Volume II of the magisterial eight-volume biography takes Churchill’s story from his entry to Parliament in 1901 to the outbreak of war in 1914. When he took his seat in the House of Commons, he was 26 years old. An independent spirit and rebel, on his maiden speech he was cheered by the Leader of the Opposition.

On May 31, 1904, three years after entering Parliament, Churchill joined the Liberals. In December 1905 he entered the government as Under-Secretary of State for the Colonies.  In April 1908 he joined the Cabinet as the President of the Board of Trade. On September 12, 1908, he married Miss Clementine Hozier.  Their daughter Diana was born in 1909 and their son Randolph in 1911.

In the years leading up to the First World War, Churchill was at the center of British political life and change. At the Home Office he introduced substantial prison reforms and took a lead in curbing the powers of the House of Lords. At the Admiralty from 1911 he helped build the Royal Navy into a formidable fighting force. He learned to fly and founded the Royal Naval Air Service. He was active in attempts to resolve the Irish Question and to prevent civil war in Ireland.

In 1914, as war in Europe loomed, Churchill wrote to his wife from the Admiralty: “The preparations have a hideous fascination for me, yet I would do my best for peace and nothing would induce me wrongfully to strike the blow.  I cannot feel that we in this island are in any serious degree responsible for the wave of madness which has swept over the mind of Christendom.”

When war came, the fleet was ready. It was one of Churchill’s greatest achievements.

Randolph S. Churchill, the only son of Winston Churchill, was born on May 28, 1911. Educated at Eton and Christ Church Oxford, he became a widely read journalist in the 1930s, reporting at first hand on the German elections of 1932 and warning of Hitler’s military ambitions.  In the 1930s he fought three vigorous but unsuccessful campaigns to enter Parliament. In World War II, he served as an intelligence officer at General Headquarters, Middle East, and in the Special Forces in the Western Desert. In 1944, he volunteered to the parachute behind enemy lines to serve as a liaison officer with the Yugoslav partisans. For his war services, he was awarded the MBE (Military). For the five war years he was a Member of Parliament for Preston.  Between 1938 and 1961 he edited six volumes of his father’s speeches. His own books include The Rise and Fall of Sir Anthony Eden; Lord Derby, King of Lancashire; The Six Day War, a history of the six-day Arab-Israeli war of 1967, written with his son, Winston; and the first two main and five document volumes of the biography of his father: Youth, 18741900 and Young Statesman, 19011914. A trustee of the Winston Churchill Memorial Trust and an Honorary Fellow of Churchill College, Cambridge, Randolph Churchill died at his home Stour, East Bergholt, Suffolk, on June 6, 1968.