The October 6, 1897 edition of the Daily Telegraph carried an article headlined “The War in the Indian Highlands” with the byline “By a Young Officer.” The young officer was Winston Churchill who was then accompanying the Malakand Field Force in the dual role of army officer and war correspondent. Much to his disappointment, his mother had decided it was appropriate to publish her son’s articles from India anonymously in order to prevent him getting into “trouble” with the authorities. Thus Churchill was denied the publicity he had sought with which he had hoped to bring “himself before the electorate.” The article was one of the first he wrote for the newspapers and the first he wrote for the Daily Telegraph. According to the Bibliography of the Writings of Sir Winston Churchill by Ronald I. Cohen, Churchill proceeded to write 316 articles for the Daily Telegraph during his career. These include the serialization of his Second World War for which he probably received £250,000.
Winston Churchill at the Telegraph considers Churchill’s relationship with the newspaper through a collection of 61 articles that originally appeared in the publication. The volume is edited by Dr. Warren Dockter, author of Churchill and the Islamic World, and is arranged in 14 thematic chapters. Articles include pieces by Churchill (“Politicians were Right and Admirals Wrong,” “Mr Churchill on the Abuse of the ‘Dole,” “France’s New Government”), news reports about Churchill, and reviews of Churchill’s books.
The most useful chapter in the book is “Churchill’s Postscript” which includes five articles by Churchill from 1958 in which he declared his intention was “to look back and express my view on some of the major events” of recent years. These reflections were reprinted in the concise edition of Churchill’s war memoirs but are little known.
Winston Churchill at the Telegraph is an interesting volume which provides an understanding of the course of Churchill’s long turbulent life as it starts with the young officer in India and concludes with the thoughtful articles the newspaper published at the time of his death more than 67 years later.