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Publisher's Summary

Winston Churchill's superlative account of the prelude to and events of the First World War is a defining work of 20th-century history. With dramatic narrative power Churchill reconstructs the action on the Western and Eastern Fronts, the wars at sea and in the air and the advent of tanks and U-boats.

Rich with personal insights, the first part of Churchill's magisterial book covers the years 1911 - 1914 and includes Ireland and the European balance, the mobilization of the Navy, the invasion of France and Turkey and the Balkans.

©1959 Winston S. Churchill (P)2014 Audible, Inc.

What listeners say about The World Crisis 1911-18

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Churchill had an incredible grasp of storytelling

Loved it. The prelude to catastrophe was well explained without being too drawn out, and it was fascinating to learn more about the naval sagas in which Churchill was involved from purely his side, as he is often criticised by other historians. Interestingly, a lot of the criticism he received was during tumultuous times at the admiralty where he clearly had a lot going on all at once where his attention couldn't be solely directed. Ironically, this is a continuing theme in the next volume.

Remember, this is Churchills account in his words. Take it with a grain of salt.

Christian Rodska as narrator is brilliant. It's almost like listening to Churchill himself.

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W.S.C. at his best

Politics has not really changed this books helps you understand the politics of this period and the thinking at the time you also realise that modern politics are not much different only the stakes were higher?.

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Full of great insights.

Fascinating and not at all staid. I thoroughly enjoyed listening to this title. Churchill's narrative is engrossing and beautifully written. Being so close to the seat of power in the UK , he was able to recount events with great authority. I will be purchasing the rest of this series.

Also Christian Rodska does a tremendous job as narrator, he sounds splendidly Churchillian.

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Highly recommend

The account of WW1 from the point of view of Winston Churchill is a fascinating read/listen. Churchill's writing is excellent, keeping the listener engaged and entertained throughout the whole story. The beginning was a bit difficult to get through as you are thrown in amongst the turmoil leading up to the war, with many names and countries that were unfamiliar. Also, the political going ons are a bit monotonous, but once Arch Duke Franz Ferdinand is assassinated, it becomes highly entertaining.

Christian Rodska"s narration is excellent and I have to remind myself that it isn't Churchill himself speaking.

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  • chris
  • 13-12-2009

Excellent presentation of a classic work

This is an excellent reading of this work.(Nobody does Churchill quite like Christian Rodska.)
The work is an interesting but somewhat self serving view of the First world war from Churchills perspective. He had access to many documents denied to other historians initially and made good use of them.It is a nice contrast to listen to this in conjunction with Massies "Castles of Steel" which gives a different perspective on Churchills role as First Sea Lord.
My only real quibble is that it isn't made clear that this is an unabridged reading of the abridged version!(Which is in fact far more readable than the full edition.)

7 people found this helpful

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  • Graham
  • 03-02-2010

Living History

I recently listened to Roy Jenkins' excellent biography of Churchill. This re-awakened my interest in the man (WSC) to the extent that I wanted to hear an account of his life and times in his own words. Like most people I have known him as the great statesman and warlord of popular legend and also that he had been a prolific writer. However, never having previously read any of his works I had not gathered what a brilliant writer he was into the bargain. This account of WW1 and its origins, given from WSC's personal perspective, is infomative, authoritative and utterly compelling. It practically fizzes with energy and life, thanks in no small part to a masterly reading of the text by Christian Rodska. I gained an entirely new perspective on that grim, Great War - hands up those who knew of the German Navy's bombardment Hartlepool, Whitby and Scarborough in December 1914 - and I was utterly intrigued by the inside account of the exercise of power in the great days of Cabinet Government and Parliamentary Democracy. By comparison with today's tawdry governance in the UK we have a vivid illustration of what we have lost in the past 100 years.

30 people found this helpful

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  • S. Smith
  • 04-04-2020

Great performance, dubious content

As someone who has been listening to audiobooks for years, I must say that the narrator of this series of books is incredible. He sounds positively Churchillian without "putting it on". The prose is fantastic and beautifully delivered.

It's a shame that this book has been split into 3 (each 10 or so hours a piece). Presumably this was to make a bit more cash. I have plenty of books in my Audible collection which are much longer than 10 hours for the price of one credit, so this feels quite cheeky. This is part one, but part two and three suffer from incorrect labelling as chapter 1 of book two is actually chapter 12 or something. If only the labelling could have been kept consistent.

Finally, whilst this is ostensibly a history of the First World War it very quickly descends into Churchill defending himself from blame for his part in the action Dardanelles / Gallipoli as well as taking credit for the use of the tank, the defence of Belgium, the invention of anti-mine measures on ships and so on. He also dedicates a lot of space to bigging up his friends and allies, so it is important to understand that this book is a product of Churchill's political aspirations at its time of writing (between WW1 and WW2). It is not a definitive history on WW1. It is one man's highly politicised recasting of events for his own political means. There is certainly a lot of truth in it, but beware the spin... which can go on a bit.

8 people found this helpful

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  • Anonymous User
  • 24-03-2019

wonderful

could not have picked a better narrator. I felt as if it could have been Churchill himself reading to me. A marvellous performance throughout

4 people found this helpful

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  • R Fraser
  • 06-10-2017

Everyone should read this book!

A personal account, read with great verve, giving insight into a great mind. Entertaining at times, educational at others, always interesting.

4 people found this helpful

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  • Broken iPod owner
  • 09-10-2014

MASTERPIECE MASTERPIECE MASTERPIECE

Would you recommend this audiobook to a friend? If so, why?

If Williams Shakespeare had the insight of a major philosopher, and stood on the sidelines of an amazing world event, this would be the prose written

What was one of the most memorable moments of The World Crisis 1911-18?

The mastery of language by Churchill is probably the high point, but that of course runs all the way through

What does Christian Rodska bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you had only read the book?

I'm freed up to do hours and hours of other things by it being audio and not print, but the narrator's manner helps deliver the cadences of Churchill that might be lost on reading, much in the same way a professional actor helps Shakespeare digest more easily. I don't really like his voice, but it is right for the book

If you made a film of this book, what would be the tag line be?

something over-flowery about the path into World War I, because that is what sells a film

Any additional comments?

this is really a great book for anyone who wants a view on a massive part of world history from a master historian's perspective, written in wonderful English, but it commands concentration to get the most from it. Not for my bedtime or normal chores - for long walks

3 people found this helpful

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  • J Edwards
  • 09-02-2015

Outstanding and essential history account

Played it at 1/2 speed on device. Much more Churchillian like and easier to grasp the multitude of facts.

6 people found this helpful

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  • A. Curtis
  • 03-09-2019

Wonderful

A fantastic start to another Churchill series. I had previously listened to the WWII books and this is much in the same vein. Churchill has such a vivid and enthusiastic writing style. This book covers a lot of the naval areas of the lead up and initial stages of the war and this was all new to me. Also it's worth pointing out the the reading from Christian Rodska is nothing short of brilliant. His Churchill voice really makes you believe the great man is speaking to you. Onto the next part!

1 person found this helpful

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  • Arnfinn Rong
  • 19-02-2019

PERFECT READER!!!

An absolute unique performance; in an unusual approach to producing an audiobook, this recording have the history and the book, by Winston Churchill, rendered in a true, real-life voice approach by performer Christian Rodska. What could easily have turned into a farce, the marvelous performance by reader Rodska, not only saves the book, but brings the life and times of Winston Churchill so instantly into his own entire story of WW1. The book is a masterpiece of valuable first-hand insight by Churchill. The reading is a unique reenactment of Churchill himself in the given time-period of the history.

1 person found this helpful

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  • Gra59
  • 20-12-2018

Fascinating insight to the lead up to WW1

Absolutely fascinating insight into the start of WW1 and the naval actions that followed. The book also gives an the reader an understanding into the personalities of the men involved and their reasoning which lead to the actions that they took.

1 person found this helpful

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  • J. M. Poulain
  • 23-11-2021

More of a Churchill Memoir than a history

Having enjoyed Churchill's the History of the English Speaking People I thought this book would be an interesting overview of the first world war, an area I really don't know much about, having purchased on Audible the "Part One" was nowhere to be found in the title and I was slightly dissappointed to realised part way through that this wasn't the collection of four volumes (promised in the introduction) but only a part of the whole.

The focus in the book seems quite narrow, as I understand form Churchill's references there were a lot of books written after WW1 recounting the events and as such the war is covered from his perspective as a minister and the admiralty, events that he wasn't directly involved in are described but not in as much detail as others which I feel may have given me a warped perspective of the importance of the naval battles between a vastly superior British force and a smaller German navy. There are also some issues with how closely the book was written to the event as perspective hasn't come into play, some events are written casusally as the audience is expected to remember them.

Despite some issues there are some interesting looks into the thoughts of Churchill, his maxims for war and even his understanding of keeping codebreaking and intelligence a secret from the enemy. "The British Naval Principle of the first line of defence being the enemy's ports" or "Modern Armies cannot close a gap by sideways motion, only by advance or retreat", I'm not sure if these are true but they are an interesting look at the theories of war.

I'd not heard of the battle of La Marne and that the German Generals allegedly thought the war was lost from that point. Full of ancedotes and interesting information about the war even if it's not a general overview.

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