History, as Winston Churchill famously predicted, has been good to him. His exalted place in the 20th century annals has been cemented through his Noble Prize-winning memoir, A History of the Second World War. In this audiobook version of the four-volume, 45-hour memoir, British actor Christian Rodska conveys the triumphs and tragedies of WW II with a voice as august and buoyant as we know Churchill's to have been. Consistently riveting and rich in historical insight, Churchill's memoir puts the listener in intimate audience with the powerful oration and defiant eloquence with which Churchill led a continent through its darkest hour.
©1959 Cassell and Co. Ltd; ©1990 the Esate of Winston Churchill; (P)2007 BBC Audiobooks Ltd
This is one of those rare instances when both the book and the narration are exceptional. The details are fascinating. I had read another of Churchill's books and he is a very good writer - far better than most historians. If you enjoy history then you will love this book.
This is a magnificent book, describing the many errors made by the British government (and to a lesser extent its allies) in the period after the Treaty of Versailles to Churchill's becoming prime minister in April 1940, at the time of the invasion of Holland and Belgium. It tells in detail the many decisions taken in the 1930s that served to strengthen Hitler's regime and military preparedness and weakened British military capacity to respond. It is marvellously read, a grim subject made exciting and inspiring.
If you want an unbiased history of the build-up to World War II, look elsewhere. This book is Winston Churchill's interpretation of the momentous events culminating in his coming to power in the early stages of the conflict.
But it is all the more interesting because it tells the story from his personal perspective. He is never shy of pointing out, time and time again, how his political colleagues could have avoided or delayed the war by standing up to Hitler. After the devastation of World War One the political climate in Britain was dominated by a desire for peace, and successive British governments stood back and watched while Hitler built a powerful military machine, a policy of appeasement which Churchill opposed vocally and consistently for many years. When Hitler invaded Belgium and Holland, the folly of the appeasers became undeniable and they stood down, making way for the one man who was ready for the fight.
Churchill's command of the English language is, of course, legendary. His radio speeches stirred and galvanized the British people and motivated them to make the necessary sacrifices in Britain's darkest hour. Although the subject of this story is a sombre one, it is a joy to hear it told in Churchill's own words.
Military history, Contemporary sci-fi/fantasy, Classics and Sport biographies ... in that order!
I have never enjoyed learning about history as much as this! I recently listened to another performance by Christian Rodska (Fear Index) so I was worried that the narration may not have a big impact on me. I was wrong! He is perfect to read Churchill in everyway.
The greatest thing about reading non fiction is how easy it is to relate to 'characters' because you know they're real people making real life decisions. Not only is Churchill a real person but he was THE person in a perfect position to give an amazing overview of one of the most important events in modern history. Being able to follow his path through so many extraordinary situations and visualize his process of making national decisions that shaped the world today is a privilege.
I lived in the UK for most of my life so I am well schooled in WW2, or so I thought. So many details, both big and small, are brought to light in Churchill's personal account of the build up to the war. After I finished this book, I immediately got the 2nd book to carry on the experience ... and I'm looking forward to finishing the complete series!
This is definitely one of my favorite non fiction books/series of all time.
Husband, father, nurse, geek culture affianado, tech junkie, late-blooming history lover, armchair theologist, Lego enthusiast, and follower of Christ.
It's one thing to read about WW2 from a historian, it's altogether different to hear it directly from one of the major players. It gave me new insight that I hadn't gathered from other books on the topic. The narration is also fantastic.
My only complaint is that I didn't realize this was the first of 4 parts when I bought it. It only leads up to the beginning of the war. I would like to have paid 2 credits for all 4 books together rather than having to buy each one separately. That having been said, I probably will end up buying the other three books.
I love books!
I didn't realize this was book 1 of 4 until I got to the end of it. But, it was still a good listen and I guess I'll have to do the other 3 at some point. This one went from the end of WWI until Churchill was named Prime Minister a few months into the war. You almost feel like it's Winston himself reading his feelings to you about what is go0ing on from his and the British perspective.
Authors I like: Patrick O'Brian, Frederick Forsyth, Jane Austen, John Le Carre, Alan Furst, Jon Krakauer, Ernest Hemingway.
Churchill's history of WWII has long been one of those books I wanted to read but hadn't gotten around to. I wasn't sure what to expect but I anticipated that it would be well-written, extrapolating from Churchill's oratory skills. I was not disappointed.
A good bit of the book is a memoir of Churchill's own experiences, rather than a third person account of political and military events. This first volume of the whole history primarily deals with the period leading up to the outbreak of war, so listeners expecting a play-by-play account of violent clashes between the warring nations will find that there is actually very little of it in "Milestones to Disaster." Presumably, the later volumes in Churchill's history of WWII will be more in that vein.
The narration by Christian Rodska is very good. He doesn't quite go so far as to try to embody the author in a fully theatrical sort of way, but there's a touch of that. When another person is quoted at length, such as Neville Chamberlain, Rodska alters his voice and does a creditable job of not only bringing that person to life but also of conveying perhaps Churchill's opinion of the man in doing so. In all, I think Rodska does a great job of adding just a bit of that theatrical quality without being ridiculous. I often forgot that I was listening to a modern reader and I would fall under the spell that I was hearing Churchill himself narrate his own book, even though it did not seem that Rpdska was trying to actually mimic Churchill's voice.
Perhaps the best compliment I can give "Milestones to Disaster" is simply comment that I plan to spend my credits on the rest of the volumes to finish out the entire history.
The voice of the narrator is similar to some audio that I've hear from Mr. Churchill so the experience of listening to this work is almost like Mr. Churchill his telling you a story. I've been alternating between audiobooks of ancient history (Roman, etc.) and more modern history and this book reads like one of the classics (i.e. Caesar's "Commentaries"). How remarkable that this book allows someone who lived so much of these events to record his experiences. How much more so that he is a first class mind with access to innumerable documents and sources to flesh out those events which he did not personally attend or know about at the time. The pure historian may want to be cautious as he was an actor in the tale and may have bias in his recollection. Still, this is an engrossing work and I highly recommend it.
This wasn't so much a general history of the period than a personal memoir. As a matter of fact, his accounts of many events (such as the 'night of the long knives') differ greatly from others, particularly when he was not directly involved.
That said, Churchill was fascinating character with a privileged and unique place within many of these grand historical events.
All in all, it was a very enjoyable read. The only thing detracting from that enjoyment was the sheer number of times Churchill reminds us that he was right and everyone else was wrong; if only everyone would have listened to him, war could have been avoided. His argument is not without merit, but after the first fifty or sixty times most readers will have gotten the point. The subsequent two or three hundred reminders seem just a tad self-aggrandizing.
Iranians keep their nukes, Americans lose their insurance.
Yes but not as the first and only. That would be: Rise and Fall of the Third Reich.,
These are his words.
"Extremely good listening"
Excellent, just excellent, I listened to this as one might to a novel,it was so gripping. I have only downloaded this title a day or two and have finished it already. All through the reading I could hear the great man's voice. The reading was very good indeed
"Riveting history by a master story-teller"
I couldn't stop listening to this first of four parts of this monumental work covering the prelude and execution of the Second World War written by the man who saw Britain through its darkest hours. He writes wonderfully well in a fluent and captivating style that gives a tremendous sense of immediacy to this historical record. Being of the generation born just after the War much of the bones of the story are well-known but not the details of just how near to disaster our country came on several occasions. Churchill's fine writing and the precarious nature of the events described make for a wonderful listen greatly enhanced by Christian Rodska's masterly narration. I've immediately started listening to the next part of this quartet of books.
Having finished listening to the whole four volumes of Churchill's WWII work, I can say that it was time extremely well spent. The narration was superb, with just enough Churchillism in the voice to bring images of the great man to mind. Churchill's writings are wonderful. If you are concerned that this work will be dull and tedious, don't worry, it is certainly not (I especially enjoyed the remark made by the Naval chap to the Russian official, after being offered a cigarette - find it in the fourth book!). Chances are, you'll be listening for a second or third time - I will. My only regret is that I listened to this work first - whereas, it may have been better to listen, initially, to the work on the first world war, then this work - but thats just me, there is no real reason why you cannot listen and enjoy this one first. Download this and enjoy. It will give you a better understanding of how the world managed to tumble into another war and of the great man himself. I don't really care much for celebrities, actors/actresses, singers and such, but of the very few people I admire, Churchill is one. And he would definitely be invited to my dining table- if only I could get the time machine to work!
"One of the best narrators I've heard"
Christian Rodska really makes this book come alive. You can imagine sitting next to Churchill himself reading the book. His accent and interpretation are spot on. And he is equally adept at other character accents in the book. I really enjoyed listening to it and became absorbed in both the story and in Churchill's splendid use of the language.
"Worth the read"
Winston Churchill is a great writer besides being a great Prime Minister. Really good to hear it form his point of view rather than from others writing about him or the war. You definitely realise this was a man ahead of his time, and one of the few to really get Hitler.
This is a truly fantastic audiobook that has been very well narrated. I have listened to this time and again and keep finding new content of interest. If you have an interest in the second world war then, quite simply, you have to buy this.
"Good listen even for a non native english speaker"
I was caution at first, knowing nearly zero about UK politics, as I was afraid the book would be filled with names I knew nothing about, knowledge of which would be a prerequisite to understand the story.
It was not the case.
It is a very interesting book. So interesting, that I purchased second one immediately after I finish it.
Christian Rodska does a superb job.
"Classic history lesson from the 'horses mouth'"
I want to complete my education which is rather lacking in history so I am either reading novels based around important milestones or occasionally delving into the real deal. The Narrator Christian Rodska does a fair impression of Churchill when reading parts of his speeches and it really adds texture to the book.
The clear sentiments of Churchill about these historic times and his instincts that may have prevented war. Clearly written in hindsight but with sufficient evidence to suggest he did what he could at the time to avert disaster. I'm so pleased he chose to write the book.
He is excellent in bringing Churchill to life
A great audiobook and well read, as well.
Unfortunatley, it ends in 1941, as it is only a part of a 4 part volume!
When can we expect the rest, or do we have to live under the delusion that the war only lasted 2 years!
"Great but what happened after 1942"
Great but what happened after 1942. Audio downloads were in two parts which I assume med was the original two volumes Churchill wrote. It appears to finish in 1942 did Churchill write it this way or has something gone wrong ? otherwise very good.
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