Randall Payleitner


Book Review #1: Churchill

Some books beg to be underlined. In what might be the most efficient biography I’ve ever read, Paul Johnson re-introduces the preeminent leader of the 20th Century to the 21st—in only 166 pages.

Johnson splits Sir Winston Churchill’s life into 7 parts. Each epoch gives a glimpse of the preparation for what would be the critical 1940-1945 window, in which Churchill would save/create the world as we know it.

Churchill hated Citizen Kane. He hunted wild boar. And, he wrote his own WWII memoirs—at a length in excess of 2 million words (read that book if you’ve got a few extra months of vacation time). Read this one (in a long weekend) if you want to understand perseverance, leadership, decision-making, crisis management, and humor in the context of an extraordinary and complex life.

Pivotal Excerpt:

Churchill had an uncanny gift for getting priorities right. For a statesman in time of war it is the finest possible virtue. “Jock” Colvile, his personal secretary, said, “Churchill’s greatest intellectual gift was for picking on essentials and concentrating on them.” But these essentials were always directed toward the destruction of the enemy. (123)


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