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How Many Books Did Winston Churchill Write?

How Many Books Did Winston Churchill Write?

Suppose you wanted to read, or decided to collect, all the books written by Sir Winston Leonard Spencer Churchill. Statesman, politician, soldier, writer, winner of the Nobel Prize for Literature, and generally regarded as the man who saved Western Civilization. How many titles would you read? How many volumes? How many would you have to purchase? Well, google, go to this website listing or that, count the titles, count the volumes, and you have your number. Or do you?

Ah, it all depends on which definition of “books written by Winston Churchill” you accept. With the understanding that you might come up with something completely different, here’s what I found: Winston Churchill wrote 33 books in 51 volumes. He also wrote 38 books comprising 58 volumes. That is, unless he wrote 43 books in 72 volumes, or maybe 73.

Let’s start with the 33 books everybody agrees on. (You will find fuller, more authoritative descriptions at the websites I’ll list in a subsequent blog post.):

  1. The Story of the Malakand Field Force (1898) – At age 22, Churchill was a both a lieutenant in the British cavalry and a war correspondent sending home dispatches about a rebellion along India’s Afghan frontier. Not much has changed in that part of the world
  2. The River War (1899) – 2 volumes. “More blood and guts reportage by young Winston,” says one authority of Churchill’s epic account of the British conquest of the Sudan. Winston had fun being a soldier, but he disapproved of much of much that went on.
  3. Savrola (1899) – Churchill actually wrote one novel. Disappointing results turned him back to non-fiction, but he did later try his hand at short stories.
  4. London to Ladysmith via Pretoria (1900) – Churchill loved soldiering, but he joined the army (and wrote newspaper dispatches) to become famous and grease his entry into politics. He succeeded beyond expectations by getting captured by South Africa’s Boers and then escaping. An exciting account.
  5. Ian Hamilton’s March (1900) – Back with the Army, Churchill joins the march to victory. These two books have recently been reprinted as one under the title “The Boer War.”
  6. Mr. Broderick’s Army (1903) – Having made it to Parliament, Churchill now turns his literary gift to public speaking. This is his first collection. Lots more to come.
  7. Lord Randolph Churchill (1906) in 2 volumes – Winston may have been coldly ignored by his father, but the son remained devoted. This is Winston’s passionate defense of a brilliant and unstable Victorian politician.
  8. For Free Trade (1906) – The second collection of speeches.
  9. My African Journey (1908) – A travelogue
  10. Liberalism and the Social Problem (1909) – Churchill started and ended as a Tory, the UK’s conservative party. But he made his first major impact as a Liberal pushing the enactment of social reforms, including unemployment insurance.
  11. The People’s Rights (1910) – more speeches from the Liberal party perspective.
  12. The World Crisis (1923-1931) – published in 5 volumes, one of which is in two parts, so 6 volumes on your shelf! – The First World War, seen from the unique perspective of the only man to erve at the highest level of government AND to fight as an officer in the trenches. Former Prime Minster Arthur Balfour called it, “Winston’s brilliant autobiography, disguised as a history of the universe.”
  13. My Early Life (US title: A Roving Commission) (1930)How a lousy and troublesome student found his way to the threshold of great things. Entertaining.
  14. India (1931) – Britain’s foremost imperialist opposes the independence of the Empire’s “crown jewel.”
  15. Thoughts and Adventures (1932) – An anthology of Churchill’s essays and articles on a wide array of subjects.
  16. Marlborough: His Life and Times in 4 volumes (1933-1938) – This book resurrecting the reputation of Churchill’s ancestor, the first Duke of Marlborough (the man for whom Blenheim Palace was built by a grateful nation) is Winston’s greatest historical achievement. Researched and written after he had again been tossed out of government and had time on his hands.
  17. Great Contemporaries (1937) – Essays on a wide range of notables, including late Victorian statesmen, World War I generals, rising leaders like FDR and Hitler, and Lawrence of Arabia, whom Winston very much admired.
  18. Arms and the Covenant (1938) – More aptly titled While England Slept in the US, this collection of speeches warns England and the West against Hitler’s rearmament of Germany and what that meant for the prospect of war.
  19. Step by Step 1936-1939 (1939) –A collection of foreign affairs articles, again warning of the threat posed by Nazi Germany’s unmatched growing strength.

When, in 1940, Winston Churchill was asked to become the Prime Minister of His Majesty’s Government, he was already 65 and the author of 19 books in 29 volumes. His most important achievements as a writer and statesman were to come. More in Part II.