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Churchill | [The Great Courses]

Churchill

In these 12 inspiring lectures, Professor Fears presents a well-balanced portrait of Churchill that does not whitewash his flaws. Yet he also draws on the most recent historical scholarship and material from Churchill's writings and speeches to make the case that Churchill belongs with Pericles of Athens and Abraham Lincoln as one of the greatest statesmen in the history of democracy.
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Publisher's Summary

His friend, colleague, and esteemed political foe Clement Attlee once memorialized Winston Churchill as "the greatest Englishman of our time - I think the greatest citizen of the world of our time." More than a half-century later, Churchill's life remains proof that a single individual can change the course of history for the better and make of life a blessed and noble thing, despite public and private trials too numerous to name.

Who was this extraordinary man who rose up at an hour when freedom and right stood in mortal peril before tyranny and terror to rally the British people? To say with courage, genius, and eloquence, "Let us therefore brace ourselves to our duties and so bear ourselves that, if the British Empire and its Commonwealth last for a thousand years, men will still say, 'This was their finest hour.'"

Moreover, how did he accomplish this amazing feat? And how was it that this achievement was just a single part of a long and fruitful life in a stunning array of endeavors?

In these 12 inspiring lectures, Professor Fears presents a well-balanced portrait of Churchill that does not whitewash his flaws. Yet he also draws on the most recent historical scholarship and material from Churchill's writings and speeches to make the case that Churchill belongs with Pericles of Athens and Abraham Lincoln as one of the greatest statesmen in the history of democracy.

Disclaimer: Please note that this recording may include references to supplemental texts or print references that are not essential to the program and not supplied with your purchase.

©2001 The Teaching Company, LLC (P)2001 The Great Courses

What Members Say

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  •  
    Jean Santa Cruz, CA, United States 09-05-13
    Jean Santa Cruz, CA, United States 09-05-13 Member Since 2010

    I am an avid eclectic reader.

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    "A great review of Churchill's life"

    Professor Fears is an excellent speaker and held my interest to the end. I have over the years watched DVD's from The Great Courses and have never been disappointed. Since I was in elementary school Churchill has fascinated me. I have read/watched/listened to every thing I could get my hands on about or by WSC. Professor Fears managed to provide me with a few pearls of information I was unaware of. Professor Fears reviewed WSC life and his place in history. He covered Churchill's forefather's more in-depth than many other books on Churchill. One of the things I liked best was Dr. Fears reviewed some of the negative books written about Churchill and pointed out the flaws in thinking or agreed that Churchill made a mistake. Like many great men people either hated or loved Churchill. Professor Fears tried to show him as a man, a great statesman, strategic thinker, orator and author. The key items Fears points out about Churchill was he was a Statesman not a Politian and he goes on to define the difference. He also points out Churchill never avoided the difficult jobs he was given, he was honest, studied the situation carefully and acted. He also demonstrates how WSC was a great administrator. Most people know he was a great speaker but he also won the Nobel prize for literature in 1953 for his collection of writing.

    7 of 7 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Francisco Buenos Aires, Argentina 07-12-13
    Francisco Buenos Aires, Argentina 07-12-13
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    "Churchill"
    What did you like best about this story?

    This is more than a lecture. This is a biography of a great man an it is superbly told. It doesn't matter if you know nothing about Churchill or if you've already read a lot about him because Professor J. Rufus Fears does a superb job with his own perspective.


    Have you listened to any of Professor J. Rufus Fears’s other performances before? How does this one compare?

    Professor J. Rufus Fears lecture's are the best of the best. He doesn't deliver them, he performs them; he knows his subject and he is always, always, passionate about it.


    Was there a moment in the book that particularly moved you?

    Thanks to this lecture I found out that Churchill was a very sensitive guy capable of crying like a child, in the middle of the war when he found out that people were forming a long line just to buy food for their birds.


    7 of 7 people found this review helpful
  •  
    ShySusan 09-18-13
    ShySusan 09-18-13 Member Since 2006
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    "A good biography of a great man."

    A number of years ago, before I joined Audible, I listened to a biography of Winston Churchill. I had heard all my life what a great man he was and I decided I wanted to know the details. To my amazement, this biography revealed that Churchill wasn't a great man at all. He was rather stupid and petty and got a lot more credit than he deserved, etc., etc. I was quite confused. I wasn't totally willing to give up my idea of him at a great man, and I wondered why the author of that biography would put in so much time and effort writing a book about a man he despised.

    Toward the end of THIS biography, the author mentions that there have been a couple of biographies in recent years that basically set out to make Churchill seem a failure at everything. I liked this book much better.

    Yes, Winston Churchill was a flawed personality. Maybe this had something to do with the way he was raised. His mother was promiscuous and his father died of syphilis. Both his parents neglected him terribly as a child. He was sent off to boarding school at the age of seven, and when his father traveled to the city where the school was to give a speech, he didn't bother to visit his son, even though the school was just across the street.

    He was also highly intelligent and he was a true hero on many occasions. I really liked this biography. While the author mentioned where he fell short occasionally, he spent more time detailing Churchill's many positive attributes.

    I finished this book in only two days, which shows how gripping it was. I didn't want to turn it off for sleep.

    8 of 9 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Brendan United States 08-09-13
    Brendan United States 08-09-13 Member Since 2012
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    "Worth a listen"
    What aspect of Professor J. Rufus Fears’s performance would you have changed?

    The delivery is very conversational as a lecture series would be, but there were some points in the audio where his inflection and volume spiked and was painful to listen to. Aside from that, it was very good.


    Any additional comments?

    The subject matter was very interesting.

    3 of 3 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Jimmy Mt Royal, NJ, United States 11-19-13
    Jimmy Mt Royal, NJ, United States 11-19-13 Member Since 2013
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    "SO DRY"
    This book wasn’t for you, but who do you think might enjoy it more?

    i've listened to other "great courses" and really enjoyed them. prof. fears was amazingly dry...


    Would you recommend Churchill to your friends? Why or why not?

    i would not recommend this course, i'd probably direct people towards a simple biography instead.


    How could the performance have been better?

    passion about the subject you're teaching is always a plus.


    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Peter Kogarah, Australia 10-24-13
    Peter Kogarah, Australia 10-24-13 Member Since 2010
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    "Informative"
    What made the experience of listening to Churchill the most enjoyable?

    The professor obviously enjoys the subject matter and you hear it as he seems excited at times.


    What did you like best about this story?

    There is a mixture of personal and professional information given and churchills humour is injected throughout


    What does Professor J. Rufus Fears bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you just read the book?

    The professors obvious enjoyment gives an energy to the book


    If you were to make a film of this book, what would the tag line be?

    Never have so many owed so much to just one


    Any additional comments?

    Americans always try to insert themselves into stories, Dunkirk was a massive achievement by thousands of army, navy and airforce professionals of the armies of Europe not to mention the efforts given by civilians who put themselves into the front to save the withdrawing troops, but the professor twice mentions a lone American on a yacht. Every American historian seems to have an over inflated idea of their countries involvement in any incident no matter how small

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Michalis Petrou 10-09-14 Member Since 2013
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    "Lecture from a dedicated fan of Churchill"
    This book wasn’t for you, but who do you think might enjoy it more?

    Eventhough I do not have much knowledge about the life of Winston Churchill (hence the reason I got this audiobook), it came to me that the lecturer was portraying Churchill with the brightest of colours. The lecture was not from a person that wanted to give a spherical view of Churchill but rather from a fan that wanted to show off his favourite hero. The best example is the mere reference to the Black and Tans and their presence in Ireland by the lecturer as nothing special and of note to the life of Churchill. The Black and Tans were created by Churchill and had commited atrocities in Ireland but they are not mentioned at all by the lecturer. Again, I am not knowledgable about the life of Churchill but the exclusion of the above makes me question the validity and the objectivity of the lecturer.


    Has Churchill turned you off from other books in this genre?

    No. I have purchased other "The Great Courses" audiobooks and I enjoyed them and audiobooks based on history is something I enjoy (as long as they are as objective as possible).


    How could the performance have been better?

    If the lecturer was more objective with a more spherical view of the life of Winston Churchill, with both, the good and the bad aspects of his life, then this would be a worthwhile audiobook.


    What reaction did this book spark in you? Anger, sadness, disappointment?

    Disappointment because I would expect a more objective lecture from a professor of such high level.


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Chris_B Atlanta, GA United States 05-20-14
    Chris_B Atlanta, GA United States 05-20-14 Member Since 2013
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    "Engaging presentation of an engaging person"

    Professor Fears does a wonderful job narrating the life of Churchill. Fears is passionate about Churchill and provides an engaging overview of the man and the context of the times in which he lived. I was already very familiar with Churchill's life and activities during WWII, so I appreciated that Fears spent much time on Churchill's early life and career. He discussed Churchill's relationship with his parents and his fascination with his ancestor, John Churchill, the Duke of Marlborough and used that as a framework to understand Churchill throughout the remainder of the lectures. He also analyzed Churchill's politics--made more interesting by his switching of political parties more than one time--as an expression of concern for the common man and freedom for all.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    J. Bryan New York, New York United States 06-25-14
    J. Bryan New York, New York United States 06-25-14 Member Since 2012

    liking the sound

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    "Fine, but very two dimension view of Churchill"
    Would you say that listening to this book was time well-spent? Why or why not?

    so-so. The author seems so dedicated to selling the listener on Churchill's greatness, and functionally flawless man, that everything else takes the backseat. In addition not acknowledging mistakes or flaws in his character, for me, undercut and discredited the praise. Fears goes so far as to suggest that Churchill is blameless in his greatest debacle, Gallipoli. Churchill was possibly a great man, but he is certainly a more complex and interesting man than presented in this material. It's like listening to a super fan talk about the band they like, at first their passion is exciting, but soon they seem more blinded by their admiration than enlightened.


    Would you recommend Churchill to your friends? Why or why not?

    If they were really interested in him it's quick and easy. I would give them a few caveats though.


    Which scene was your favorite?

    The Hitler stuff.


    Do you think Churchill needs a follow-up book? Why or why not?

    Nope. Well, he dies in the end.


    Any additional comments?

    If you don't mind the hero worship (I did maybe just personal taste) there is a lot of information in here, but the conclusions are often unsatisfying.

    0 of 1 people found this review helpful
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