Winston Churchill Publishes 'Marlborough: His Life and Times

Marlborough: His Life and Times was a panegyric biography written by Winston Churchill about John Churchill, 1st Duke of Marlborough.

Churchill was a descendant of the duke.
The book comprises four volumes, the first of which appeared in October 1933 (557 pages, 200,000 words) with subsequent volumes in 1934, 1936 and 1938. The publisher was George G Harrup, who in 1929 agreed an advance of £10,000 for the publishing rights, topping the offer made by Churchill's customary publishers, Thornton Butterworth. The American publisher, Scribner's, paid £5000 advance for USA publishing rights. At that time Churchill envisaged writing 180,000 to 250,000 words to be published in no more than two volumes. Cumulative sales of the first volume were 17,000 copies, 15,000 for the second and 10,000 for the third and fourth, which was a respectable though not exceptional performance for such a work.

It is my hope to recall this great shade from the past, and not only invest him with his panoply, but make him living and intimate to modern eyes.”

— Winston Churchill

The best English general of his generation. Marlborough was the son of a minor politician. He married Sarah Jennings, a famous beauty and a close friend of Princess (later Queen) Anne, the daughter of James II. He first saw service at sea under the duke of York (later James II) in 1672, and during the third Anglo-Dutch war (1672-74) fought with Turenne against the Dutch, commanding an English regiment at the battle of Enzheim (4 October 1674). In 1685, James II came to the throne. Immediately, James faced Monmouth's rebellion. Marlborough served as second in command of the army that defeated Monmouth, under the earl of Feversham, an elderly nephew of Turenne who had spent some time in English service. James only kept the throne for three years. Marlborough was not directly involved in the 1688 plot to place William III on the throne, but he and his wife were know to be convinced Protestants and were expected to quickly join a serious revolt.