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Summary

The fourth and last volume in Churchill's famous account spans 1815 to 1901. It closes when the British Empire is at its peak, with a staggering one-fifth of the human race presided over by the longest reigning monarch in British history: Queen Victoria.

In America he assesses the position of the "Great Republic" from slavery and secession to its position as a world superpower. He charts the rise of Germany and the unification of Italy and examines the situation in the Balkans in 1878, all of which had a deep impact not only on the war he was soon to fight, but on the geography of the European continent today.

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What listeners say about The Great Democracies

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The Best of the Four Volumes

There's a good balance in this volume, it's not all about battles. That is until we come to the American Civil War. That that point we suddenly get great descriptive detail of all the twists and turns of the whole war. It reads like a novel in itself. Unfortunately, we don't get any information as to where the named rivers, towns, railways, mountain ranges etc are in relation to each other. Without maps to look at, the detail is wasted on the listener. Maybe the printed book comes with maps, I don't know.



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Conclusion of a wonderful series

The content of the entire series is superb. The narration excellent. I have really enjoyed being educated about the history of ‘The English Speaking People’ of which I am a proud member.

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I never get tired of Winston Churchill

This is probably my 6th volume written by WSC.
I thoroughly enjoy them all. in this one I learn WSCs viewpoint on many interesting developments in Australia, Canada, South Africa, and India. Gladstone and Disraeli buy especially interesting was his treatment of the American Civil War.

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Churchill's history volume 4

Churchill's fourth volume of the English speaking people - I hesitate to say last as it finishes with almost a teaser for his World War histories - continues his concise judgements of people and description of events.

The difficulty of a chronological narrative catches up in this volume as it nominally starts in 1815 but in many of the threads has to jump back before this date for context. This can be confusing especially for the time where Prime Ministers Gladstone and Disraeli are in and out of power and you can't remember in which dates that happened in the thread you are on.

The bias of 'things that interest Churchill' comes to the fore as the book covers in detail the colonies of Australia, Canada, New Zealand and South Africa in their own chapters but doesn't reserve chapters for any other 49 commonwealth states. This is particularly noticeable when discussing the Franco-Prussian War in which English Speaking countrys' role can at best be described as spectating.

Very in depth coverage of the American Civil war, from causes to minor actions, with a great esteem felt by Churchill for General Lee as a man of conviction fighting for his state's self governance. As with the previous historical figures of Marylebone, Wellington and others Churchill lays blame at the door of the government for not supporting generals during war time with McClellen as an almost tragic hero who is bought down by political in fighting. This leads to Lincoln not being portrayed in a flattering light and Churchill's conclusion of his greatness and that he could have prevented the evils of the reconstruction is a bolt from the blue.

An excellent overview of the period with some questionable focus on various elements that doesn't devalue the whole. It's incredibly difficult to narrow focus and whilst parts show their age as more relevant to a 50s audience than today it's a good background and analysis even if Churchill's biases are more apparent.

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A compelling case.

This narrative puts into perspective how the civilised world functions today. what a debt the world owes to the English speaking people's.

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easy listening - modern history

Would you listen to The Great Democracies again? Why?

It is easy to listen to and contains more events and facts than I can remember

Who was your favorite character and why?

Winston Churchill he significantly changed the course of the war and never gave up.

What about Christian Rodska’s performance did you like?

clearly spoken and engaging. liked his Churchill voice

Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?

it is too long for that

Any additional comments?

in my top ten audible books

2 people found this helpful

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  • Vradeen Sengir
  • 11-02-19

A fitting conclusion to Sir Winston's narrative.

I would have loved two more volumes to carry us over the last 100 years.

2 people found this helpful

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  • Amazon Customer
  • 06-11-18

Best of the Ser

Churchill's understanding of world history is unparalleled. His command of the English language spectacular. A wonderful narrative as well.

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  • E. Idenmill
  • 30-05-21

Not horrible but dated

This is a very readable history which gives a good overview of the major events of 19th century in the English speaking world. Unfortunately, Churchill as a man of his time betrays periodically his passive racism that may be difficult for modern readers. For example he describes the conditions of slaves in the US as being superior to what their lives would have been in Africa. He also shows a disheartening romanticism towards the Confederacy, including the myth of Robert E Lee's "nobility". His attitude towards Native Americans is equally bad, discussing how they resisted when "civilization" reached them. At the same time, his discussion of the intricacies of British parliamentary government is fascinating given his own history in that area, and his analysis of the Americsn system of government is similarly interesting.

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  • Kathryn Knightsby
  • 03-09-19

amazing series

Winston Churchill is very interesting it's incredible to be able to hear his voice through these volumes.

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  • LaMar M. Fox
  • 17-09-16

A EXCEPTIONAL HISTORY BY A GREAT STATESMAN.

This view of our history is made brilliant by Churchill's participation in what followed. Brilliant!

1 person found this helpful

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  • james drury
  • 06-09-16

A masterpiece!

If you like British history, then this is a defining work on the subject. Well researched, well written and well read.

1 person found this helpful

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  • Bill
  • 26-04-21

Powerful Retelling of History

Very informative analysis of how human behavior has changed over a long span of both years and people

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  • Andy
  • 23-06-20

Historical perspective at its finest.

Rarely is history told so vividly and with such humanity. Full of all the Churchillian prose and characterful writing for which the great man is known. This final volume reads more like a novel, and spans the age of sail to the death of queen Victoria.

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  • Haraway
  • 21-09-17

Interesting book,100 yrs of Anglo-American history

Clearly described history without much "spin". As an engineering major in college, I was not exposed to much of the history of the Victorian age. Very good stuff!

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  • Amazon Customer
  • 24-07-17

Great insight into the past.

Though the biased must be understood it is a great way to get the feelings of the time in which you can not receive in today's current literature on the topic.