I have just finished listening to the fourth volume of this splendid series. The presentation is rather out of date now - these books were completed in the 1950s - and would probably not pass muster academically as objective and impartial history - for example, the focus on 'english speaking peoples' is a bit awkward particularly in the fourth volume which includes rather dull - for this series - sections on New Zealand, Canada, Australia and the US. He also makes no secret of his attachment to the old british empire - David Schama's history of the comparable period makes for an interesting contrast ( though I have not yet listened to the audio version).
But you cant take away the wonderful prose, which draws you into the books like an adventure, and the story is told with great style and verve. I believe also that Churchil dictated his books to his secretaries and this results, I think, in them being particularly well suited to being read out lound - and Christian Rodscka reads them with great flair and clarity. Listeners to the BBC's 'this sceptred isle' will be familiar with these books and if you enjoyed the former you should certainly get great pleasure from the latter. I shall certainly listen to them again in the future.
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!
This book should be of interest to anyone who wants to understand better how Governements can sometimes make a terrible mess of their business. It tries to draw lessons from one semi-fictional (the Fall of Troy) and three real life episodes from history-the last two - the loss of the Amreican colonies and Vietnam - are worth the price of the book on their own.
Although the author sets out the events, this is not narrative history as she intersperses her judgments, analysis and opinions as she goes through. This is OK if you have some familiarity with the history, but can be confusing - as it was for me when she dealt with the creation of Protestantism - if you are not.
I think this must be quite an old recording as the editing was not what you expect - but the narrator is excellent, with great judgement of pace and tone, always important, I think, for narrated history books.
Barbara Tuchman is a very fine historian, and I intend to get another of her books with next month's credit. In the meantime, I can recommended this book wholeheartedly.