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Almost everyone loves a good adventure story and nearly as many of us enjoy a great biography.  For the past decade, Candice Millard has made it her mission to combine the two in the form of compelling narratives about important historical figures.

Her 2005 book about Theodore Roosevelt – “The River of Doubt: Theodore Roosevelt’s Darkest Journey” – was a New York Times bestseller focused on TR’s nearly 1000-mile journey along a largely unexplored river flowing through Brazil’s Amazon basin (My review: 4½ stars)

Her 2011 “Destiny of the Republic: A Tale of Madness, Medicine and the Murder of a President” shined a fascinating light on the life, and death, of one of our least known presidents. If you’ve never read a biography of Garfield, you should – you might come away fervently wishing he was alive to appear on this year’s presidential ballot. (My review: 4 stars)

I thoroughly enjoyed both of these presidential “narratives” (they are not traditional, comprehensive biographies) so it is with no small amount of glee that I see Millard’s next book is due out on September 20: “Hero of the Empire: The Boer War, a Daring Escape, and the Making of Winston Churchill.”

This book covers just a single year in the life of Winston Churchill – 1899 – but posits that the year’s events (including his daring escape as a POW) were instrumental in shaping the leader he grew into. As I wrap up my nine-month journey through the best biographies of Franklin D. Roosevelt, I’ve become convinced that one of the first historical figures I must read about after completing the U.S. presidents is…Winston Churchill.

And although this is far from a traditional biography of Churchill, I’ve heard from two regular visitors to my website who received advance copies that this book is utterly spellbinding.  I can’t wait to find out myself!

An interesting interview of Millard appeared in Friday’s “Fall Book Preview” section of The Wall Street Journal and can be found online here.

We now return to regular programming…

 

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