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Publisher's Summary

From the acclaimed novelist and screenwriter of The Theory of Everything comes a revisionist look at the period immediately following Winston Churchill's ascendancy to prime minister - soon to be a major motion picture starring Gary Oldman.

May 1940. Britain is at war, Winston Churchill has unexpectedly been promoted to prime minister, and the horrors of Blitzkrieg witness one Western European democracy fall after another in rapid succession. Facing this horror, with pen in hand and typist-secretary at the ready, Churchill wonders what words could capture the public mood when the invasion of Britain seems mere hours away.

It is this fascinating period that Anthony McCarten captures in this deeply researched and wonderfully written new book, The Darkest Hour. A day-by-day (and often hour-by-hour) narrative of this crucial moment in history provides a revisionist look at Churchill - a man plagued by doubt through those turbulent weeks but who emerged having made himself into the iconic, lionized figure we remember.

©2017 Anthony McCarten (P)2017 HarperCollins Publishers

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  • Jean
  • Santa Cruz, CA, United States
  • 12-06-17

Gripping

This book was published in November 2017. I understand there is to be a movie made from this book. I read everything I can obtain about Winston S. Churchill. I recently read “Alone” by Michael Korda. “Alone” dealt with the time frame of when Churchill was elected prime minister and includes lots of information about Dunkirk. This book also deals with the same time frame as Churchill becomes prime minister. But this book deals more about Churchill, the man, as well as more about his key speeches during this period. “Alone” was more about Dunkirk.

The book is well written and meticulously researched. McCarten has been nominated five times for an Academy Award for his screenplays and he also is a novelist. This background has allowed him to write a most exciting book. This is definitely not a dry biography. McCarten brings Churchill to life as a man with all the weakness and greatness to be expected of a brilliant man. In some ways, you could also say this is a story of a speech. McCarten reveals to us how Churchill struggled to write one of his most famous speeches “Blood, Toil, Tears, and Sweat”. The author points out that Churchill wrote and gave his three greatest speeches within a four-week period. I found it most interesting that Churchill drew on the skills of Plato and his colleagues as well as Cicero to learn the skill of oratory. McCarten states Churchill spent one hour of work for every one minute of speech. The book held my attention throughout the story. The book is a fast and easy read.

The book is about six and half hours. John Lee does and excellent job narrating the book. John Lee is one of my favorite narrators. Lee has won multiple Earphone Awards. In 2009 he won the Golden Voice Award and he has won a number of Audies in different genre over the years.

39 of 43 people found this review helpful

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  • HB
  • 12-29-17

highly recommended

Beautiful story telling and fresh point of view of what and how things went down.

7 of 8 people found this review helpful

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Enhanced my Knowledge

Where does Darkest Hour rank among all the audiobooks you’ve listened to so far?

I have been a student of history for over fifty years. This period of history is ignoble with the exception of Churchill. I did not know that Chamberlain or Lord Halifax continued to exert influence over Churchill and his government. I thought the appeasement policies were broken. This was great revelation for me. The book has to rank number 4 in fun to read and reread.

What was one of the most memorable moments of Darkest Hour?

When Churchill circumvented Lord Halifax and Chamberlain to gain support for his policies. I learned what a tremendous drag on Churchill they almost to the point of negotiating a settlement With Hitler.

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

Yes. John Lee was at the top of his form. He was great.

If you were to make a film of this book, what would the tag line be?

Same as the book.

Any additional comments?

Thank you Audible!

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

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Tedious Reading; Little Payoff. Thumb "down.

There are twelve audiobook chapters. Skip the first ten, unless you are quite knowledgable about British internal politics of the late Thirties and early Forties. If, like me, you have no feel for, sense of, nor knowledge of the large number of names of British statesmen interacting, you may wind up like me, fast listening through the thing until you get to the "payoff," which is stirring, but brief. I love Churchill, but dislike this book, and recommend against it.

5 of 7 people found this review helpful

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World history most Americans do not know

This is a very good history of the beginning of WWII most Americans do not know. And how close world history came to about as we know it today versus something completely different.

The movie has Dunkirk being a day. This book has it being much longer.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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  • Sal
  • Dillon Beach, CA USA
  • 08-14-18

Very Informative & Insightful

This book gave me such an insight into the go-ons that I was totally unaware of as it relates to Winston Churchill and the making of such a great leader.

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More detail than the movie.

First I would willing listen to John Lee narrate the menu at Denny's. This is the story of the first 25 days of British involvement in the war against Hitler. After reading Paris 1919 about the treaty of Versailles wherein Germany never lost WW1, just stopped fighting, was never invaded and kept much of it's assets to come back 20 years later in the new improved version of nationalistic carnage. The story is hour and minute day by day of those days till the darkest hour speech. I found the detail was critical to the authors veracity in the telling.
A tale of a major chunk of history pivoting on the decisions of one man in a dire time that served all of us in the free world. Simply fascinating.

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I've read better about Churchill

This just couldn't keep my interest. I've read other Churchill books and found them fascinating. Sorry, but this one just put me to sleep in spite of the excellent narration.

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struggle

I really struggled with this book. In many ways it was just a rehash of other books which look at the first days of Churchill's premiership - even quoting a number of those books. then at times it seemed Okay. but it really lost it for me when it 'generated a possible conversation between Churchill and the fox' this makes it fiction and it should be marketed as such for this short conversation alone.

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Excellent document

To learn about traits of character of one of the world's greatest leaders and the struggles he faced