Hero of the Empire: The Boer War, a Daring Escape and the Making of Winston Churchill by Candice Millard, 381 pages.
There are, of course, plenty of books about Churchill out there, and this includes several very well-written accounts of this earlier part of Churchill's life. Manchester's first volume, The Last Lion: Visions of Glory, 1874-1932, is the first to spring to mind. But Millard, who is an excellent, enjoyable, and informative author, makes it all seem fresh. She does a wonderful job of conveying Churchill's almost irrational belief in his invulnerability and his sense of destiny. The fact that he turned out to be right, not just about his destiny, but also about this particular time, the end of the nineteenth century, as the vaunted British army was getting slapped around by the Boers. Churchill's story, his vanity, his blind courage (sometimes selfless, sometimes selfishly putting others at risk), and his perseverance, is well-told here. Fans of history, Churchill, escape tales, and interesting, fast-moving nonfiction will enjoy.