Meticulously researched by a senior private banker now turned historian, No More Champagne reveals for the first time the full extent of the iconic British war leader's private struggle to maintain a way of life instilled by his upbringing and expected of his public position.
Lough uses Churchill's own most private records, many never researched before, to chronicle his family's chronic shortage of money, his own extravagance and his recurring losses from gambling or trading in shares and currencies. Churchill tried to keep himself afloat by borrowing to the hilt, putting off bills and writing 'all over the place'; when all else failed, he had to ask family or friends to come to the rescue. Yet within five years he had taken advantage of his worldwide celebrity to transform his private fortunes with the same ruthlessness as he waged war, reaching 1945 with today's equivalent of £3 million in the bank. His lucrative war memoirs were still to come.
Throughout the story, Lough highlights the threads of risk, energy, persuasion, and sheer willpower to survive that link Churchill's private and public lives. He shows how constant money pressures often tempted him to short-circuit the ethical standards expected of public figures in his day before usually pulling back to put duty first-except where the taxman was involved.
Debut author Lough, an investment advisor, succeeds beyond any reasonable expectation in making this unique chronicle of Winston Churchill's money problems fascinating, even for those with limited interest in financial matters. Lough traces Churchill's spendthrift ways to his parents, Randolph and Jeanette, both from once-wealthy families contending with diminished resources by the time the two met in 1873. From a young age, the future prime minister was preoccupied with money (he would later say it was "the only thing that worries me in life"), and his family's straitened circumstances led him and his brother to sell eggs for extra pocket money. As an adult, Churchill's financial woes were often of his own making. To compensate, he became a prolific author, considering no commission too small or unimportant: in 1937, he was hired to write short summaries of four battles illustrated on jigsaw puzzles. Lough's detailed, but fast-moving, narrative succeeds in making one of British history's most prominent men more relatable; as Lough notes, "it is salutary to discover that one of the most successful political figures of the 20th century ran up huge personal debts, gambled heavily, lost large amounts on the stock exchange, avoided tax with great success, and paid his bills reluctantly."