The Churchill Factor: How One Man Made History by Boris Johnson
The point of The Churchill Factor is that one man can make all the difference.
On the eve of the 50th anniversary of Winston Churchill’s death, Boris Johnson explores what makes up the ‘Churchill Factor’ – the singular brilliance of one of the most important leaders of the 20th century.
Taking on the myths and misconceptions along with the outsized reality, he portrays – with characteristic wit and passion – a man of multiple contradictions, contagious bravery, breath-taking eloquence, matchless strategizing, and deep humanity.
Fearless on the battlefield, Churchill had to be ordered by the King to stay out of action on D-Day; he pioneered aerial bombing, yet hated the destruction of war and scorned politicians who had not experienced its horrors.
He was a celebrated journalist, a great orator, and won the Nobel Prize for Literature. He was famous for his ability to combine wining and dining with many late nights of crucial wartime decision-making. His open-mindedness made him a pioneer in health care, education, and social welfare, though he remained incorrigibly politically incorrect. Most of all, as Boris Johnson says, ‘Churchill is the resounding human rebuttal to all who think history is the story of vast and impersonal economic forces.’
The Churchill Factor is a book to be enjoyed not only by anyone interested in history; it is essential listening for anyone who wants to know what makes a great leader.
Written by Boris Johnson
Read by Simon Shepherd
Praise for The Churchill Factor:
“[The Churchill Factor] isn’t another potted biography. . . . [Johnson] clearly admires his subject, and his book has a boyish, innocent quality that is also an essential part of Mr. Johnson’s political appeal.”
—The Wall Street Journal
“Buoyant, quick-witted and vastly entertaining.” —The Economist
“A lively, and pertinent, introduction . . . Johnson has painted his portrait of Churchill with light, learning, and good sense, a wise aggregation of present and past.” —The Weekly Standard
“Fascinating . . . [Johnson’s] interpretation of [Churchill] is interesting on every page.” —Freakonomics
“A bravura performance . . . Johnson has not only celebrated Churchill in this book: he has emulated him with comparable panache.” —Financial Times
“A full-throated celebration of human greatness and perhaps the best (and certainly the funniest) . . . introduction to Churchill yet written . . . delightful and effervescent.” —The Daily Beast
“Filled with vivid observations.” —The Washington Post
“A characteristically breathless romp through the life and times of our greatest wartime leader, Winston Churchill . . . as high on entertainment as it is on providing an appraisal of the great man’s achievements . . . Johnson’s distinctive writing style is unlike any other used in the countless books that have been written on Churchill . . . It reads at times like a mixture of Monty Python and the Horrible Histories.” —The Telegraph (4 stars)
“An interesting study of a truly fascinating historical figure . . . [Johnson] is a good, sound writer with a very distinct, unique voice . . . It is as if [he] were sitting with you on a long night in a pub over pints telling you everything he knows and think of Churchill.” —Pop Mythology
“Johnson has knocked this project out of the park. With this book Johnson has not only managed to create the most readable non-fiction prose I have read all year, but he has managed to clarify myth, destroy recent revisionism and unearth new material. The book amuses and educates in equal measure with a deftness of touch and lightness of learning that is beyond most people. He has done this while holding down one of the country’s busiest and most high-profile jobs.” —Quadrapheme
“[The Churchill Factor] is both paean of praise and irreverent romp, with analysis of Churchill’s smorgasbord of achievements . . . Its stress on the importance of political bravery, and doing what is morally right, rather than what the polls and press dictate, is a timeless message.” —The Jewish Chronicle
“Combine[s] bathos with humour and a welcome clarity of historical argument . . . there is much to commend in this spirited, entertaining tale.” —The Guardian
“The Churchill Factor would have been a worthy contribution without the political overtones. Like Sir Winston—who somehow published 43 books (and won the 1953 Nobel Prize for Literature) while not busy leading the defeat of Hitler—Mr. Johnson is a superb writer. Despite the heavy subject matter, The Churchill Factor is a light and quick read . . . [Johnson’s] brisk style of writing . . . helps keep the book moving, challenging readers with occasional get-out-your-dictionary words and rewarding them with the odd belly laugh.” —Globe and Mail
“Like all Johnson’s work [The Churchill Factor] is beautifully written, particularly as, in this case, he rises to the linguistic standards set by his subject . . . it is clear that he not only admires Churchill enormously, but that he was also determined to make a really good job of a timely reassessment on the eve of the 50th anniversary of Churchill’s death.” —Saga Magazine
“Churchill’s own energy—his indefatigable pursuit of excitement, glory, place and power—demands a writer of fizz and passion to do history justice. Johnson is that writer.” —Mail on Sunday
“Irresistible . . . chatty, enthusiastic and as funny as you would expect.” —The Spectator
“Riveting. It would be a fascinating read [even] without the Johnson Factor—[but] Boris is a superb, accessible writer, with an easy, good-humoured touch. . . . The result is entertaining, informative and teasing.” —The Independent
“Readable, engaging and often funny.” —Evening Standard
“While there are many accounts of Winston Churchill and his political savvy, one would be remiss to ignore this sprightly written volume. . . . Johnson’s history of Churchill is well crafted, amply researched, and a pleasure to read.” —Library Journal
“Reading about Churchill is always a delight, and Johnson is an accomplished, accessible writer.”
About the Author
Boris Johnson is the very popular and internationally known mayor of London. Educated at Oxford, he began his career as a journalist, writing for The Times and The Telegraph (for whom he still contributes a regular column), and working his way up to editor of The Spectator. He is also the author of Johnson’s Life of London. He was elected to the House of Commons in 2001 and served there until he was elected mayor in 2008. He lives in London with his wife and four children.