During the 10 years between Winston Churchill's years in Parliament and the outbreak of WWII, the future Prime Minister spent his time researching the Duke of Marlborough and publishing a four-volume biography of the man and his time as a general against the expanding forces of King Louis XIV of France. During his time researching the era, Winston started to see parallels between King Louis' nation and another growing power, that of Hitler's National Socialist Party in Germany, and he started to realize that history could very well repeat itself.
Starkey's in-depth documentary not only recounts Winston Churchill's research of his ancestor and what the 1st Duke of Marlborough went through, but he also discusses the modern man's path that led him to becoming the leader the allied forces would need in order to end WWII. He discusses how Churchill not only recognized how the past resonated with the pre-WWII world, but also how he distributed his biography in order to make the public as aware of the coming times as possible. Starkey also points out that the writings not only showed Winston Churchill to be a politician, but it showed his own knowledge of military strategy and Starkey believes that this was key to Winston Churchill not only becoming the right man for the job, but also convincing the public that he should be the one in power when the time came.
I learned a lot during this documentary. I have to say though, my knowledge of Winston Churchill is rather lacking, so pretty much any information presented to me is new, much less information about his ancestor and the Duke's campaigns against King Louis XIV. That being said, Starkey expertly draws the parallels between the two people and their wars in a way that makes it hard to know if Winston Churchill's 10-year effort at creating the biography was a happy coincidence or if Churchill had already recognized the commonalities between the two periods and started the biography in order to get people to notice the growing threat in Germany.
If you have even a passing interest in WWII or Winston Churchill, then The Churchills is a fascinating documentary on not only the leader of England during the time, but also his ancestor and that Duke's role in shaping the Prime Minister.