the border region between Pakistan and Afghanistan—Churchill came to love whisky, preferring the spirit over the more mundane army camp offerings of cold tea and tepid water.
Most importantly, his years reporting on war shaped his complicated views on the subject.
The complexity and scope of war, and the adrenaline rush of combat enthralled him, but he abhorred the blood cost. The fighting he saw there rarely became anything more than a skirmish and only stoked his appetite for more.
It was, in many ways, a strange game, bringing fame and honor to some, the thrill of adventure and the priceless gift of experience, while it robbed others of everything they had. Following the Battle of Omdurman, Churchill walked among the Dervish casualties and was appalled by what he saw. Bodies littered the desert plain.
This Is What Helped Make Churchill Churchill | History News Network
The dead, in some places, lay two or three deep and completely obscured the ground. Many wounded writhed among the corpses rotting beneath a blazing sun. Wrote Churchill for the Morning Post:. When his father died in , Winston was left with a good name but not enough funds to pay for the social lifestyle he thought he deserved. Journalism appeared to offer him the opportunity to travel, make money, and satisfy his desire for military adventure.
In , the future prime minister began by reporting on the native Cuban insurgency.
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He used his name and social connections to attach himself to the Spanish forces. His escape helped Churchill sell more books, made him a celebrity, and facilitated his election to Parliament in Born in Britain, he served as a newspaper reporter before moving to California and turning to write about history.
Winston Churchill reporting : adventures of a young war correspondent
He is, however, careful to insist that this book is not a history. Rather, it is intended as a well-written synthesis of both secondary and primary sources. Read utilizes a form of endnotes, but they are linked only to a source, not a specific set of words. Generally, this works well, but there are moments when the author stumbles.