Superb. Best book I have read so far this year. Not so much a biography as a collection of essays about Churchill's character and legacy. Johnson's facility with his subject is remarkable and his writing is fresh and witty.
This from the concluding chapter:
"For several decades now it has been fashionable to say that the so-called great men and women are just epiphenomena, meretricious bubbles on the vast tides of social history. The real story, on this view, is about deep economic forces, technological advances, changes in the price of sorgum, the overwhelming weight of an infinite number of mundane human actions.
"Well, I think the story of Winston Churchill is a pretty withering retort to all that malarky. He, and he alone, made the difference.
"It is easy to think of a few other people who have made a colossal impact on world history but almost always for the worse: Hitler, Lenin, etc. How many others can you think of who have been decisive for the better, who have personally tilted the scales of fate in the direction of freedom and hope.
"Not many, I bet: and that is because when history needed it, in 1940, there was only one man who possessed the Churchill Factor; and having spent quite some time now considering the question, I am finally with those who think there has been no one remotely like him before or since."