Johnson writes on his first page, "It is a joy to write his life, and to read about it." So very, very true. I don't know about you, but I never tire of reading about Churchill — of seeing film clips of him, of hearing stories about him. I feel the same way about Lincoln (no film clips, alas). Those lives are inexhaustible, inexhaustibly interesting, and enjoyable, and edifying...
Johnson, in his bio, taught me a new word: "jujube." Actually, the word is not defined in his book: I asked him about it. A jujube — am I the last to know? — is kind of a gummy candy or lozenge. Jelly bean-ish, maybe.
Churchill attended a session of the House of Commons in 1950 — and here's Johnson:
When Hugh Gaitskell, then the new chancellor of the exchequer, a "prissy Wykehamist" in Churchill's view, who stood on his dignity a little too often, was making a solemn economic statement, Churchill began to search his pockets for something. First his trousers. Then his jacket. Then his top pocket. Then all his waistcoat pockets. This extensive search gradually attracted the attention of the House. Eventually Gaitskell, aware he had lost his audience, snapped at Churchill in irritation, "Can I help you?" Churchill replied sweetly, "I am only looking for a jujube."
The House collapsed in laughter.