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Financier saved Churchill's career

NEW YORK -- An extraordinary act of shrewdness and generosity saved Winston Churchill's political career and kept him from a lifetime of debt he would have incurred from the stock market crash of 1929, a historian said.

Financier Bernard Baruch, a friend of Churchill, saved him from a disastrous day playing the stock market, American Heritage magazine reported Monday in its February-March issue.

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Churchill stopped by Baruch's office one day in 1929 to play the market, and as 'prices tumbled, he plunged deeper and deeper, trying to outguess the stock exchange,' writes historian William Manchester.

'At the end of the day he confronted Baruch in tears. He was, he said, a ruined man. Chartwell (Churchill's estate) and everything he possessed must be sold; he would have to leave the House of Commons and enter business,' Manchester's article said.

'The financier gently corrected him. Baruch had left instructions to buy equivalent stocks every time Churchill sold his and to sell whenever Churchill bought. Winston had come out exactly even because, he later learned, Baruch even paid the commissions.'

Baruch's 'extraordinary act of shrewdness and generosity' saved Churchill, who went on to be Great Britain's prime minister, whom Manchester describes as 'not a born gambler; he is a born losing gambler.'

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