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Publishers WeeklyStarred Review.
In the hands of a lesser writer, this story of Churchill's brilliant career could have been muted by the business-book treatment; fortunately, Churchill's forceful personality takes center stage and the (surprisingly unforced) "lessons" he inspires appear in sidebars inconspicuously peppered throughout 25 chapters. Prolific author Axelrod (Elizabeth I, CEO) presents a clear synopsis of Churchill's life, focusing on his climb to prominence and WWII leadership, and well-shored with quotes from a vast store of writings and speeches. Churchill's early career is mined for lessons in pragmatism ("All true leadership is practical leadership"); Churchill's personal visits to the war front highlight the leader's need and respect for "the unvarnished truth" ("sugared words are an addictive drug"). Other topics include partners, defiance, hardship, conscience, uncertainty and rhetoric: "Churchill remained wary of words' hollowness the instant they were divorced from reality." As thorough a biographer as he is a business thinker, Axelrod even gets in a lesson on logos derived from Churchill's famous V-for-Victory sign.
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