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Churchill Audiobook

Churchill

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Publisher's Summary

Winston Churchill is an icon of modern history, but even though he was at the forefront of the political scene for almost 60 years, he might be remembered only as a minor player in the drama of British government had it not been for World War II. In this magisterial book, Roy Jenkins' unparalleled command of the political history of Britain and his own high-level government experience combine in a narrative account of Churchill's astounding career that is unmatched in its shrewd insights, its unforgettable anecdotes, the clarity of its overarching themes, and the author's nuanced appreciation of his extraordinary subject.

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

What the Critics Say

"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.)

What Members Say

Average Customer Rating

4.0 (606 )
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4.2 (277 )
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Performance
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  •  
    Alan Rither 09-06-06
    Alan Rither 09-06-06
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "All you wanted to know about Churchill and more"

    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.

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Tim Darien, , CT, USA 09-17-03
    Tim Darien, , CT, USA 09-17-03
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    "A large book for a larger-than-life man"

    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.

    7 of 9 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Robert W. Pike 08-03-14 Member Since 2017
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Unexpectedly boring"
    Was Churchill worth the listening time?

    NO


    Any additional comments?

    Hard to believe that anyone could make a life of Churchill boring, but Jenkins has managed

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Robert Hoboken, NJ, United States 03-18-13
    Robert Hoboken, NJ, United States 03-18-13
    HELPFUL VOTES
    3
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    "Very hard to get through"
    This book wasn’t for you, but who do you think might enjoy it more?

    People who really, really get into the day-by-day details of political figures.


    Would you ever listen to anything by Roy Jenkins again?

    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.


    What three words best describe Robert Whitfield’s voice?

    Good, nice, adequate


    You didn’t love this book... but did it have any redeeming qualities?

    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.


    Any additional comments?

    I almost ended my new habit of listening to books on account of this one.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Raleigh greensboro, NC, United States 06-13-12
    Raleigh greensboro, NC, United States 06-13-12 Member Since 2009
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    "WSC : only 49% british"

    britain's political class was a remarkably inept bunch
    they're lives were built on generations of rewarded mediocracy
    inherited privilege and money were under every floorboard

    a confrontation with the wider world brought this liability into focus
    the author roy jenkins seems very comfortable in this world
    the subject (WSC) winston spencer churchill confronted it at every turn

    churchill was a miserable, melancholy and arrogant man
    he say enemies behind every tree and threats in every encounter
    he was built for war and confrontation but lost his compass in peacetime

    WSC seems to have had all the modern american virtues
    loud, indulgent, brazen, self promoting, constantly on the move
    he kept the wolf of insignificance away from the door at all costs

    when war finally came WSC was the man britain needed > loved
    weeks after the war ended he was voted out of office in favor of Atlee
    britain's relevance in world affairs has been fading ever since that change

    the story focuses on a long list of british political events and characters
    that is the world roy jenkins understands and participated in for decades
    WSC was too big for that, he spent his life seeking the center of world events





    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Frauke United States 04-03-12
    Frauke United States 04-03-12 Member Since 2011
    HELPFUL VOTES
    7
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    "Wordy and Miscellaneous Details"
    Would you try another book from Roy Jenkins and/or Robert Whitfield?

    No


    What did you like best about this story?

    It gave a good history of Churchill's carreer


    Which scene was your favorite?

    The Issues and government reaction to the events leading up to the second world war


    Could you see Churchill being made into a movie or a TV series? Who should the stars be?

    Yes, George Scott


    Any additional comments?

    Believe the book spent a lot of time on details and miscellaneous information that didn't help me understand Churchill

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Mark Le Vaud, Switzerland 03-19-11
    Mark Le Vaud, Switzerland 03-19-11 Member Since 2012
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    "Absolutely brilliant"

    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.

    3 of 4 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Brad APO, AE, United States 12-13-09
    Brad APO, AE, United States 12-13-09
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    "Well-written, well-read political biography"

    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.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Jay A. Cohen Santa Clara, CA USA 06-14-06
    Jay A. Cohen Santa Clara, CA USA 06-14-06 Member Since 2017

    Padre Cohen

    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "An Arduous Listen"

    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.

    3 of 4 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Iain BertrangeLuxembourg 03-22-05
    Iain BertrangeLuxembourg 03-22-05 Member Since 2017
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    "A Brilliant Biography"

    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!!!

    5 of 7 people found this review helpful
Sort by:
  • Francis
    Liverpool, United Kingdom
    11/29/07
    Overall
    "A biography worthy of Churchill"

    If anyone is wondering whether it is worthwhile to spend a day and a half of your life listening to this biography, I would answer resoundingly yes. Whatever your own political affiliations, Churchill remains a fascinating character and his biography is inextricably woven in with the history of the last century. Roy Jenkins is an excellent biographer: this is neither hagiography nor hatchet job.The narrative is clear and constantly interesting , the judgements on people and events are shrewd and judicious. In particular, as might be expected Jenkins is a masterly guide to the workings of the British political system. Robert Whitfield's reading is most competent: his Churchill imitation is only passable, but proves to be valuable as not the least pleasure of the book is the generous quotation of Churchill's own words from letters and speeches. No contemporary politician comes anywhere near his mastery of English. A measure of this biography's success is that it does not seem long or overdetailed despite its length. There are many biographies of Churchill -some even longer, others more concise -but this account of Jenkins impresses me as a fair-minded guide and a work worthy of its subject.

    22 of 22 people found this review helpful
  • Francis
    Liverpool, United Kingdom
    11/29/07
    Overall
    "A biography worthy of Churchill"

    If anyone is wondering whether it is worthwhile to spend a day and a half of your life listening to this biography, I would answer resoundingly yes. Whatever your own political affiliations, Churchill remains a fascinating character and his biography is inextricably woven in with the history of the last century. Roy Jenkins is an excellent biographer: this is neither hagiography nor hatchet job.The narrative is clear and constantly interesting , the judgements on people and events are shrewd and judicious. In particular, as might be expected Jenkins is a masterly guide to the workings of the British political system. Robert Whitfield's reading is most competent: his Churchill imitation is only passable, but proves to be valuable as not the least pleasure of the book is the generous quotation of Churchill's own words from letters and speeches. No contemporary politician comes anywhere near his mastery of English. A measure of this biography's success is that it does not seem long or overdetailed despite its length. There are many biographies of Churchill -some even longer, others more concise -but this account of Jenkins impresses me as a fair-minded guide and a work worthy of its subject.

    11 of 11 people found this review helpful
  • Tom
    West Wickham, United Kingdom
    12/19/09
    Overall
    "A long book but very enjoyable"

    I read this book when it was first published and very much enjoyed it and it translates very well to audiobook - narration is excellent, perfectly paced with characters brought vividly to life.

    Roy Jenkins presents a very believable and admiring portrait of Churchill - warts as well as genius. What amazed me when I first read the book, and now, is Churchill's indefatigable self confidence and energy. I am not sure that he was blessed with that much greater brains than the rest of us, but his courage, commitment, inexhaustible energy and vision is truly astonishing - it is hard not to compare to the current lot of politicians and find the latter severely wanting. And Roy Jenkins' prose is direct and readable.

    I know it's 37 hours long but the journey is well worth the time!

    10 of 10 people found this review helpful
  • Ian
    Nuneaton, United Kingdom
    5/23/10
    Overall
    "Excellent"

    A fine and measured reading of Jenkins' inpeccable prose. The book may be too long for many, but it makes an excellent summary of British and European history in the first half of the 20th century through the career of Churchill.

    9 of 9 people found this review helpful
  • Ainslie
    BertrangeLuxembourg
    3/22/06
    Overall
    "Iain Macleod"

    As a single book description of Churchill's life, this is an excellent biography. As a politician himself, Roy Jenkins analysis of Churchill is inciteful and always interesting.

    This is a biography that will allow you to better understand one of the 20th Century's most important leaders.

    23 of 25 people found this review helpful
  • Nils
    Olstykke, Denmark
    4/13/13
    Overall
    "A rivetingly observant and well-written biography"

    I have never read/listened to a biography that was so immensely filled with well-written, well-researched and entertaining information as this one.



    Be prepared to spend the time on this book - it is a very long biography of a man with a very long and extremely full life that changed the course of history for so many of us.



    Jenkins' style of writing is a joy to listen to and expertly read by Robert Whitfield (who is unknown to me) - brimming with helpful and elegant interpretation and ever adding snippets of information setting the tone or background of a particular event, the part played by a side character, or simply filling in to help history-weak readers like myself.



    Jenkins is rather ((too?) discrete about the darker moments in Churchill's life, but they are there, as they should be in a proper biography.



    Little, often humourous, comments are interspersed thorughout the book - much appreciated.



    As I have not read other biographies on Churchill, I am unable to make comparisons. Suffice it to say that I have enjoyed "meeting" Sir Winston in this way (I have been through it two - and partly three - times so far) and can wholeheartedly recommend it. Interested in Churchill? - read it! Interested in history? - read it! Just wanting to be entertained while being inspired by a great statesman? Enjoy!

    5 of 5 people found this review helpful
  • Peter Thomas
    Northants England
    7/15/10
    Overall
    "A fine Potrait of a Great Man"

    To do justice to the life of one of the Greatest Ever Politicians of our times is a difficult feet but Roy Jenkins in the main achieves this, I am certain that some will feel that perhaps too much attention is given to the art of politics but given the Authors background it is unsurprising. All in all it is an excellent Potrait of a Great Man and the Narrator does a fine job. A bargain and well worth the time.

    4 of 4 people found this review helpful
  • Paul
    Heckington, United Kingdom
    4/26/09
    Overall
    "Really excellent!"

    Really interesting. The besy audio book I have bought and worth every penny. Robert Whitfield is a very easy voice to listen to and Roy Jenkins has covered all the angles. I cannot rate it highly enough.

    4 of 4 people found this review helpful
  • Dr.
    Bramley, United Kingdom
    4/7/13
    Overall
    "A thorough portrait of a national hero"

    I was a young schoolboy during Churchill's last administration. His speeches and deeds resonated through my childhood, and the popular culture rang with praise and admiration for him. As I grew up I began to realise that he had not always been the figure of national reverence that he became in later life, but up until his death he remained a largely unquestioned icon of his times.



    Roy Jenkins, although a political opponent, and coming from a later generation, nevertheless gives a well-researched and sympathetic account of his life and career. There is sometimes, for me at any rate, a little too much information on political and social facts of the time, but to those who are younger and less well acquainted with the politics and society of the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries I'm sure this background would be helpful.



    Robert Whitfield's reading, for me, is nigh on perfect. His accent and tone is perhaps to a modern listener a little antique, but it blends well in my ear with the era and habits of the people who are being described. It is always difficult to strike a balance between doing an imitation of Churchill's unique delivery and diction, which can all too easily become a sort of comic parody, and simply reading his words in a normal speaking voice. I think here the balance has been well struck. It is clear when Churchill is being quoted, the words are spoken in a voice approaching his accent and intonation, but the style does not approach mimicry.



    All in all, this is an informative, complete, and entertaining account of a long and eventful life of a man who was arguably the greatest British statesman of his generation, if not his century. A life, moreover, which affected British, European and World history to the profound benefit of succeeding generations.

    3 of 3 people found this review helpful
  • Mr.
    Glasgow, United Kingdom
    5/15/14
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "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.

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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