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I find Winston Churchill very interesting and have read a lot of his books and the Roy Jenkins biography. You might think I didn't need to read another biography, but I was intrigued by this slim volume and found the first couple of sentences interesting, so I got it.


I'm very glad I did. This is not a book for the details or minutiae of Churchill's life. Johnson gives a lot of facts, but the best part of the book is his repeated evaluations of Churchill's actions and results (other people come in for evaluation, too, but the focus is obviously Churchill). In his discussion about WWII, he asks "Did Churchill save Britain?" He gives a 10-point evaluation and answers


At the very end, he gives 5 lessons that we can learn from Churchill's life. They were so good that I read them aloud to my 12-year old son.

1. Always aim high. 2. There is no substitute for hard work. 3. Never allow mistakes to get you down. 4. Do not waste your time and energy on the meanness of life, such as recrimination, shifting blame onto others, malice, revenge-seeking, etc. 5. Take as much joy as you can from life.



Johnson writes extremely well. It was a pleasure to read this book. In fact, I would recommend reading this book before reading a long biography (or auto-biography) because it would help give you a framework to read the longer works.

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