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Posted on Nov 10, 2008 in Carlo D'Este, War College

Warlord – A Life of Winston Churchill at War Debuts

By Carlo D'Este

Churchill and Gen. Sir Bernard Montgomery congratulate members of the 79th Armored Division during a visit to the 2nd Army section in March 1945. National Archives.

Churchill possessed an unfulfilled, lifelong ambition to become a warrior-hero in the Napoleonic mold.

When it takes nearly six years to research, write, edit and produce a book, it is sometimes easy to lose sight of the forest for the trees. My life since the summer of 2002 has been dominated by the towering presence of Winston Spencer Churchill, the leader who guided Britain through the darkest days in her history.


On more than one occasion I’ve asked myself what the heck I’ve gotten myself into. The ambitious project of relating the story of Churchill’s military life became like a marathon and gave new meaning to the phrase “one day at a time.”

I’m pleased to note that the finish line is finally here. HarperCollins will publish WARLORD: A Life of Winston Churchill at War on November 11. For those living overseas who may read this article, Penguin UK will publish a British edition in April 2009.

I offer a special thanks to Armchair General for their terrific support of my work in general and this book in particular. I’m pleased and proud to be associated with this magazine. Editor in Chief Jerry Morelock and publisher Eric Weider have been genuinely supportive and I sincerely thank them.

All of us connected with the magazine were saddened to learn of the recent death of Eric’s dad, Ben Weider. In addition to having been a founding pioneer in the field of bodybuilding, Ben was a phenomenally successful businessman and philanthropist. He was also a scholar and as the world’s foremost authority on Napoleon was awarded France’s prestigious Legion of Honor for his work. A wonderful life, well lived.

I suspect Ben would have approved of the words of the English writer and poet, Charles Kingsley:

. . . let those who will be clever;
Do noble things, not dream them, all day long;
And so make Life, and Death, and that For Ever
One grand sweet song.
(A Farewell, 1856)

* * *

To commemorate the launching of Warlord, I’m reproducing the introduction, which will provide some background and insight about both the book and Churchill’s extraordinary military career.

Long before he became a statesman, Winston Churchill was first a soldier. War and soldiering were in his blood: from his first fantasies as a youth, to its practice as a young man, and later, its direction as Britain’s wartime leader. 
His fascination with soldiering began at an early age in his nursery, with his army of toy soldiers with which he waged fantasy battles. His early experiences as a young cavalry officer and war correspondent took him to far and exotic places and exposed him to war in its many forms, including all of its gruesome horrors. Even as prime minister and one of the world’s most powerful men during World War II, Churchill never lost his love of soldiering, often lamenting that he had missed his calling by not winning fame as a battlefield warrior.

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1 Comment

  1. ACG selected Carlo D’Este’s outstanding new biography, Warlord,
    as one of our ‘must buy’ books in our Holiday Shopping Guide in
    the upcoming Jan 09 issue of ACG (on sale in mid-November).

    As the former Executive Director of the Winston Churchill
    Memorial and Library at Westminster College in Fulton, MO (site
    of Churchill’s famous 1946 ‘Iron Curtain’ speech), I’ve read my
    share of Churchill biographies. But, I can say without reservation
    that Carlo D’Este’s new Warlord has to rank at the top of the list.
    Warlord’s incredibly well researched examination of Churchill as
    man and soldier forms the basis for truly understanding
    Churchill the world statesman. In my opinion, what Carlo D’Este
    reveals in Warlord is absolutely critical for a true appreciation of
    Churchill’s wartime leadership in World War II.

    Warlord is the Bookshelf subject in our upcoming March 09 issue
    (available in mid-January 09).

    Jerry Morelock
    Editor in Chief, Armchair General Magazine


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