Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Review : Churchill

Author: Paul Johnson
Format: audio - 4 discs ( 4 hrs, 40 min) 192 pgs equivalent
Subject: Winston Churchill
Genre: biography
Source: audio book, public library
Challenge: Audio Books, Support your local library

Paul Johnson is one of my favorite writer/historians. He has the ability to present his material in a manner that is both intelligent and readable. This was a refreshing and short biography of Churchill focusing on his political career.

It is obvious from the beginning that Johnson is a devotee, and he mentions several times that he actually met and spoke with him, but still in all the book is fairly objective. I found the chapter where he discusses Churchill's immense power held during WWII quite thought provoking. He poses the question "Did Churchill save Britain?" and the presents 10 reasons why he would answer in the affirmative. The book is worth reading for that chapter alone.

I was fascinated to read that Churchill stood for Parliament under six different 'labels': Conservative, Liberal, Coalition, Constitutionalist, Unionist, and National Conservative. I knew about his service as a journalist, 1st Sea Lord, and Chancellor of the Exchequer, but some other achievements were new to me.  I heartily approve of Churchill's answer to the question: "To what do you attribute your success in life?"

Without pause or hesitation he replied: "Conservation of energy. Never stand up when you can sit down. Never sit down when you can lie down."

This is a well-written and well-researched biography touching on the high points of the life of a great statesman. It can stand alone or serve as the jumping off point for more in-depth studies. It certainly made me want to pull out a few of Churchill's books sitting on our shelves and read them.  He is credited with writing between 8 and 10 million words in his lifetime.  I think I'll look for a few thousand to start with.


  1. No wonder I find Churchill fascinating. That quote fits me to a tee! :)

  2. I don't know much about Churchill, so I'll keep this one in mind. I hope it's okay that I linked to your review on the Book Reviews: WWII page on War Through the Generations.

    Diary of an Eccentric


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