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The Churchill Factor: How One Man Made History

4.05  ·  Rating details ·  6,457 ratings  ·  657 reviews
From London’s inimitable mayor, Boris Johnson, the story of how Churchill’s eccentric genius shaped not only his world but our own.
On the fiftieth anniversary of Churchill’s death, Boris Johnson celebrates 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 portra
Hardcover, 400 pages
Published November 13th 2014 by Riverhead Books (first published October 2014)
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Dolf Patijn
Feb 15, 2015 rated it it was amazing
You meet Boris Johnson in the pub for a drink. You mention Churchill and 4 hours later you leave the pub, wondering where the time went. That´s what it feels like to read this book. I learned a lot of facts about Churchill that I didn't know before. I certainly learned more about the impact that Churchill had, not only on British politics and life but also on the rest of the world.

This book is beautifully written and well paced. I absolutely loved it.

NB: 25-06-2016. After seeing Boris Johnson in
Andrew Smith
There’s a point near the end of the book, when talking to a grandson of the great man, that the author summarises Churchill’s achievements.

More published words than Shakespeare and Dickens combined, wins the Nobel Prize for Literature, kills umpteen people in armed combat on four continents, serves in every great office of state including Prime Minister (twice), is indispensable to victory in two world wars and then posthumously sells his paintings for a million dollars.

Not bad!

There’s quite
Feb 18, 2015 rated it really liked it
Shelves: nonfiction
I read this in 2014 not knowing anything about Boris Johnson. It's a pretty good book. While I don't agree with BoJo's politics, at least the U.K. will have a leader who has *truly* written a book and who reads. I've resisted the temptation to change my review or my rating.

Portrait Venerating Lionhearted Leader Who Lifted Course of History, Facing Down der Führer Providing a Perfect Contrast to the Leaders of the Free World these days

This book's strongest point is its accessibility on the length
Steven Z.
Jan 01, 2016 rated it liked it
If you are looking for a personal, breezy hagiography of Winston Churchill then Boris Johnson’s THE CHURCHILL FACTOR: HOW ONE MAN MADE HISTORY will be of interest. Johnson’s effort is not a traditional biography of the former occupant of 10 Downing Street, but a manifesto imploring the reader to consider the genius and greatness of Churchill. Johnson is concerned that as time has passed fewer and fewer of the non-World War II generation have forgotten or are not aware of Churchill’s accomplishme ...more
Nov 09, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Blood, toil, tears and sweat...

Winston Churchill needs no introduction and, in the UK, nor does Boris Johnson, but perhaps he does elsewhere. Boris is one of those few people who are known to all by their first names – if you mention Boris over here, everyone will assume that it's this Boris you mean unless you specify otherwise. A leading light in the Conservative Party, he has been the Mayor of London for the last six years and is strongly tipped in many quarters to be a future leader of the P
Cathal Kenneally
Mar 24, 2019 rated it really liked it
I'm only giving this book 4 stars as it doesn't mention the famine in Bangladesh during the Second World War for which Churchill was blamed. Apparently it was his idea to divert grain supplies destined for Bangladesh to British soldiers fighting in the Far East.
I'm not a big fan of Boris Johnson but after seeing Darkest Hour l decided to learn a little bit more about Winston Churchill. He is at least unbiased; listing both his achievements and failures. He paints his character in broad brush st
Steven Fisher
Feb 08, 2017 rated it did not like it
Shelves: biography, british
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Will Once
Sep 14, 2015 rated it it was amazing
I think I have finally worked out the purpose of Boris Johnson - he was born to write this book.

The subject matter suits his bombastic oafish style and consummate belief in himself. That makes it a rollicking good read, if not the definitive biography of Churchill.

Unusually for a biography, the book isn't written chronologically. We don't start with Winston's childhood and then work our way forwards through time. Instead we are given slices of his life to illustrate a particular point. On the w
Alex Sarll
Doubtless people will claim that this book is an act of hubris, Johnson attempting to acquire some reflected glory by yoking himself to another indomitable gadfly who then surprised everyone by becoming the great statesman. Nonsense. Give this topic to most modern politicians, and you would get something like that, a ream of platitudes topped off with a few personal anecdotes bearing the subtext 'It's not for me to compare myself to Winston Churchill; that's for other people to do'. Johnson, tho ...more
Neil Fox
Jan 19, 2015 rated it liked it
On the 50th anniversary of the death of Churchill there probably won't appear a more entertaining though lightweight account of the great man.

The book is revisionist in the sense of how it exaggerates the noble traits of Churchill like valour, perseverance, creativity and generosity, not to mention his deeds - we have him fearlessly hurtling into the jaws of danger dodging bullets or propelling himself recklessly through the skies at the controls of early aeroplanes - whilst at the same time glo
I have been fascinated with Winston S. Churchill since I was a child. I try to read everything I can find about him. I was shocked to read in the book that the young people in Britain do not know who Churchill was. Johnson said he wanted to write about Churchill in such a manner as to bring Churchill to the attention of the young. Johnson thought the young might enjoy Churchill’s eccentricity.

This book is written by the current Mayor of London. The element of self-identification in Johnson’s wri
Bernadette Jansen op de Haar
Nov 25, 2015 rated it really liked it
I must admit that I read The Churchill Factor because I wanted to find out if Boris Johnson’s writing style would stretch to a book (I’ve never read any of his other books) and if he could say anything interesting about a subject about whom so much has been written already (and I don’t read much non-fiction). On both accounts, the answer is yes. I really liked this book. Why? Because of its composition, arranged by subject and employing a lovely way of linking the personal and public personas. A ...more
Dec 06, 2014 rated it it was amazing
The Churchill Factor: How One Man Made History, Boris Johnson, read by Boris Johnson

Written and read by Boris Johnson, the mayor of London, this book is an in-depth study of what made Winston Churchill great. Until his death, in 1965, Winston Churchill was a man larger than life. There were those that supported him and those that maligned him, but today he is renowned and revered for his analysis of world conditions and for his predictions of what was to come from events and decisions made in hi
Mar 11, 2017 rated it it was ok
Shelves: book-club
I am genuinely astonished by how many 5* reviews this has had! I must be missing something because I just felt it went here there and everywhere, backwards and forwards and basically just sang his praises from the first line all the way to the end! There is no doubting just how much he adores WC!
Tom Burgess
Sep 24, 2020 rated it did not like it
Shelves: 2020
For clarity- I read this book for my dissertation to understand Boris Johnson's psyche and not as a Churchill fanboy. As a book it is a pretty desperate attempt by Johnson to draw himself into Churchill's myth and gives a fairly sycophantic version of that. ...more
Nov 04, 2020 rated it it was amazing
I got back into reading this one after a long layoff. It was recommended by a friend and turned out to be very good. It is an insightful look into the life of one of the most influential men of the 20th century. Written by “that” Boris Johnson, who turned out to be an exceptional fine writer with a loquacious vocabulary. Truly five stars as it examines the many decisions and actions that shaped Churchill’s life, Great Britain and the world as we know it.
David Lowther
The Churchill Factor could have been a half-decent book, but it wasn't. Apart from some well-written pieces about Churchill's role in the creation of the welfare state and his seminal role in the early war years, the rest of the book seems to be a series of anecdotes about his smoking, drinking, eating, courage under fire, kindness to those less well-off than him, all of which combined to make Churchill the man who saved Britain.

Johnson describes Churchill as Britain's greatest statesman. I woul
Robin Webster
Nov 29, 2014 rated it really liked it
Because of the way this book was written, it is worth saying something about the author for those that live outside the UK. At the time of writing, Boris Johnson is the Mayor of London but is expected at some point to become a Conservative Party MP, and is tipped by some to become a future party leader. He is a bit of a character and has a flamboyant and enthusiastic style of narrating which is very evident in his interviews, speeches or writing. Johnson doesn’t hide the fact he is a big fan of ...more
David Huff
Nov 14, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Not the lengthiest or most comprehensive biography of Churchill, for sure, but a great and often witty introduction to a most remarkable man. The scope of all that Churchill accomplished during his long life is truly mammoth; consider this summary by the author:

" normal family man produces more published words than Shakespeare and Dickens combined, wins the Nobel prize for literature, kills umpteen people in armed conflict on four continents, serves in every great office of state includin
Daniel Kukwa
Nov 20, 2014 rated it really liked it
Shelves: non-fiction
To be blunt: I agree with Boris Johnson's core analysis of Winston Churchill as a great man of history, who gives lie to social historians and their obsessive love of historical "forces" as the driving engine of the human experience. It's written with wit, uses evidence in a persuasive manner that doesn't overwhelm, reveals fascinating nuggets of information that I was unaware of...and it doesn't shy away from Churchill's mistakes & misadventures. I also appreciate how Mr. Johnson manages to pre ...more
Apr 25, 2020 rated it did not like it
Terrible.This is the opposite of a unbiased,nuanced take on an important historical figure-every page is intended to celebrate WSC,with his failings being casually brushed aside.
Hard no.
Dylan Vieites Glennon
Jan 14, 2020 rated it really liked it
Shelves: owned
A thoroughly brilliant book, I never thought I'd style anything belonging to Mr Johnson with the epithet 'brilliant' but we live in a topsy-turvy world. Anyhow, to get onto the book, it's well-worth the read. The anecdotes are fascinating, the insights into the nature of Churchill are told in such a wonderful way that a layperson with no real knowledge of 20th century British history can entirely understand the workings. A part I liked most, was the way Mr Johnson portrayed Churchill against his ...more
Sep 30, 2019 rated it liked it
Shelves: biography
A friend gave me The Churchill Factor: How One Man Made History by Boris Johnson. Yes, that Boris Johnson, the Brexit-foaming opportunist who tried to prorogue Parliament to get his way in September of 2019. The Churchill Factor was written around five years before Johnson began his clear abuse of power (not only my opinion, but that of the U.K.’s highest court, as well). The good news is that Johnson has done some solid research, enough to offer a few new anecdotes, quotations, and insights, ev ...more
Stijn Zanders
Jan 04, 2017 rated it really liked it
An entertaining book that was written by the current Brittish secretary of State for Foreign & Commonwealth Affairs. It shows a detailed insight into the life of Winston Churchill: 'the greatest man in the history of the world'. Interesting to see how Churchill has had an influence on the first and second world war, nato, the European union, the independence of India and the Middle East. Hence, it has many intersections with other books I have read and gave me a better overall view. ...more
Chuck Slack
Jan 24, 2015 rated it really liked it
A fairly light read about a great man. It is obvious that the author, Boris Johnson, is awed by the man. Having said that so should we all. He was truly one of the greats of the 20th century and well worthy of this tribute.

The book flows fine and presents sufficient details, stories, and quotes from, and about, Churchill. I enjoyed it.
Sep 11, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2016
Boris Johnson speaking about Winston Churchill; bloody brilliant.
Bert van der Vaart
Jul 13, 2019 rated it really liked it
Interesting read as Johnson looks set to assume the Tory party leadership in Britain, and to deal with Brexit and more. Johnson clearly admires Churchill, and implicitly hints at his setting a benchmark for Johnson himself. One which Johnson clearly shows he will not be able to meet. His biography is less a full biography than a debater's affirmative case for the proposition that Churchill was someone who made a huge difference to the course of history, and, unlike Stalin and Hitler, he made a v ...more
Yasmin Halliwell Fraser Bower
May 08, 2018 rated it really liked it
The Churchill Factor goes to the point bringing ton light small details and curiosities about Churchill's character and life (and actins, obviously) in a way that lets you see the real man. That is the main objective of the book, to let you see that he was a real person dealing with very real things and how he had a greatness inside himself in order to accomplish what noone thought posible.
It starts talking about his childhood and parents in order for us to see how they shaped his youth. We see
Dan Graser
Aug 08, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Though many folks right now aren't willing to near anything from Boris Johnson due to his politics in the Brexit vote, he remains an engaging and highly amusing writer and in this volume he turns his attention to a truly singular figure in British history.

Though his admiration for his subject is quite obvious, he avoids many of the pitfalls of the admiring biographer merely crafting a genuflecting hagiography that attempts to rewrite historical context. Johnson combines a great amount of genuine
Karen A. Wyle
I'm rounding up, perhaps half a star.

It's easy to see why Boris Johnson finds Churchill a fascinating study. The two have much in common. Both are brilliant, dramatic, ebullient, and ambitious, with a nigh unquenchable lust for life and a great gift for finding the right words to serve their purposes. At this time (January 2020), it also seems that while not necessarily matching the scale of Churchill's impact on the 20th century, he too is playing a pivotal role in British and European history.
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Reading Along Wit...: Boris Johnson: “The Churchill Factor” 2 11 Nov 21, 2014 07:20AM  

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Boris Johnson is a British politician in the Conservative Party and the former Mayor of London. Due to his public school, blustering, comedic style, he is generally either loved or loathed by members of the British public.

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