We are currently making improvements to the Audible site. In an effort to enhance the accessibility experience for our customers, we have created a page to more easily navigate the new experience, available at the web address www.audible.com/access .
Churchill and Orwell Audiobook

Churchill and Orwell: The Fight for Freedom

Regular Price:$28.00
  • Membership Details:
    • First book free with 30-day trial
    • $14.95/month thereafter for your choice of 1 new book each month
    • Cancel easily anytime
    • Exchange books you don't like
    • All selected books are yours to keep, even if you cancel
  • - or -

Publisher's Summary

From New York Times best-selling author Thomas E. Ricks, a dual biography of Winston Churchill and George Orwell, whose farsighted vision and inspired action preserved democracy from the threats of authoritarianism, from the left and right alike.

Both George Orwell and Winston Churchill came close to death in the mid-1930s - Orwell shot in the neck in a trench line in the Spanish Civil War and Churchill struck by a car in New York City. If they'd died then, history would scarcely remember them. At the time Churchill was a politician on the outs, his loyalty to his class and party suspect. Orwell was a mildly successful novelist, to put it generously. No one would have predicted that by the end of the 20th century, they would be considered two of the most important people in British history for having the vision and courage to campaign tirelessly, in words and in deeds, against the totalitarian threat from both the left and the right. In a crucial moment, they responded first by seeking the facts of the matter, seeing through the lies and obfuscations, and then they acted on their beliefs. Together, to an extent not sufficiently appreciated, they kept the West's compass set toward freedom as its due north.

It's not easy to recall now how lonely a position each man once occupied. By the late 1930s, democracy was discredited in many circles, and authoritarian rulers were everywhere in the ascent. There were some who decried the scourge of communism but saw in Hitler and Mussolini "men we could do business with", if not in fact saviors. And there were others who saw the Nazi and fascist threat as malign but tended to view communism as the path to salvation. Churchill and Orwell, on the other hand, had the foresight to see clearly that the issue was human freedom - that whatever its coloration, a government that denied its people basic freedoms was a totalitarian menace and had to be resisted.

In the end Churchill and Orwell proved their age's necessary men. The glorious climax of Churchill and Orwell is the work they both did in the decade of the 1940s to triumph over freedom's enemies. And though Churchill played the larger role in the defeat of Hitler and the Axis, Orwell's reckoning with the menace of authoritarian rule in Animal Farm and 1984 would define the stakes of the Cold War for its 50-year course and continues to give inspiration to fighters for freedom to this day. Taken together, in Thomas E. Ricks' masterful hands, their lives are a beautiful testament to the power of moral conviction and to the courage it can take to stay true to it through thick and thin.

©2017 Thomas E. Ricks (P)2017 Penguin Audio

What Members Say

Average Customer Rating

4.7 (274 )
5 star
 (201)
4 star
 (58)
3 star
 (11)
2 star
 (1)
1 star
 (3)
Overall
4.6 (247 )
5 star
 (179)
4 star
 (49)
3 star
 (15)
2 star
 (2)
1 star
 (2)
Story
4.8 (248 )
5 star
 (197)
4 star
 (42)
3 star
 (7)
2 star
 (2)
1 star
 (0)
Performance
Sort by:
  •  
    Jean Santa Cruz, CA, United States 06-11-17
    Jean Santa Cruz, CA, United States 06-11-17 Member Since 2017

    I am an avid eclectic reader.

    HELPFUL VOTES
    9118
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    1379
    1341
    FOLLOWERS
    FOLLOWING
    2395
    8
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Elegantly Written"

    I have read so many books by or about Churchill that a new book must have a new approach or hook or else I will not be bothered to read it. This one did.

    Both George Orwell and Winston S. Churchill came close to death. Both men faced an existential crisis to their way of life with moral courage. They also demonstrated that an individual can make a difference. These two men were different in many ways. They came from different social classes but each could think and write clearly. Both men were committed to critical thought and neither followed the crowd.

    Both men were in disgrace in the 1930s. Churchill was a political pariah, alienated from the Conservative Party by his opposition to the appeasement of Hitler. Orwell wrote “Homage to Catalone” in 1938. It was a coruscating indictment of both left and right during the Spanish Civil War. He was denounced by many and his publisher refused to continue to publish the book. After the war broke out in 1939, Churchill and Orwell found common cause.

    Both men thought honesty and language mattered at every level. Ricks tells of Churchill, over burdened with the war of survival, paused to coach subordinates on writing. He issued a directive to brevity, ordering his staff to write in short crisp paragraphs and to avoid meaningless phrases. In Orwell’s famous six elementary rules on writing, he includes “never us a long word where a short one will do”.

    The book is well written and meticulously researched. Ricks made some comparisons with current politicians. I found the stories about the men most interesting.

    The book is ten hours long. James Lurie does a great job narrating the book. Lurie is an actor, voice over artist and audiobook narrator.

    5 of 5 people found this review helpful
  •  
    J.B. 06-10-17
    J.B. 06-10-17

    Reading, the arts and physical activity clarify, explain, illustrate, and interpret life’s goods and bads.

    HELPFUL VOTES
    559
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    197
    192
    FOLLOWERS
    FOLLOWING
    20
    21
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Disparate"

    Churchill and Orwell: The Fight for Freedom, by Thomas E. Ricks, and narrated By James Lurie. journalist and author who specializes in the military and national security issues. I am always thrilled when he is interviewed on TV as his insights are reveling; he defines the issue, provides the necessary facts and draws conclusions that are not obvious but seeded in the circumstance and fully analyzes the abnormality or impairment being discussed. I have previously read his works, Fiasco, history of the Iraq War from the planning phase to combat operations and The Gamble, the succeeding years in Iraq, to 2008. Insightful and a must read to understand the quagmire of the present war taking place in Iraq and beyond or the damage done to this earth in establishing the nations as was done at the end of World War I.

    Okay, so one gets it; I praise Mr. Ricks’ works. Not here, though in Churchill and Orwell. We are talking about Winston Churchill, the British Prime Minister in WW II and George Orwell, the author of Animal Farm and 1984. One wants to believe that Mr. Ricks was planning two long essays on each, had a book obligation and smashed the two together to meet his obligation. Why not, as both men were British – albeit of almost diametrically opposed attitudes.

    The book’s purpose, per the publisher, is a work on how those men preserved democracy from the threats of authoritarianism. It has nothing to do with explaining despotism. It is simply a short biography of each man. In that sense, it is very well done and easy to listen too. Yet, unlike, the above-named works of Ricks, does not provide the same insight into political history and trends. It is a non-sequitur, short biography of each man. As that it is fairly good.

    The book, tells each man’s history, from birth through their appearance in the mid-1930s and who each became factors in European society. Each proved to be courageous as each demonstrated by going to war, in Churchill’s situation WWI, and Orwell in the Spanish Civil War. Each had reverence for the lower social societies . . . and more about thier lives.

    As a comparative study the matching of the two individuals is unsuccessful. Separate from the matching of the two for a comparative study, which fails, it is an interesting history of each man and their philosophy of dictatorship and how it must be resisted.

    8 of 9 people found this review helpful
  •  
    syvdan 06-11-17
    syvdan 06-11-17 Member Since 2017
    HELPFUL VOTES
    11
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    7
    2
    FOLLOWERS
    FOLLOWING
    1
    0
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "It rings a bell for the issues government faces today"

    All around great book. Research and writing are complete and flawless. Narrator does a splendid job and conveys supporting emotional content.

    3 of 3 people found this review helpful
  •  
    McNeil 07-10-17
    McNeil 07-10-17 Member Since 2012
    HELPFUL VOTES
    1
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    8
    2
    FOLLOWERS
    FOLLOWING
    0
    0
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Not that remarkable"

    If you have read other books that recount this time period, you will find the material very unremarkable, and a bit stail. My advice; skip the last 3 chapters.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Jambijuce 06-03-17
    Jambijuce 06-03-17
    HELPFUL VOTES
    4
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    15
    5
    FOLLOWERS
    FOLLOWING
    0
    0
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "So much to be gleaned from these men..."

    Timeless and invaluable lessons abound in the legacies of Orwell and Churchill. A wonderful book.

    3 of 5 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Barbara 08-07-17
    Barbara 08-07-17 Member Since 2015
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    3
    1
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "No more than a book report"

    The first part of this book provided some interesting historical facts. The second half was nothing more than a giant, boring book report on volumes written by Orwell and Churchill. It was deadening.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Rafic Kamaleddine UAE 08-01-17
    Rafic Kamaleddine UAE 08-01-17 Member Since 2015
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    26
    2
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Impressive & Enlightening"
    What did you love best about Churchill and Orwell?

    How the author was able to weave in the story of both men in one and find parallels. Also, his ability to look at a certain period of history from the different perspectives of Orwell and Churchill and link where possible.


    What did you like best about this story?

    The honesty and constant endeavour to do good the way each sees it. The humane outlook and effort to identify right from wrong and having the insight into human nature and war.


    Have you listened to any of James Lurie’s other performances before? How does this one compare?

    Haven't, but the performance was great.


    If you could give Churchill and Orwell a new subtitle, what would it be?

    Insight into humanity and war


    Any additional comments?

    I appreciated a lot the in-depth research that went into writing the book. The citations and the cross references, the wide knowledge of the author who clearly has command of the subject matter. I will read his other books for sure.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Rob M.D. Texas 08-01-17
    Rob M.D. Texas 08-01-17 Member Since 2015
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    8
    1
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Draw into question what you know"

    This book will take your beliefs and rip the foundations right out from beneath them! Stick with the story and you will cherish the way you perceive the world around you. Ricks doesn't disappoint.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Steve Loveland, CO, United States 07-15-17
    Steve Loveland, CO, United States 07-15-17 Member Since 2017

    informed reader

    HELPFUL VOTES
    1
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    96
    3
    FOLLOWERS
    FOLLOWING
    0
    1
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Prescient"

    Thomas Ricks writes a book about two men of the 20th century who left a lasting contribution to Western society and Democracy. Both men were on opposite sides of the political spectrum. Yet both men recognized the extreme threat to freedom manifest in the totalitarian states of Germany and Italy on the right and the Soviet union left. In their time there were some other prominent people who had sympathies towards either side, including many of the British aristocracy and tory politicians well as powerful Americans such as Joseph Kennedy and Charles Lindbergh who were sympathetic to the Nazis. Sympathizers with the Soviet Union were not prominent but we're ruthless in their suppression of their enemies on the left. Both men remain influential long past their deaths.
    Fast forward to today. Trump has been elected president and copies of George Orwell's 1984 are flying off the shelves. We have a president who lies constantly, has possibly colluded illegally with a hostile and undemocratic country and praises right wing murderous leaders in Philippines and in Egypt. He and his family are profiting off the presidency and he appoints members of his family with little to no knowledge or experience in government to high positions. At the same time the Republicans, both houses of Congress and their supporters look the other way. This is the time for leadership on the level of a Winston Churchill.

    1 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    07-10-17
    07-10-17 Member Since 2016
    HELPFUL VOTES
    1
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    1
    1
    FOLLOWERS
    FOLLOWING
    0
    0
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "10/10 would recommend"

    It was a great read that I had a hard time putting down. it's a little hard to get used to the way it switches back and forth between the two, but combining their stories in this way was fantastic after you get used to it. There are few books I read more than once, and this will be one of them.

    1 of 2 people found this review helpful

Report Inappropriate Content

If you find this review inappropriate and think it should be removed from our site, let us know. This report will be reviewed by Audible and we will take appropriate action.

Cancel

Thank you.

Your report has been received. It will be reviewed by Audible and we will take appropriate action.