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.
Churchill's history of the Second World War is, and will remain, the definitive work. Lucid, dramatic, remarkable for its breadth and sweep and for its sense of personal involvement, it is universally acknowledged as a magnificent reconstruction. Please note: This book was originally published in six volumes:
1.The Gathering Storm
2. Their Finest Hour
3. The Grand Alliance
4. The Hinge of Fate
5. Closing the Ring
6. Triumph and Tragedy
Churchill then condensed these into four volumes, which have since been released as one, rather hefty, publication. Audible has published the unabridged recordings of Churchill's condensed volume, divided into four parts, as follows:
1.Milestone to Disaster
3.The Grand Alliance
4.Triumph and Tragedy
©1959 Cassell and Co. Ltd; ©1990 the Esate of Winston Churchill; (P)2014 Audible, Inc.
Churchill's personality comes through clearly in this account and his focus on order and structure are clearly evident. The masterful narration by Christian Rodska is, however, the highlight of this volume. Very entertaining.
As an avid reader of history I had high hopes for this book but I found I had to force myself to keep listening until I finally gave up on the book altogether when I had only 1.5 hours left.
This is my first negative review and I hope my last.
Churchill has preserved for us his perspective on the times and the events between the two great wars which inexorably encouraged and sustained the martial adventures of dictators who acknowledged no moral constraints on their ambitions. This narration does a very good job of emulating the very recognizable characteristics of Churchills manner of speaking.
Winston Churchill by any account must be one of the most amazing statesmen of the 20th century. His unparalleled position at the highest levels of government through both World Wars puts him in a unique position to reveal the forces at work in the interregnum between the two. In Milestones to Disaster, he does just that – not as he says as a “history” – but as an eyewitness account to be used by future historians. The fact that he is himself a masterful writer helps one not wait for some future analysis. This work is not only accessible, but it is a very enjoyable if unsettling glimpse into the European political shake-ups of the 1920’s and 1930’s.
I was given Churchill’s six volume history of World War II by my great uncle who had the privilege to meet the then Prime Minister at Harvard. Churchill spoke to the Navy officers that were being barracked there during the U.S.’s initial involvements in the war. This work is actually an abridgment of the first volume of that set The Gathering Storm. Churchill did the trimming himself for this work, but it has been pleasant to peruse the unabridged work to see what has been removed. Mainly it is coordinating documents that help to strengthen the assertions made by the author. It also contains several appendices that contain correspondence between Churchill and other world leaders and politicians. Both the full length and edited versions are readily accessible online and make worthy additions to any library.
In Milestones, the period after the Treaty of Versailles is examined with a brutal eye to all the failings made by the then world powers to keep Germany in check. One misstep after another is frighteningly unfolded for the reader. Even though, we all know where this story leads, it gives one a knot in the gut to see how it all may have been avoided. Churchill reveals how, to his thinking, the overwhelming liberal policies of socialism and disarmament weakened the victorious nations to a point where the defeated Germany could rise under Hitler’s cult of personality. By backing off in the critical moments again and again and capitulating to appease the Führer, the European governments doomed the world to repeat on a larger scale the slaughter of the first World War.
Mr. Churchill is definitely not afraid to point out the mistakes of others. While I’m sure that the facts that are being recorded are all trustworthy, he has gone a fair way to frame them to cast a better light on his position during this time. Churchill was consistently sounding the warning of Germany’s re-armament, and he takes great pride in his un-involvement of the policies that allowed this to happen. He doesn’t sweep his own personal misjudgments under the rug, but he shines a hard light on the British administrations that he sees as failing to protect the world from the German threat. He believes the playing out of Hitler’s conquest of central Europe is a vindication of his viewpoints, and he perceives his rise as an appointment of destiny.
If you’re not familiar with how Germany came a mere twenty years after being completely despoiled to conquering the Rhineland, Austria, Czechoslovakia, Poland, Denmark, Norway, Belgium, and Holland with virtually no resistance, this is the book to read. It’s a tragic tale, but one that needs to be understood if but for the hope that it will not be repeated. Churchill truly is one of the great twentieth century writers, and you will not be disappointed by his recollection.
7 stars out of 10
A cautionary tale for today's secular progressive. Insightful and respectful examination of Neville Chamberlain's foreign policy at the beginning.
Self-employed autodidact. Recipient of an unconventional education. Be a "Generalist" and never have a dull moment!
The most devastating war in human history. And as is evident, history not learned from is repeated... But in this case, we can ditch the banal generalizations and stupefying denatured time-lines, Hitler's most intractable and efficacious opponent also happens to be one of clearest and most engaging authors in the English language. Churchill has done us all another great service, by telling the story of what happened, and HOW it happened. A page turner. Read it.
This is a great account if the second workd war from the perspective of ine of the great allied leaders, Winston Churchill. There are an endless number of books written on the subject, this is a great one for the history buffs out there looking for some details of which they were previously unaware. Narration is top notch.
I wanted to learn of the events leading up to and during WWII from the British perspective and have not been disappointed. If there's one persons point of view to learn from it would be from the big man himself.
The historical events, presented with sardonic humor and in great detail, along with Sir Winston's views of them, are just amazing to hear. And there are surprises here. Sir Winston explains how, in actual practice, the restrictions of the Treaty of Versailles were NOT burdensome to Germany, and a few other gems that are uncommon among the common history of WWII. Also, quite incredible and enthralling are the events leading up to WWII, the desire for Pacifism, a noble goal, the growing machine of Blitzkrieg, and how ill timed and ill judged kindness and sentiment among nations who refused to see what was happening, led to disaster.
Sir Winston himself.
Rodska does a wonderful job as Sir Winston, and the various characters. His depiction is subtle, direct, powerful and sublime. He brings the entire world before you,Eminently easy to listen to, he communicates so much of the torment among civilized peoples struggling to realize that an unimaginable tyranny is developing in their midst. You feel the fear, and Sir Winston's frustration, as well as the insanity of Hitler and company.
Yes, when the Prime Minister of England, Neville Chamberlain, realizes that his recent years of effort towards peace were completely misguided. And as a great gentleman, his efforts to admit it publicly immediately, turn about and make change, but all too late. Yet, bound by his poor judgement, the errors continue to mount. It is a heart breaking moment when a well intentioned man, promoted beyond his capacity, fails his country and the world. Churchill and Rodska depict these moments with complete respect, but honors above all the truth and the desperation mounting at the time. Rodska, in his own brilliance, depicts Mr. Chamberlain's heartfelt sentiment, befudlement and shock at events, his resignation to honesty and duty, yet poor judgement. You hear a man of simplistic nobility surrounded by events he doesn't understand, yet, sticking to principle, tries to weather through. Rodska delivers a wonderful and moving performance.
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