Dr David Starkey tells the story of Britain's greatest general, John Churchill, first Duke of Marlborough through the lens of the four-volume biography written by his descendant, Winston Churchill, in the 1930s. Moving back and forth between the 18th- and 20th-centuries, David Starkey explores Winston Churchill the historian and argues that writing about the ancestor who led the global alliance against Louis XIV of France was essential preparation for the man who would soon lead the alliance against Hitler's Germany.
Historian David Starkey describes how Winston Churchill drew on the lessons of his ancestor John to lead the UK through World War II. At two key moments, the prime minister's strategic sense helped avert disaster, and in both decisions, the influence of the Duke of Marlborough is apparent. Starkey argues that it was Winston's ability to control events by giving them a narrative meaning that enabled him to shape world history long after his fall from power.