Great reading of a great writer. I love Churchill's writing style, and while I've read many works about the Second World War, so much ink put on so much paper comes from this very source in one way or another.
It's a great book at the really pivotal moments of the war and careers of many French politicians and generals. The formation of the national government is covered. It covers from just before the German invasion and how in the desire to remain neutral none built arms or allowed the 2 armed nations to help them thus allowing Hitler to subdue Western European so fast. Egypt, Greece, Persia, Iraq, the menace of Japan. The war in Africa and the Atlantic battle against the U-Boats. All described, also many personal moments from different leaders and key officials to the lowest ranks on a ship attending service. It's very well written and entertaining or let the narrator Christian Rodsger - I think, his voice can put you to sleep but only if you are trying to fall asleep.
Frustrating (with hindsight, one can see mistakes unfolding and unresolved, which led to war)
Inspiring (to hear in detail of the privations endured by the British public while they persevered)
Detailed (Churchill documents the (in)actions undertaken by the British and French governments and their militaries during the period from 1940 - June 1941
The average Brit, who refused to be pounded into mental rubble, even as his cities were bombed, his rations cut, his political freedoms sacrificed for causes he believed just.
The only "character" Mr Rodska performed was the author, Winston Churchill.
Their finest hour was months long.
The European democracies sought to appease a brutal dictatorship under the mistaken belief the dictator would be honest and placated by accession to his demands. Dictators aren't honest and are never placated. Too bad the West hasn't learned this lesson.
The second volume in Winston Churchill’s history of World War II focuses on the time period after France had fallen to the German invasion until the entrance of the United States into the conflict. It was a hard time for the British people. Their nation was the only free European country actively opposing Hitler’s scheme of domination. For this, Germany turned its full strength upon the island and brought Britain to its darkest hour. This volume is a testimony to the unconquerable spirit the British had in the face of a merciless enemy.
In a few short years, Germany had gone from a struggling bankrupt nation into a war machine that controlled nearly half of all Europe. After all the missteps that the European leaders took – which Churchill relates in Milestones to Disaster – the British army finds themselves in Occupied France facing complete destruction. Alone begins with the account of the unbelievable escape accomplished at Dunkirk – the largest marine transportation event in the history of the world at that point. Thousands of ships, many civilian, saved the lives of hundreds of thousands of men.
After this miraculous feat of logistics and sheer will, Britain is isolated on their little island home. They know that Hitler will come to destroy his final opposition. Churchill, in amazing detail and frankness, reveals how England steeled themselves for the onslaught. Massive defense measures of every town went into action. Every port was mined and patrolled. Every able bodied citizen was assigned a war duty task such as fire watch, food supply, child care. The Royal Air Force was called upon to keep constant vigil in the air while the Royal Navy swept the seas and harbors. At no time has there been a country more single-minded in its effort for defense. The delightful shores of Albion became a bulwark.
Through this and the Battle of Britain to come, Churchill rallied the people with his speeches. Never for a minute was surrender considered an option. Optimism and perseverance was always the tone. The strength of this history is the resolve of the people of Britain to overcome. Hardships came in droves, but they survived. A fictional account would only ring hollow. This true story gives the reader iron in his spirit to face the evil of their own time.
In the end, we know they came through. With dreadful losses, England lasted until the world could rally. Their determination probably saved the future of freedom. You should read of the debt we owe to this brave people whose lives shone in what was “their finest hour.”
Audible listeners: Christian Rodska is excellent! His tone throughout what could have been a boring history is full of life and pathos.
7.5 stars out of 10
Even though the outcome of world war 2 is well known, this book continues to build towards the great climax. I was continuously wondering what will happen next. From the war on the British front to the battles being fought in the mediterranean and the desert of North Africa, this book covers the grim events of in detail. The story line and the narration transported me into the battlefields and the headquarters where the next strategic decision was being made.
Dont read this unless you have read part 1.
This is an excellent series, brilliantly performed. So far I have listened to the first two parts, and the fact that I listened to both of them twice, speaks volumes about the quality of writing and performance. Christian Rodska is not reading a book for you, in reading this book, he becomes Churchill and talks to you. Every pause is well considered and adds to the narration. With regards to the writing, of course, unbiased reporting of an event is a myth. The soap of truth is hard to get hold of in the bathtub of history, as Sir Terry Pratchett memorably put it. With that disclaimer in place, this is a personal, insightful account of horrible events that reads like a novel.