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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

Critic Reviews

"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

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  • Overall
  • rwise
  • Deer Park, TX
  • 01-16-06

A great book for a great man

This book is long, but not too long. I enjoyed particularly the description of his early life. The writing is interesting, and it's read in a lively voice. But then, how could Churchill's life not be interesting.

1 of 3 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • Performance
  • Story
  • Ann
  • Mount Martha, Australia
  • 11-16-11

Please read you will thoroughly enjoy

Brilliant book that charts the life of a great statesman. The twist & turns, the near things, the web through which our history is created.

0 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • Performance
  • Story
  • Andy
  • newark, OH, United States
  • 11-05-11

excellent listen

An exceptionally well written narrative of the life and policies of one of the most pivotal leaders of his era. A prolific writer as well as a great leader.

0 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Overall

A splendid book, well-read...but....

No doubt the late (Lord) Roy Jenkins' biography of Winston Churchill is a most enjoyable, detailed, and balanced account of WSC's extraordinary life. Not as exhaustive (perhaps exhausting) as Sir Martin Gilbert's official biography, it is nonetheless thorough and enlivened by the author's own long experience in British politics and government.
The narrator is clear and engaging; but was allowed to convey direct quotes by using different accents and tones of voice. When it comes to him reading WSC himself, it becomes annoying as the man's voice himself is so well known and his own recorded speeches so readily available.
On the whole, however, very well worth the listening!

0 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Overall

Long, and dull

My impression is that this book was written and narrated by British men for a British audience. Its overly prosaic style mirrors the Edwardian speech used by Churchill himself 100 years ago, but is no longer captivating, if it ever was. It reveals far more detail than this reader, at least, cared to know about Mr. Churchill's early life, ambitions and political manipulations. I gave up before completing even the first (of six) Audible sections. Sad to say, I will have to find a better book than this to satisfy my desire to learn more about one of the 20th Century's greatest figures.

3 of 10 people found this review helpful