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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 The presentation is rather out of date now - these books were completed in the 1950s - and would probably not pass muster academically as objective and impartial history - for example, the focus on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 follow a few historical podcasts, and they both mention this series. I can see why. Sir Winston was a man of a great many talents, and though some of his history writing is coloured by his experiences, and in some cases his lack of detailed knowledge, he does a fantastic job in creating a coherent overview of the history of the english speaking peoples. I feel that all history students from year 7 should have to read through this - added to the Horrible histories that kids are watching now, we might have a generation who actually know something of their history. Well worth listening to, I'm on the second and planning on buying 3 and 4 - especially as Churchill was involved with the later history directly!
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