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No More Champagne: Churchill and His Money

3.96  ·  Rating details ·  289 ratings  ·  29 reviews
The untold story of Winston Churchill’s precarious finances and the most original and surprising book about Churchill to emerge for many years.

The popular image of Winston Churchill, grandson of a Duke, amply dressed, drinking champagne and smoking a cigar, conjures up a man of substance, if not wealth. The reality is that Britain’s most famous twentieth-century figure
Paperback, 528 pages
Published September 8th 2016 by Head of Zeus (first published September 10th 2015)
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Mar 10, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Is it possible for a book to be tedious and interesting at the same time? That's my reaction to No More Champagne.

Tedious, in that the author goes into Winston Churchill's finances in excruciating detail. There doesn't seem to be a single receipt or bank statement in Churchill's entire life that the author doesn't examine and analyze for us. And he takes great pains to be impassive and factual -- which is always difficult in a non-textbook.

But interesting, because it is so intriguing to see how
Steve Peifer
Dec 05, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
If you believe like I do that it was Churchill who saved civilization, and if you are Iike me and have read numerous biographies and autobiographies of him, nothing can quite prepare you for the fresh look this book offers of him. Born to a certain level of privilege, it never seemed to occur to him that living below his means might take some pressure off. He spent (no pun intended) his entire adult life at the edge of economic disaster. He spent every nickel he ever made and had to depend on ...more
Margaret Sankey
Dec 20, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Using a thorough review of the family accounts, Lough reconstructs a mind-boggling lifetime of utter financial lunacy. Although technically provided for from the waning Marlborough fortunes, Churchill's father and mother were capable of immense self-delusion and shell game financial behavior, which Churchill embraced starting as a child. For the rest of his life, he would frantically write himself out of bankruptcy corners, get wealthy friends to bail him out, and shift assets around while ...more
Philip Girvan
Jun 28, 2017 rated it really liked it
Lough does an outstanding job using Churchill's letters, bills, and other writings to reveal the recklessness with which he conducted his financial affairs and how money worries dominated his thinking throughout his life.

The Churchill texts are supported by letters from collaborators, creditors, financiers, publishers, family members, and others that make crystal clear the precariousness of Churchill's financial position.

An engrossing read that reveals much about the character of one of the
Feb 22, 2017 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
An eye-opening account of Winston Churchill's finances; it accomplishes the strange task of being mind numbingly boring and utterly shocking and infuriating all at the same time. I started it off with a bang but ultimately became bogged down in the excruciating detail of Winnie's stocks, trusts, gambling, racehorses, not to mention his distaste for paying tax on his very substantial income (!). After I struggled to the end, I've come to the conclusion that it was a fascinating topic made much ...more
Jill Meyer
Apr 29, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
It's difficult for a biographer to find an "in" or a "niche" to write a biography around. Particularly a biography of Winston Churchill, who not only was the subject of many books, but who also wrote numerous autobiographies and memoirs. There's not much left for a new biographer to cover but British author David Lough finds one in his new biography, "No More Champagne: Churchill and His Money". Lough comes at his subject not as an historian, but rather after a long career as a private banker. ...more
Thomas Womack
Jan 04, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A tale of how easy it was for a man with a reputation and an inheritance held in trust to bully the banks and even the Inland Revenue. Something of an asymmetric account, because you never got a terribly good idea of what the people who bailed Churchill out expected to get for it; maybe it is long enough ago that the feeling of having helped out the great politician of the age was reward enough, but I would have liked to see the figures for equivalent deals with other people so you knew whether ...more
Dec 30, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
David Lough uses his background in the financial world to sketch a fascinating portrait of one of the few remaining areas of Churchill's life that have avoided in-depth treatment. In a life as varied as Churchill's, one of the few constants was his love of luxury and addiction to debt, borrowing and gambling (in both stocks and casinos). The bailouts required of wealthy benefactors, the poor financial decisions and squandered windfalls, is a side of the great statesman that has not previously ...more
Andrew Whiffin
Sep 21, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Not an historian myself, I found this a fascinating read - and found it extraordinary that such a revealing aspect of Churchill's character had not been properly researched before. Lough, being a trained historian, as well as having had a career in financial management, is able to offer a wonderfully assured explanation of both the complex financial instruments involved and the political and historical context, and does so with admirable lucidity. He also resists the temptation to make moral ...more
Javier HG
Mar 30, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Winston Churchill fue una figura capital de la primera mitad del siglo XX: aventurero, periodista, político..., protagonista tanto en la Primera como en la Segunda Guerra Mundial, y una de las principales razones por las que la Alemania Nazi no conquistó Europa.

También era un maníaco depresivo y un manirroto.

Porque lo interesante de "No more champagne" es que descrube una parte totalmente desconocida de Winston Churchill: que era un auténtico desastre con las finanzas, que gastaba a manos llenas
Dave Munroe
Jan 30, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This book appeals to a specific audience that's either 1) interested in finance, or 2) interested in Churchill. If you're a more general historian, it would likely come off quite dry, but being a member of both the finance and Churchill fan clubs, I found this fascinating, as it adds a huge amount of depth to the Churchill story, and David Lough has done painstaking research to put this together.
Aug 18, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
One of the funniest biographies I've ever read, even if the author showed great restraint in how he presented the Churchill family at their most feckless. The story of Chartwell's renovation was especially amusing.
Andrew Kosztyo
May 28, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
We all have our Achilles Heels. Winston Churchill - a former Chancellor of the Exchequer of the British Empire - was completely incapable of managing his own money; a revelation which this book presents in compelling and excruciating detail. Perhaps the rich AREN’T so different.
Pat Carson
The rich and/or well connected do live differently from the rest of the world.
Sep 18, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This was as rivetting and page-turning as any novel I've ever read.
Mar 05, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: recently-read
"My only regret is that I have not drunk more champagne in my life."
Jane Walker
Jun 20, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: history
Lough stoically ploughed through, and made sense of, the financial records of Churchill. It's a dry read, (I read the hardback version) but he has done a good job of making it readable. And what emerges is fascinating. The man was chronically unable to live within his considerable means. He gambled compulsively and lived the lifestyle he believed he was entitled to, despite always being in deep debt. His literary work, assisted by a team of barely acknowledged co-writers, was to pay the bills. ...more
Finance, balanced/unbalanced budgets how can that be exciting and worth anyone's time? Trust me, it is. Because of the most fascinating real person in British History..Mr. Winston Churchill. The writer does a most in-depth job of following his young full of privilege life, as he grows into adult hood and beyond. The struggles and definitive moments he took to sustain that life sometimes to his and his families detriment, when of course using today's thinking to scale back would have been so much ...more
James Romanow
Mar 15, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This was a fascinating history and probably the greatest insight into his personality I've ever read. I recommend it strongly with one caveat.

This is a book about numbers and money. You need to be a person who translates numbers into what they mean easily in your head without thinking about it. Ideally you'll be an accountant, or the money manager in your household. (Personally I read Annual Reports for entertainment, because I find the plot lines revealed by the numbers to be fascinating. I'm
Adam Yoshida
Jan 23, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
A Fresh Angle

I've read dozens of books either by or about Sir Winston, so it's rare to find anything new or original. Lough's book manages to be exactly that. Other biographies have spent some time on Churchill's struggles with money, but this is by far the most comprehensive account that I've ever read. Of particular interest to me was the story of his long battle against Britain's Inland Revenue, a valiant fight for individual liberty that ought to resonate with all taxpayers.
Jul 04, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is a great fresh look at one of the greatest men in modern history. It raises a very basic question: Should poor personal finances disqualify someone for public service or public office. Judging by Churchill, the answer is no.

On another note, I hate debt, so this book gave me continuous agita. I was constantly screaming at him, "No, don't gamble that money!!! No, don't buy more stuff!! No! No! No! Pay off your debts first."
Andrea Engle
Feb 21, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: books-read-2016
An eye-opening book based on Churchill's bank records and other financial documents ... Churchill was a gargantuan spendthrift ... often deep in debt ... and a risk-taking gambler, both at the casino and on the stock markets ... his accounts didn't cross over into the black until World War II ... fascinating in its detail ...
Apr 25, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Yet another side to the complicated Mr Churchill. A great compliment to "Clementine," which I read a couple months ago. Churchill's prodigious authorial output is only of interest in this book as it relates to his income and (over-)expenditures. There's another book out there on Churchill as author that I still want to track down before I move on from my Churchill-mania.
Jan 23, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Wow. Great read. So nice to get a fresh take on Churchill's private life.
Mar 25, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A different kind of book about Churchill. The author links his political career with his money problems and seemingly there were plenty of them!!! A great book
Charles McCain
Jan 06, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
fascinating. the first review says it all so I need no repeat.
Emma Peel
May 30, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
depressing tale of psh boy tax dodging - a great read
rated it it was amazing
Dec 31, 2017
Aimée LeClaire
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Jun 03, 2017
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