Books

Top 5 books about Winston Churchill, selected by historian David Reynolds

Generations of biographers have been attracted to Churchill. Historian and broadcaster David Reynolds is the latest – here's his top five

Black and white image of Winston Churchill

Image: Yousuf Karsh, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons

From comprehensive biographies to introductions for children, historian and broadcaster David Reynolds selects five books about former prime minister Winston Churchill.

Churchill: Walking with Destiny by Andrew Roberts

A huge but highly readable life by a master of heroic biography. Not uncritical, but depicting what others consider Churchill’s failures to be learning experiences that fortified him along destiny’s road.  

Churchill by Roy Jenkins 

Now two decades old and not a work of original research, but valuable because of the author’s own insights as a parliamentarian, a former chancellor and an accomplished author – not to mention their shared appreciation of food and drink. 

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Churchill: The Unexpected Hero by Paul Addison

Ideal for those who want a fairly short introduction to this very big man, authored by a professional historian who had a deep knowledge and understanding of 20th-century British politics and society. 

First Lady: The Life and Wars of Clementine Churchill by Sonia Purnell

Clementine called Winston her “life’s work”. This vivid and moving book shows what it cost her (and her children), what she did for him and also what their marriage did for her.  

Winston Churchill by Katie Daynes 

This very short introduction – from the Usborne Famous Lives series for those aged nine to 13 – is a good place to start for budding Churchllians. 

David Reynolds is a historian and broadcaster.

Mirrors of Greatness book cover

Mirrors of Greatness: Churchill And The Leaders Who Shaped Him by David Reynolds is out on 12 October (Harper Collins, £25).

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