The Half-Century: I MADE VERY LITTLE PROGRESS

It is said that famous men are usually the product of unhappy childhood. The stern compression of circumstances, the twinges of adversity, the spur of slights and taunts in early years, are needed to evoke that ruthless fixity of purpose and tenacious motherwit without which great actions are seldom accomplished.

—Winston Churchill, describing the childhood of his great ancestor, John, Duke of Marlborough

Modern psychologists and pedagogues would call Winston Churchill's childhood far from ideal. His early picture of his mother: "In a riding habit, fitting like a skin and often beautifully spotted with...

Want the full story?

Subscribe Now

Subscribe
Subscribe

Get TIME the way you want it

  • One Week Digital Pass — $4.99
  • Monthly Pay-As-You-Go DIGITAL ACCESS$2.99
  • One Year ALL ACCESSJust $30!   Best Deal!
    Print Magazine + Digital Edition + Subscriber-only Content on TIME.com

Learn more about the benefits of being a TIME subscriber

If you are already a subscriber sign up — registration is free!