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.
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!!!
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.
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
"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
"Soldier,Journalist,Statesman,Writer, and Leader."
Without question the extraordinary life and times of Winston Churchill are unparalleled in the history of this or any other country.
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.
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.
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.
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.
"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.
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.
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.
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.
Gave the benefit of doubt, came across too political. I should have known better and gave up after two parts!!
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