I recently finished reading – no, devoured – Candice Millard’s Hero of the Empire .
It is an account of the early life of Winston Churchill and a favor you must do yourself. I read it in two sittings and would have finished it in one if it wasn’t for the need for sleep.
A book of history for the Logic stage
If you have read my book The Classical Unschooler, you know that I follow the classical system of grammar, logic and rhetoric rather than grade levels in our homeschool.
Hero of the Empire is everything I love about history and an excellent addition to the logic stage. Especially if your child is (or you are!) into war history. It follows the trajectory of the Boer wars and Churchill’s role in it and is chock full of various connections in otherwise discrete (but important!) names.
We meet, within the length of this book, Churchill as a boy and later as a young man, Gandhi, Rudyard Kipling and also Arthur Conan Doyle. We also learn a little bit about the Burberry coat and how it was made especially for the African weather. Yes, that same Burberry that is now ridiculously expensive.
Isn’t this fascinating?
Not Hero Worship
As I’ve mentioned before, one thing I sincerely hate about books of history is hero worship. I also do not like books that attempt to make up facts based on limited information. Thankfully, this book does not have those two problems.
It makes no attempt to hide Churchill’s arrogance, his father’s badly timed reports about the Boers or his mother’s affairs. But we still come away entranced by the events that followed because of the central character. This is the stuff of the best literature and here it is – all true!
Assign it to your children in the logic or rhetoric stage – or better yet – read it yourself. Your world will be richer for it.