"The point of the Churchill Factor is that one man can make all the difference."
Marking the fiftieth 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 twentieth 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 embraced large-scale strategic 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 reading for anyone who wants to know what makes a great leader.
Review by Boris Johnson (The Telegraph):
If you are looking for one of the decisive moments in the last world war, and a turning-point in the history of the world, then come with me. Let us go to a dingy room in the House of Commons.
The décor is predictable: green leather and brass studs; heavy coarse-grained oak panelling and Pugin wallpaper; a few prints, slightly squiffily hung. And, on the afternoon of May 28 1940, smoke: because in those days many politicians – including our hero, Winston Churchill – were indefatigable consumers of tobacco. Most members of the public would easily have been able to recognise the main characters. There were seven of them in all, and they were the War Cabinet of Britain.
This was their ninth meeting since May 26, and they had yet to come up with an answer to the existential question that faced the world.
These days we dimly believe that the Second World War was won with Russian blood and American money; and though that is in some ways true, it is also true that, without Winston Churchill, Hitler would almost certainly have won. At several moments he was the beaver who dammed the flow of events; and never did he affect the course of history more profoundly than in 1940.
Churchill was in the chair at that meeting. On one side was Neville Chamberlain, the high-collared, stiff-necked and toothbrush-moustached ex-prime minister, and the man Churchill had unceremoniously replaced. Then there was Lord Halifax, the tall, cadaverous foreign secretary; he had been Chamberlain’s choice of successor. There was Archibald Sinclair, the leader of the Liberal Party that Churchill had dumped. There were Clement Attlee and Arthur Greenwood – representatives of the Labour Party against which he had directed some of his most hysterical invective. There was the cabinet secretary, Sir Edward Bridges, taking notes... (read more at: http://www.telegraph.co.uk/history/world-war-two/11157482/The-day-Churchill-saved-Britain-from-the-Nazis.html)