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Churchill: A Life (Penguin Lives)

3.81 of 5 stars 3.81  ·  rating details  ·  558 ratings  ·  66 reviews
The greatest politician and statesmen of the 20th century by Britain's leading military historian.
Unknown Binding, 304 pages
Published November 6th 2003 by Not Avail (first published January 1st 2002)
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(showing 1-30 of 1,224)
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Ed
Jun 03, 2010 Ed rated it 5 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: Churchill, biography and WW II enthusiasts.
One of the reasons I don't read more biographies is that they always provide me with more information than I want. I understand that the author, who has most likely spent years researching a person's life, wants to include as much of the research as possible, I'm just not sure I want to plow through so much detail.

This effort by John Keegan to deliver a short but comprehensive summary of Winston Churchill's life was a joy to read. I'm sure he used only secondary sources but he, somehow, managed
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Shelly Baird
I love history and biographies but don't often read them. I appreciated this one because it was short, well-documented and showed both his military and political careers as well as his personal life.
Dr.
Brief and to the point. Usually I don't read biographies, but this one was short enough to be enjoyable. Learned a lot about the man and happy to check another Keegan book off the list.
Patrick
Acceptable summary of Churchill's life. Much better books out there on Churchill, of course. Keegan is better as a historian than as a biographer.
Farzaneh
وینیستون چرچیل
نویسنده برندا هاوگن
انتشارات ققنوس
Andrew
Keegan's 2002 book is one of a series of retrospective looks at Winston Churchill, who himself dominated the first 30 years after World War II with his own histories of the conflict. Now, with the perspective of time and additional research, there are some very insightful books appearing.

This book is largely an overview of others' work. It is very worthwhile if the reader is unfamiliar with Churchill but there are better books for an insight into the Battle of Britain, the fall of France and ev
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David Woods
This was my first foray into biographies, so it was nice starting with one under 200 pages. It actually read pretty quickly, and I enjoyed it. There was a lot of history about what was going on while he was alive, but I guess I would have liked a little more about him personally. Maybe more excerpts from things he had written, and from his speeches. I still feel like I don't know Churchill the man really well, but I learned a lot about WWII, since my last history reading was in high school!

Also
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Brad
A small book about a big man.

Without getting bogged down with minutiae, the book covers all the significant events in Churchill's life. The first several chapters include much of his political posturing before the war. (Although certainly enlightening, I confess it was easy to get lost in parts because of my unfamiliarity with Britain's political system.)

The significant sections of his storied speeches are recorded here, and because the backstory of each is provided the speeches are all the mo
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Peter Brickwood
Good -- I like Keegan's accessible history style.
It is a relatively short read (listen in my case) with a comprehensive summary of the major influences and event is in Churchill's life. I recomend it or anyone wanting to familiarize themself with Churchill's life and times.
Keegan, who if I remember correctly was one of the children evacuated from a poor London home to an educated middle class country home, provides an intersting insight into how irrelavent "Winston" was to him. His discovery
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Drew
John Keegan's "Winston Churchill: A Life" is a gilded biography -- it shines even if it skims. Or it might not be deep but it looks good. For anyone who oversimplifies the former British Prime Minister as a cigar-chewer who gave electrifying speeches during World War II, Keegan's slim profile is an expansive intro to one of the 20th century's most iconic politicians. This book gets my vote!
Blaine Welgraven
Simple proof that vigorous writing can be concise. Keegan's charming little biography does a consistently excellent job describing the major events and character traits of Churchill, while maintaining an informative yet trim narrative. The author's ability to both synthesize key sources and systematically summarize components of Churchill's personal philosophy allow for a remarkably complete understanding, despite the work's brevity.
Ian Carmichael
Absolutely stunning writing. To cover a life like Churchill's in 200+ pages requires a crisp, methodical condensed style. And Keegan does it perfectly. I found the amount of detail Keegan could include simply remarkable, and also found it very hard to put down the book.
LawyersGunsAndMoney
An excellent introduction to Churchill. While Churchill is as deserving as anyone of a thousand-plus page biography, Keegan offers a very good summary of one of the most fascinating lives ever lived.
Joshua
This is a great short summary of Churchill's life. If you are looking for something that isn't the full comprehensive biography (That's 3,000 pages long), this is the book to read.
david
Very solid Churchill primer if you're looking to get your feet wet. Keegan's real strength is military history, and he's at his best when describing Winston the soldier and commander.
Joe
A short profile on one of the most iconic figures of the 20th century. Keegan provides a chronological account spanning the breadth of Churchill's career without being intrusive.
Jacob Lines
Very good, very short, biography of Churchill. Good place to start if you don’t know much about the great prime minister. Very well written.
David
This was a good short bio of the remarkable man known best for his time as British Prime Minister during World War II. The author is a military historian, and this book reflects that, giving good descriptions of both earlier military experiences and the leadership of the British forces during the war. But I also enjoyed the introduction to Churchill's youth and later years.

One annoyance with the audiobook for me was the reader's attempt to put on a Churchill accent when he quoted anything, even
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Raymond F.

Brought out the inner workings of Churchill and made him seem real. Really enjoyed it.
Shawn Thrasher
Short, engaging sketch of Winston Churchill. It's hard to do justice to such a colossus in an almost pithy little book (the 1930s alone could be covered by a book five or six times the size of this), but Keegan covers all the necessaries. He injects his own ideas of Churchill the aristocrat, writer, politician, husband, father, soldier, and takes pains to both point out Churchill's libertarianism and the fact that some bits and pieces of the modern welfare state in Great Britain were either prop ...more
Jill
Concise, well-written and informative, but I found it frustrating that some of the most important history was given just a passing nod. The excavation of Dunkirk was mentioned as an aside and the Battle of Britain only a short sentence. Plus many of the well-known anecdotes concerning Churchill are absent. I suppose it is too much to ask for a 200 page biography to have all the details, but the middle of the book slogs deep into British turn-of-the-century politics and I would prefer that sectio ...more
Yasha Zhurinsky
I truly enjoyed this book, it is a very nice primer to Churchill's life. Most importantly to me, Keegan tries to objectively describe different sides of Churchill's personality and how they both helped and hindered him. This biography is so much better than that by Paul Johnson that I had bought first but had to put away after the first page that says "None holds more lessons, especially for the youth: how to use a difficult childhood..". Keegan's book, in contrast to Johnson's, is inspiring wit ...more
Teri Zipf
It was interesting to hear that Churchill was not quite the Tory he was made out to be, and it's sad that when he died he was more popular here than in England. It's too bad there weren't more quotes from Himself in the book, but I heard that English copyright law is such that the Churchill estate must be paid about 40 cents for each word quoted, whether written or spoken in conversation! I'm sure that constrained the author quite a bit.
Au Yong Chee Tuck
Historians and biographers seem to have found Sir Winston Churchill as a favorite subject. The reader is spoilt for choice. He can take his pick from detailed biographies or mini biographies.
For those readers who want a concise brief biography, this work is recommended. The author has not left out the essentials of Churchill's long life. And he has also taken care not to include superfluous detail.
The result is a delightful work.
Urey Patrick
Delightful - short, perceptive, insightful and yet comprehensive as an overview of Churchill's life and impact. Perhaps the perfect introduction to Churchill - and certainly a marvelous refresher. Want to learn about Winston Churchill but daunted by the numerous - and weighty - books about him? Read this! It will inform and hopefully encourage you to read even more about this most remarkable figure of the 20th Century.
Daniel
A pleasant enough, but too brief biography. In the final third, Keegan's background as a war historian and obvious interest in WWII militarism overwhelms the character at the center of the narrative, Churchill, and we hear more about battles than the man himself. However, Churchill's youth is given a fine, human treatment, and the short bio concludes with a touching review of his legacy.
Darren Sapp
Most Churchill biographies run 1000 pages, deservedly so. This one, at just 192 pages, covers his life in sufficient detail to understand this twentieth century colossus. His POW escape in the Second Boer War is the only event that seems to have been skipped over in detail but everything else, in particular World War II is adequately told. Great for students.
Robin
An excellent insight into the man in a light and entertaining way. I was surprised how quickly I read this book as I am not a biography fan and don't normally read anything like this.

I learnt a lot and was inspired to find out more about Churchill and perhaps read some of his works too.

Well worth a read. Don't know the author but he is good at this genre.
Daniel Kukwa
As a short get-to-know-you bio, it's deftly handled, and opens with a wonderful introductory essay about Churchill's greatness. That said, I find it gives short-shrift to his post-war life and career, which I personally find as fascinating as his early life. Still, in something this short, I suppose you can't ask for everything...but I do nonetheless.
Chrisanne
Fascinating! It is rare that a non-fiction book pulls me in like this one.
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4619485
Sir John Desmond Patrick Keegan OBE was a British military historian, lecturer and journalist. He published many works on the nature of combat between the 14th and 21st centuries concerning land, air, maritime and intelligence warfare as well as the psychology of battle.

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