©1990 The Estate of Winston Churchill; (P)2014 Audible, Inc.
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"Always good, occasionally great"
This is the concluding volume in Winston Churchill's incomparable history of World War II. As in his previous three volumes it provides remarkable insight and an unparalleled "you are there" view of the events. It is an absolute must-read for anyone that has had the pleasure of completing the previous books.
However, it suffers in comparison to the other books. This first-person view of history worked incredibly well in the first three volumes because Churchill was, quite literally, in the middle of much of the significant action and decisions from 1938 to 1942. His insight, speeches, decisions, and influence on diplomacy literally made history and changed the course of the war. Having a front-row seat to that power and thought process is a treat.
However, starting in 1943 and certainly in 1944 the United States and the Soviet Union became the primary players on the Allied side and Great Britain (and thus Churchill), exhausted and smaller than the others, became a junior partner. Churchill had less and less influence in the conduct of the war and it is not surprising he was greatly frustrated by it, though he certainly knew that only through the combined efforts of the USA and USSR could complete victory be achieved.
In this volume he spends most of his time on things he had direct impact over (which were smaller scale) or talking about his frustrations about not being able to prosecute the war as he saw fit. For example, we hear much more about a small invasion of Italy he tried to coordinate than we do about D-Day. And we hear practically nothing about the treatment of Jews or concentration camps.
But Churchill really comes through in the end as he chronicles the Soviet transformation in 1944/5 from ally to adversary. And there is an epilogue where he discusses the transformations of the geopolitical situation from 1945 to 1957 that is remarkable in its anticipation of many of the issues we continue to face.
"Winston Churchill knew more about WW2 than anyone."
And he wrote about it with an excellence no one else has equalled. I would certainly listen to it again. I am amazed at how candid yet diplomatic Churchill is, and how beautifully he writes. Imagine a great world leader, also a brilliant journalist, who knows first hand the course of the most important war in history describing events and the personalities of the principal world rulers with penetrating insight and great humor. There is so much to be learned by this book, listening to it twice would only be good for starters.
The Rise and Fall of the Third Reich is a brilliant book and I loved it. However, the account of a journalist who lived through the war and observed it first hand pales in comparison with Churchills authority and intimate knowledge of events.
I thought of him as Churchill. I felt Churchill was telling me about the war.
Triumph and Tragedy. The birth of the world today.
This is one book I am going to get a hard copy and take notes.
"Intensely interesting not just for history buffs"
You should definitely listen to the whole series to understand this tragic period of history. It is true what others wrote before that the book is a little bit self serving, but nonetheless it's a great listen.
I have the feeling that Churchill himself is telling me the story. Rodska is a great narrator, he even paid attention to using slightly different voices and accents if the contents of a letter or telegram is related written by Roosevelt or Stalin.
Many films were already made no need for more.
I enjoyed listening to all 4 books. This one was the hardest. Mostly because I'm ADHD:-). But, also it was hard to hear some of history that was so sad & could've been prevented. Still glad I learned of so many things I've never heard before, though. Mr. Churchill was an excellent history teacher!
"interesting and enjoyable"
having read the original 6 volume unabridged version I found this abridged audio version enjoyable. An insight into the events that shaped the modern world from an active participant. Well read by Rodska, the feel that the author is speaking to you, without any over dramatization.
The historical, behind-the-scenes events revealed in this book helped me better understand the motivations behind the principle characters and nations.
His voice was stable, and expressive of controlled resolve and emotion which I found believable in replicating Winston Churchill. I was easily "absorbed" into the story as it was read and never felt like someone was just reading a story to me - I felt as if I were there, experiencing the saga as it unfolded.
The story and the delivery were outstanding. Kudos!
"Good book, but I got more than I expected."
I expected the book to be told from the British perspective, and it was. I was a bit surprised by Churchill's somewhat defensive posture throughout the narrative as on several occasions he emphasized the load that Great Britain assumed in the war was somewhat out of proportion as compared to the US. But I thought the detail that he supplied around the interface with Stalin was fascinating. It seems clear that Churchill, himself managed the relationship with the USSR from the time that Germany began their thrust to the East to the end of the conflict.
The book also provided unknown (to me) details about the relationship between the US and Great Britain during the years prior to the US being directly involved in the war.
There were times that I could hear Churchill's voice as Rodska provided his narriative.
"Incredible insight and detail"
To listen to the thoughts of ,(the greatest man of the 20th Century),Churchill is incredible. His foresight and opinion were almost never wrong, and when he was, it was not by much. He was an amazing man and leader.
"Sounds just like Churchill + Fascinating"
I don't really know if the narrator sounds just like Winston, but ... I constantly forget that I'm not listening to the Prime Minister himself. I normally purchase fiction. Also, I'm generally familiar with the course of WWII. This book is not fiction and I learned a lot. Plus, for those who enjoy period mysteries, this book nicely makes the reader think he or she has a seat at the creation of history. Plus, like any good listen it made me stay in my car after I arrived at my destination.
What WC brings to the history is excellent writing and "the" offical British view of what they were trying to accomplish in WWII.
I got Vol 1 cheap somehow and kept on purchasing. Well worth all those credits.
"Should be required reading of all"
Incredible units scope,moving in it's narrative, and wonderfully told,Churchill provides us both with a remarkable view into the war but issues that still today concern us. A must read.
I have been enthralled by listening to all four parts of this inspiring story of the Second World War of which this is the final book. Christian Rodska's fine narration has added to the experience. This last part high-lighted for me how history can be changed by individuals for good or ill. The duplicity of Stalin, once a cherished ally; the premature death of Roosevelt; the surprise result of the 1945 General Election ousting Churchill: all had ramifications that coloured the rest of the 20th century. By the end of these books I felt a great sadness over the huge waste of lives, but also inspired by the peoples' bravery and tenacity. We owe a great debt of gratitude to Churchill who worked tirelessly for five years against the odds. Not only was he a great leader, but also a great writer able to convey in such a riveting way the fears, triumphs and tragedies of war.
"Worth the read"
Winston Churchill is a great writer besides being a great Prime Minister. Really good to hear it form his point of view rather than from others writing about him or the war. You definitely realise this was a man ahead of his time, and one of the few to really get Hitler.
"Two brief comments from a spaniard"
I would not dream to say anything new on this fascinating work of Mr. Churchill's. However, two topics in the book might be worth underlining at the present moment. On one hand, the scaring and astonishing similarities between the finacial crisis we are enduring and the 1929 crisis, as explained in the book. And, on the other, Mr Churchill's analysis on the causes and motives for the nationalists uprising in july 1936 against the Spanish republican goverment who, as the author states, had lost its legitimacy through its atack on the same republic they nominaly represented, trying to establish a communist totalitarian regime through revolutionary means. His short, but nevertheless clarifying comments, will surely be embraced with enthusiasm by the politicians and intelectuals who, after decades of peace and reconciliation among spaniards are trying to revive, via what they call \"Memoria hist?rica\" (Historic Memory,)past and happily forgotten tragedies.
This should be essential reading (listening) for all. Fascinating read and I learnt much I did not know before.
"A bucket list listen"
No history lesson is complete without its makers adding their footnotes. Few history lessons are so completely recalled by their maker as this one is
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