Winston Churchill was the greatest statesman of the twentieth century. He was also a speculator and a gambler, and a prodigal spender on himself, his family, and his associates. The sums of money that passed through his household were vast multiples of the average wage in the Britain which he led so magnificently in the Second World War. For most of his adult life he had a large overdraft, and for much of the time he was both above his overdraft limit and late in his tax payments.

Churchill’s financial recklessness is the main revelation of David Lough’s No More Champagne. The title, which refers to a note from Churchill to his wife ahead of an economy drive, is followed by a neutral subtitle, Churchill and His Money. But the book could equally well have been called Churchill and His Bets and Debts or Churchill’s...

 

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