Larger than life and twice as real, Winston Spencer Churchill provides the ideal subject for biography. This is not the ideal biography of the ideal subject, but it is satisfactory in its consistent readability, its facile move through the years that demarked Churchill's life, its easy blend of history with anecdote. The coincidence of a nation's destiny with that of one individual makes this view from the bridge of the ship of state with its horizon-scanning simplifications acceptable. Here are the years before England's and Churchill's greatest hour: childhood, the false starts, Sandhurst, soldier and correspondent in Africa, marriage, the Admiralty in World War I and the brief, painful exile from politics. Then the return as Lord of the Admiralty, Prime Minister to fight a war he had foreseen and forecast to no avail. World War II, run from the War Cabinet Room in ""The Hole in the Ground"" under Great George Street, is particularly well handled. Churchill, making his greatest speeches, dealing with Roosevelt and Stalin, or weeping over the posies sent him by a housewife from blitz-raddled East End, is indomitably, at times incorrigibly there, emerging from the professionalism of the text as infinitely variable yet eternally himself. Finally there are the years after, with an increase of honors and diminution of powers to the last ninety gun salute at his death. This is a good job, and if the editors have got Churchill down pat, they have done so with respect and a sense of the revealing moment , epic or incidental.