Visual Summary of Key Events From the Book Hero of the Empire, by Candace Millard
One out of five stars
The public life of Winston Churchill is both long and extremely complex, ill-suited to be explained in a few words and pictures. His role as British Prime Minister during World War II would take several thick volumes to explain.
While his early years in India and what was to become South Africa were not as complex, they are still significant, as they thrust him into the public eye and propelled him to a seat in Parliament. Therefore, it is almost impossible for any short book to adequately the events to the reader.
This summary is constructed from a set of images with short sentences of explanatory text and fails to deliver a miracle of explanation. There is mention of the First and Second Boer War, but no explanation as to the reason for the two wars. If the reader does not know history, they will be in the dark as to what they were about.
For example, there is a page where the image is of an artillery piece and a tree and the caption is “1880-81 First Boer War.” No mention as to where it took place or who the protagonists were. It would have been a dramatic improvement if the image would have been of Southern Africa with the zone of fighting colored. A second sentence giving the cause would have dramatically improved the understanding.
A lot of the history of Churchill was made in the years between 1910 and 1940, yet the gap between those years is complete in this summary. The entry for 1910 is about the creation of the Union of South Africa and the entry for 1940 is about Churchill being named British Prime Minister for World War II.
The caption for this entry is incorrect. It says, “ May 1940, Churchill becomes Prime Minister of the UK on the eve of World War II.” In fact, World War II in Europe started on September 1, 1939 when Germany invaded Poland and Great Britain declared war on Germany two days later. Churchill was named Prime Minister as a consequence of the collapse of the western front in France and Belgium. Therefore, the caption is off by nine eventful months. This is an inexcusable error.
This visual summary gives very little of the history of Churchill, what the reader sees is generally his successes. There is nothing about his failures during World War I or the interwar years where he was often considered a crank outsider.