From a very young age, Churchill believed he was destined to play a great role in the life of his nation, and he determined to prepare himself. Jenkins shows in fascinating detail how Churchill educated himself for greatness, how he worked out his livelihood (writing) as well as his professional life (politics), how he situated himself at every major site or moment in British imperial and governmental life. His parliamentary career was like no other - with its changes of allegiance (from the Conservative to the Liberal and back to the Conservative Party), its troughs and humiliations, its triumphs and peaks - and for decades, especially the crisis years of the late 1930s and the terrifying 1940s, when at last it was clear how vital Churchill was to the very survival of Britain. He evaluates Churchill's other accomplishments, his writings, with equal authority.
Exceptional in its breadth of knowledge and distinguished by its stylish wit and penetrating intelligence, this is one of the finest political biographies of our time.
©2001 Roy Jenkins; (P)2002 Blackstone Audiobooks
"A first-class, well-sustained work of history and a masterpiece of biography." (The Sunday Telegraph)
"This is far and away Churchill's best one-volume biography." (Arthur Schlesinger, Jr.)
For someone who thought that he knew a great deal about Winston Churchill, I soon found out that I barely scratched the surface. Roy Jenkins does a wonderful job filling in the details of the life of one of the greatest men of the 20th Century, but it is the expert narration of Robert Whitfield who made the story come alive with a near perfect rendition of Churchill's iconic voice together with reasonable impersonations of Franklin D. Roosevelt and others. Although 37 hours makes for a long listen, every stage of his life had noteworthy insights into the man and the times. I was particularly impressed with the wisdom and skill with which Clementine, his wife, helped to temper his moods and provide him with good counsel (when he would listen to her).
As might be expected, the events leading up to and the beginning of World War II were the most interesting. But I would recommend this book to a listener who is willing to make the effort learning about Churchill as a person and not just eager to hear about the high points.
Generally, this book is considered one of the better biographies of Churchill. Having read a number of them I would agree. The recording itself is well done, though the part that deals with Churchill?s life between the wars is a bit slow and dry. This, however, seems to be the case with any book of this larger-than-life man.
Hard to believe that anyone could make a life of Churchill boring, but Jenkins has managed
People who really, really get into the day-by-day details of political figures.
Not if it's this long. I think this book would have been much better if it was 1/5 as long as it is.
Good, nice, adequate
Sure. There was plenty that I didn't know about Churchill -- his personal life, his upbringing, his participation in the Boer War, and his drinking problem, and his belief to a fault in the power of summitry. The part that concentrated on his leadership during and after WWII was very good, but too brief.
I almost ended my new habit of listening to books on account of this one.
britain's political class was a remarkably inept bunch
they're lives were built on generations of rewarded mediocracy
inherited privilege and money were under every floorboard
a confrontation with the wider world brought this liability into focus
the author roy jenkins seems very comfortable in this world
the subject (WSC) winston spencer churchill confronted it at every turn
churchill was a miserable, melancholy and arrogant man
he say enemies behind every tree and threats in every encounter
he was built for war and confrontation but lost his compass in peacetime
WSC seems to have had all the modern american virtues
loud, indulgent, brazen, self promoting, constantly on the move
he kept the wolf of insignificance away from the door at all costs
when war finally came WSC was the man britain needed > loved
weeks after the war ended he was voted out of office in favor of Atlee
britain's relevance in world affairs has been fading ever since that change
the story focuses on a long list of british political events and characters
that is the world roy jenkins understands and participated in for decades
WSC was too big for that, he spent his life seeking the center of world events
It gave a good history of Churchill's carreer
The Issues and government reaction to the events leading up to the second world war
Yes, George Scott
Believe the book spent a lot of time on details and miscellaneous information that didn't help me understand Churchill
I first got this Audible title many years ago, and I'm now going through it again. The reading is excellent, and the material is authoritative, entertaining and well balanced.
There are enough twists and turns for good fiction, though this is all true history.
Churchill was a complex character, and every nuance is examined, not least from the political experience of the author who held senior office in later British governments.
Jenkins' account of Churchill's life is strongly influenced by his own career as a Labour MP, and if this biography is anything, it's a political life. We hear about every one of Churchill's many campaigns for office and much of the party intrigues that helped get him in and out of positions of power. For those with the stamina to hang in through dozens of hours of reading, this is a fine listen, one that will certainly leave you in awe of Churchill's own stamina and drive.
A thorough narrative of Churchill's personality and politics marred by pretentious, Byzantine, antiquated prose. Most annoying: one needs their French and Latin dictionaries within reach. Happy slogging.
A long, thorough and insightful biography of a fascinating and charismatic British politician, though when compared to the multiple tombs completed by Martin Gilbert and Randolf Churchill this is a brief summary of Churchill?s life.
Jenkins? insights are particularly fascinating for his own experience of later British Government.
I would agree with those, presumably American who find this dry. Much of his life is tied up in the UK parliamentary system, so unless you have a keen knowledge of the subject, the terminaology and characters can appear obscure.
As a Brit, I find this absolutely fascinating, and I believe that I will return to this book once every five years or so. A wonderful book!!!
"The definitive Churchill biography?"
Roy Jenkins has produced what could well be the definitive biography of Winston Churchill. Others may produce more detailed works on particular aspects of his career, notably the period of his premiership during the Second World War, but this is probably the best covering his whole life.
Jenkins uses his long experience as a politician who held some of the highest offices of state, though he never made it to Number 10, to analyse various aspects of Churchill's political career. Churchill was of course far more than a politician, having also written a number of highly praised histories and biographies, and here too Jenkins has no little experience to add.
This is no hagiography - Churchill was a great, but of course not a perfect, man and Jenkins does not shy away from his faults. But it is also not a revisionist history - the author greatly admires his subject and this is clear throughout the book. I found it to be a very fair account.
The narrator does an excellent job with this lengthy work and I happily listened to the complete audiobook, enjoying the whole experience. Five stars from me for this magisterial work on one of the greatest men to have ever lived.
A great insight to one of the most distinguised figures of the 20th century. A true understanding of the ruling classes and thier insight of how the world should be. Without Churchill leading from the front the course of history would most certainly have been different. No matter what you previously thought of the man this book will give you a much deeper insight.
"Just about perfect"
Winston Churchill was incredible man. This book goes through his life from the school boy who couldn't learn his Latin to an old man who couldn't really get over the fact that he was no longer Prime Minister.
Roy Jenkins comments with the gentlest of touches as he goes through bringing numerous sources together to paint a vivid picture of a massive personality.
A brilliant reading of an excellent and authoritative biography. Churchill's wit and humour shines through the whole incredible story of the man and Jenkins uses extensive research to bring home the merits (and faults) of 'the finest Prime Minister of the 20th Century.'
A fine reading as well, and even an appropriate and accurate impersonation of the great man. Enjoyed it immensely
"Excellent review of Churchill"
I have read several biographies of Churchill and this is by far the best.
Keen insight into the man and his achievements and failures
A beautiful use of the English language, i would definitely recommend investing the time to listen
"Good but audio quality a problem"
A very interesting book though I feel that it could have expanded a lot more on Churchill's death and legacy.
Also the sound quality is not very good and is only just bearable on decent headphones.
a truly weighty tome and one I dipped in and out of over many weeks. An amazing life covered in great detail.
Narrator continuously easy to listen to, Churchill's voice in the quotes well done. Moves along effortlessly, full of information and story. Didn't seem long at all. A full life ... Not just a mythological slice.
"The most perfect combination"
The very best. A most informative biography
His fortitude and self belief in his wilderness years
Yes. My own disbelief that for so much of my life I had simply taken Churchill for granted without comprehending his importance to my being
Beautifully written and incorporating a wonderful command of the English language
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