This book is an easy listen - it takes you through tales from the early part of England's history. A few commonly believed myths are dispelled, and while this is no weighty historical tome I think most people will find some things to delight them and learn about in here. It is well narrated and if you are looking for a breezy canter through the period then this will do just fine. I certainly enjoyed it and have bought some of the others in the series, so a thumbs up from me.
This book covers five years in Britain's history, but what a five years they were! I was born towards the end of the period and so cannot remember it, but this book certainly brought the latter half of the 1970s to life. Yes it covers politics at the top - Harold Wilson's return to power in 1974 having defeated Ted Heath, his shock resignation and replacement as PM by Jim Callaghan, and the 1979 General Election in which Thatcher began her lengthy tenure in Number 10. It also covers other political issues such as the Europe referendum, Scottish and Welsh referenda and Jeremy Thorpe's trial. Of course, trade union activism forms much of the backdrop, and the Winter of Discontent is something of a grand finale before the Labour government eventually falls in a vote of confidence.
But it's not all about the politics, though this was an unusually intense political period. Also making an appearance are the music of the time, Scotland's campaign in football's World Cup, TV programmes of the day and contemporary literature. Sandbrook does an excellent job of weaving these together with the political aspects to give a thoroughly enjoyable narrative of the era.
The narration really is excellent. Most of the characters are very well mimicked - Jim Callaghan, Harold Wilson, Teddy Taylor and the like are very well done indeed. Thatcher isn't quite right, but it's a minor quibble and does not distract from the overall effect.
I have listened to dozens of audiobooks and may well rate this the best I have ever enjoyed. Certainly giving it 5 stars was an automatic choice, and I cannot recommend it highly enough. Well done to the author and narrator alike.
Roy Jenkins has produced what could well be the definitive biography of Winston Churchill. Others may produce more detailed works on particular aspects of his career, notably the period of his premiership during the Second World War, but this is probably the best covering his whole life.
Jenkins uses his long experience as a politician who held some of the highest offices of state, though he never made it to Number 10, to analyse various aspects of Churchill's political career. Churchill was of course far more than a politician, having also written a number of highly praised histories and biographies, and here too Jenkins has no little experience to add.
This is no hagiography - Churchill was a great, but of course not a perfect, man and Jenkins does not shy away from his faults. But it is also not a revisionist history - the author greatly admires his subject and this is clear throughout the book. I found it to be a very fair account.
The narrator does an excellent job with this lengthy work and I happily listened to the complete audiobook, enjoying the whole experience. Five stars from me for this magisterial work on one of the greatest men to have ever lived.