Monday, February 24, 2014

Churchill's First War: Young Winston At War With The Afghans

Gary Anderson offers a review in the Washington Times of Conn Coughlin's Churchill's First War: Young Winston at War With the Afghans.

With the possible exception of his archenemy Adolf Hitler, Winston Churchill saw more front-line combat than any leader of the 20th century as a young man. Con Coughlin’s excellent new book chronicles young Winston's first real taste of battle and its formative influence on one of the great leaders of the British Empire.

Churchill had mapped out his life at an early age, and with his legendary sense of purpose, he achieved and exceeded his early ambitions.

... Acting as a soldier-journalist, he got his chance for combat, in a brief and brutal campaign with the Malakand Field Force’s punitive expedition against Pashtun insurgents on the northwest frontier with Afghanistan.

The climax of the book is the battle of Shahi-Tangi, where Churchill came very close to being killed in close combat, but he was “mentioned in dispatches” for heroism. It was the next best thing to getting a medal. Although he would become much better known for his adventures in the South African Boer War, Churchill had begun the reputation as a soldier-journalist that would be the springboard to his political career.

You can read the rest of the review via the below link:

1 comment:

  1. Isn't it fascinating that so many countries over time have been seduced into thinking that the control or pacification of Afghanistan is a sensible military objective? My first introduction to this concept was through fiction: Dr. Watson, in the first Holmes novel, has just returned from Afghanistan. I now shudder when I think about how many men and women have been lost or horribly wounded because of a foolish notion involving Afghanistan. With a better endgame strategy, things could have turned out much better. How much do you want to bet that Afghanistan's future involves another country's bone-headed involvement?