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Churchill | [Roy Jenkins]

Churchill

In this magisterial book, Roy Jenkins' unparalleled command of the political history of Britain and his own high-level government experience combine in a narrative account of Churchill's astounding career that is unmatched in its shrewd insights, its unforgettable anecdotes, the clarity of its overarching themes, and the author's nuanced appreciation of his extraordinary subject.
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Publisher's Summary

Winston Churchill is an icon of modern history, but even though he was at the forefront of the political scene for almost 60 years, he might be remembered only as a minor player in the drama of British government had it not been for World War II. In this magisterial book, Roy Jenkins' unparalleled command of the political history of Britain and his own high-level government experience combine in a narrative account of Churchill's astounding career that is unmatched in its shrewd insights, its unforgettable anecdotes, the clarity of its overarching themes, and the author's nuanced appreciation of his extraordinary subject.

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

What the Critics Say

"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.)

What Members Say

Average Customer Rating

4.0 (518 )
5 star
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Overall
4.2 (195 )
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Story
4.1 (192 )
5 star
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4 star
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3 star
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2 star
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1 star
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Performance
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  •  
    Alan Rither 09-06-06
    Alan Rither 09-06-06
    HELPFUL VOTES
    417
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    66
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    Overall
    "All you wanted to know about Churchill and more"

    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.

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Tim Darien, , CT, USA 09-17-03
    Tim Darien, , CT, USA 09-17-03
    HELPFUL VOTES
    71
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    "A large book for a larger-than-life man"

    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.

    7 of 9 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Robert Chapel Hill, NC, United States 08-03-14
    Robert Chapel Hill, NC, United States 08-03-14 Member Since 2007
    HELPFUL VOTES
    3
    ratings
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    "Unexpectedly boring"
    Was Churchill worth the listening time?

    NO


    Any additional comments?

    Hard to believe that anyone could make a life of Churchill boring, but Jenkins has managed

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Robert Hoboken, NJ, United States 03-18-13
    Robert Hoboken, NJ, United States 03-18-13
    HELPFUL VOTES
    2
    ratings
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    4
    4
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    0
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    Performance
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    "Very hard to get through"
    This book wasn’t for you, but who do you think might enjoy it more?

    People who really, really get into the day-by-day details of political figures.


    Would you ever listen to anything by Roy Jenkins again?

    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.


    What three words best describe Robert Whitfield’s voice?

    Good, nice, adequate


    You didn’t love this book... but did it have any redeeming qualities?

    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.


    Any additional comments?

    I almost ended my new habit of listening to books on account of this one.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Frauke United States 04-03-12
    Frauke United States 04-03-12 Member Since 2011
    HELPFUL VOTES
    5
    ratings
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    2
    2
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    0
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    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Wordy and Miscellaneous Details"
    Would you try another book from Roy Jenkins and/or Robert Whitfield?

    No


    What did you like best about this story?

    It gave a good history of Churchill's carreer


    Which scene was your favorite?

    The Issues and government reaction to the events leading up to the second world war


    Could you see Churchill being made into a movie or a TV series? Who should the stars be?

    Yes, George Scott


    Any additional comments?

    Believe the book spent a lot of time on details and miscellaneous information that didn't help me understand Churchill

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Mark Le Vaud, Switzerland 03-19-11
    Mark Le Vaud, Switzerland 03-19-11 Member Since 2000
    HELPFUL VOTES
    41
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    74
    12
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    "Absolutely brilliant"

    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.

    3 of 4 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Brad APO, AE, United States 12-13-09
    Brad APO, AE, United States 12-13-09 Member Since 2007
    HELPFUL VOTES
    27
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    "Well-written, well-read political biography"

    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.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Jay A. Cohen Santa Clara, CA USA 06-14-06
    Jay A. Cohen Santa Clara, CA USA 06-14-06 Member Since 2004

    Padre Cohen

    HELPFUL VOTES
    82
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    "An Arduous Listen"

    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.

    3 of 4 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Iain BertrangeLuxembourg 03-22-05
    Iain BertrangeLuxembourg 03-22-05
    HELPFUL VOTES
    25
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    10
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    "A Brilliant Biography"

    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!!!

    5 of 7 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Flavius Morro Bay, CA, United States 07-03-09
    Flavius Morro Bay, CA, United States 07-03-09 Member Since 2009
    HELPFUL VOTES
    303
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    Overall
    "An enjoying and thorough biography."

    Recommended to anyone with an interest in one of the great figures of the 20th Century (the greatest, according to the author). This is a fairly thorough, but readable personal history. With the exception of some digressions into the day-to-day grind of parlimentary politics (the rules of which may be a source of confusion to some non-British readers, such as myself), the book remains thoroughly enjoyable until the end.

    Roy Jenkins may be the ideal person to effectively conjure Churchill's legacy. Although their time in government overlapped but little (and at very different ends of their careers), Jenkins was (I believe) a Labour minister, with a very different set of political beliefs than had Churchill. Nevertheless, it is clear that Jenkins holds Churchill in the highest esteem. This high esteem, coupled with a tendency to deflate Churchill at various points, makes for a compelling picture of a brilliant, difficult and (at times) transformative individual.

    The narration is exceptional.

    2 of 3 people found this review helpful
  • Showing: 11-20 of 38 results PREVIOUS1234NEXT
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  • Mark
    Newcastle-under-Lyme, United Kingdom
    1/13/13
    Overall
    "Churchill (Unabridged)"

    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.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • sarah
    london, United Kingdom
    1/11/12
    Overall
    "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.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • Ian
    Bolton, United Kingdom
    1/16/11
    Overall
    "Excellent"

    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

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • Burbag
    11/26/14
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "The most perfect combination"
    Where does Churchill rank among all the audiobooks you’ve listened to so far?

    The very best. A most informative biography


    What was one of the most memorable moments of Churchill?

    His fortitude and self belief in his wilderness years


    Which character – as performed by Robert Whitfield – was your favourite?

    Winston Churchill


    Did you have an emotional reaction to this book? Did it make you laugh or cry?

    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


    Any additional comments?

    Beautifully written and incorporating a wonderful command of the English language

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Amazon Customer
    n.Warks. UK
    7/7/14
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Soldier,Journalist,Statesman,Writer, and Leader."
    Where does Churchill rank among all the audiobooks you’ve listened to so far?

    Without question the extraordinary life and times of Winston Churchill are unparalleled in the history of this or any other country.


    What did you like best about this story?

    From the very start and the manner of his upbringing to the highs and lows of his life in the military, journalism, politics and the effect his personality had on his own and other countries. His long life read like an epic novel.


    Which character – as performed by Robert Whitfield – was your favourite?

    Whitfield's portrayal of Churchill was magnificent! The array of characters made the choice of a preference very hard but the feeling that this was Churchill was paramount.


    Did you have an emotional reaction to this book? Did it make you laugh or cry?

    The book excited, frustrated and touched throughout the telling.When they could not or would not listen to his message at home and abroad to what now seemed so blindingly obvious prior to 1939 was utter frustration.


    Any additional comments?

    This was a man with the failings and human frailties that possess all. But what a man and what a story. Thank God he was on our side. You could not have written the script.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Mr.
    Glasgow, United Kingdom
    5/15/14
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Massive and impressive."

    This is a very fine piece of work. Long, with many strands to follow, the journey is made surprisingly easy by a deft narrative touch, meticulous research and an absolutely first class narration. As well as being a tremendously informative work with regard to its stated subject, this is a revealing piece in its demonstration of the political class's entrenched sense of entitlement on so many levels. This revelation must certainly have been Roy Jenkins' intention with regard to Winston Churchill, but I wonder if he realised how much of his own ruling class presumption and smugness would leak through in his story telling? A splendid historical biography, but also a pointer to how little the ruling elite differ from generation to generation and how very far removed they are from the lives and concerns of those whom they purport to represent. Highly recommended.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • mr
    west sussex, United Kingdom
    1/31/14
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Decent"

    As a whole a good book. My only complaint is that there are very few external referance points used. This means it is not always clear why he is acting in a certain way. The authors personal insights into politics are very good. This helps explain why some events were catastrophic, when to the layman it would appear to be just a bad speech.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • C. M. E. Beckingham
    Sheffield, England
    8/23/13
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Epic"

    Bit of a marathon but worth the effort. Recommended for serious history buffs but bear in mind the length if you only have a passing interest.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Dave Roden
    6700 Esbjerg, Denmark
    10/7/12
    Overall
    "Great biography"

    Overall a great biography, blighted by the occasional annoyance of silly "I'm cleverer than you" phrases in French and latin. That's bad enough but having thrown these entirely unnecessary phrases randomly in the author does not profer a translation of same. SIlly me - I keep forgetting the author is a politician, so such politico "leet speak" is only to be expected.

    1 of 2 people found this review helpful
  • r
    preston, United Kingdom
    4/28/12
    Overall
    "To biased"


    Gave the benefit of doubt, came across too political. I should have known better and gave up after two parts!!

    1 of 3 people found this review helpful
  • Showing: 11-20 of 22 results PREVIOUS123NEXT

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