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The Second World War: Alone

Narrated by: Christian Rodska
Series: Churchill's WWII, Book 2
Length: 11 hrs and 5 mins
Categories: History
4.8 out of 5 stars (319 ratings)

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Summary

"After the first forty days we were alone," writes Churchill. This edition is part two of Churchill's own abridgement of his original six-volume history of the Second World War.

Please note: This book was originally published in six volumes:

1. The Gathering Storm
2. Their Finest Hour
3. The Grand Alliance
4. The Hinge of Fate
5. Closing the Ring
6. Triumph and Tragedy

Churchill then condensed these into four volumes, which have since been released as one, rather hefty, publication. This is an unabridged recording of Churchill's condensed volume, broken up into four parts, as follows:

1. Milestone to Disaster
2. Alone
3. The Grand Alliance
4. Triumph and Tragedy

©2008 The Estate of Winston Churchill (P)2014 Audible, Inc.

Critic reviews

"Succinct it most definitely isn't, but then if your legendary bulldog-breed leadership had won the war you'd probably take your time about it. It was originally published in six volumes (now you see why Norman Stone is the lick), but Churchill himself abridged it to four, each lasting around 10 hours. I meant to get Volume 1, but never mind - I'm riveted by events between March 1940 and July 1941, especially Hitler's detailed plans to invade Britain by laying a narrow corridor of mines under the Channel. Though without Christian Rodska's wonderful voice - dare one say it's better than Churchill's - I might just have dozed off during the statistical bits."( The Guardian)

What listeners say about The Second World War: Alone

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  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars

Excellent

I was unable to put this now until the end. Within a few days of downloading it I had it finished, which really will not do because what do I listen to until my next credits arrive? I enjoyed it a little less than volume 1 because this deals with a period of many depressing defeats. (Volume 1 had me raging against the folly of the inter war years.) I am looking forward to hearing the rest of the series. I enjoyed the quality of the reading.

5 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars

Stirring account told by a master storyteller

Although we know the final outcome of the Second World War this is a moving account of the dark days when Britain was going it alone against the odds told by the man who held the country together and inspired such heroism and sacrifice by the population at home and service-men and women. It makes one proud of our parents or grand-parents generation who were so stoical and brave. It must have been a frightening time of great uncertainty with many set-backs until Hitler's fatal blunder of invading the Soviet Union. Churchill's words and speeches are still powerful and uplifting and this book brings home just what a knife-edge Britain was on during the prelude to the aborted invasion of Britain by Hitler and the debt we owe to the young airmen who fought in the Battle of Britain.
As in the first part of this quartet of books, Christian Rodska does an excellent job of the narration.

3 people found this helpful

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A bit biased against Hitler

An excellent book, but no attempt made to see things from Hitler's point of view.

1 person found this helpful

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Another cracker

I’ve long avoided Churchill as an author for his long-winded language and slow narrative. But I have to admit now that I’ve been wrong to do so: these audiobooks are gripping, in their own way, and Churchill’s strengths and weaknesses are all laid bare: his certainty, his pomposity, his his generous praise and his indomitable scorn. To hear first hand from the one observer of the whole war who was so intimately involved is a treat: a treat made all the better by a reader who really captures his “inner Winston”. A delight, warmly recommended.

1 person found this helpful

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  • 20-05-15

Compelling first hand detail of war strategy

An excellent view of how Churchill directed the war. Transports the reader back to that time and chillingly portrays the danger and the fear and the resolve. Brings history to life.

1 person found this helpful

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Top Man

Magnificent. Winston Churchill, the man for England and the free world. Magnificent book. Highly recommended.

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Strategy and operative details until O.Barbarosa

Loved it, educative and fun. Narator brings back sharp fast s.V.C. voice and emotions like bitternes toward opponents.

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Uplifting

Great to see history recounted by a proud English man of world renown., bravo Sir Winston.

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Great insight into the politics of war

Whatever your views on Churchill and he certainly had some reprehensible views, his diary is a great insight into the mechanics of leading a country in an asymmetric war. If I have one criticism it’s that I’d hoped he’d cover some of the secrets decisions and dilemmas (e.g. ultra and Coventry). It may be that there were written too soon and it wasn’t declassified. But this is an absorbing listen masterfully narrated by the wonderful Christian Rodska. Highly recommended.

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another great part to the story

Again loved this second part to the series. read well and written well. Like others have said before you do need some prior knowledge of events of the period otherwise you will be a little lost and googling for events or terms mentioned. Will most defiantly be purchasing the next book in the series when I get my next credit.

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  • Amazon Customer
  • 13-06-08

the rest of the story

A personal account, told with feeling and verve, of the details of the fall of France, the Battle of Britan and the Battle of the Atlantic. The devil is in the details as is the delight when you read Churchill. As good as 1776.

You are there with Churchill as he asks the French generals in his poor French, "Where is your strategic reserve?", which the French might have used to counter the initial German end run around the Maginot Line. Duh, they had none(!)

you are by his side as he and his war cabinet plans to repel the invasion, which he increasingly feels will never take place. You are there as he and his cabinet make decisions about Greece, North Africa, and the French Navy, and deal with the various outcomes of those decisions.

A tour de force from an author who still deserves to be best selling. The spirit of the man comes through, which along with the spirit of Great Britain and America, will, one hopes, never die. Uh, a good read.

40 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Donald V. Beck
  • 07-03-11

No Idea how much the Brits did

This is a real eye opener for me, an American, brought up on the idea that the US won the war against Germany. Here, in the great man's words, we certainly learn that Great Britain was the great bulwark against the Nazi's. To hear Christian Rodsda's narration feels like the new clips of Churchill's speaking voice.. i wonder if he did any speech pattern study before embarking on these four "World War Two" books.

I've come to appreciate Churchill's foresight before the war, his study and thought of what might be coming and his preparation. What a wonderful confidence, not overburdening, but certainly not shy. Here is probably the most key individual in the entire war from the Western perspective telling the story shortly after the events. It's a must read/listen for any student of recent history.

10 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Tony
  • 14-12-10

Should be compulsory

Every student should have to listen to this - and they'd enjoy it. Churchill writes wonderfully but I think he dictated so this is perfect for an audio book. His turn of phrase is just brilliant. He gives respect where he could have condemned and his analysis is just excellent.

I normally don't like narration that is imitating the author. But Christian Rodska is just right for this role and he doesn't overdo the imitation but does it just enough "Winston" to work. His timing is wonderful.

There is a lot to learn from this, more than half a century after it was written.

8 people found this helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Gayle Atteberry
  • 06-12-08

Fabulous piece of history

I found this book to be fascinating. To hear the accounts of one of history's greatest wars from the mouth of the most influential leader of the Allied forces was incredible. It was amazing to hear first-hand acounts of some of the war's greatest decision-making meetings. The narrator sounded like Churchill himself. The book moved quickly and did not bog down in details.

7 people found this helpful

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  • Dale
  • 25-08-11

Riveting

I selected the first volume of this series on a whim a few months ago. It was very good and interesting enough to prompt me to download the second in the series. This volume was simply stunning. The narrator could not be more perfect. He seems to become Churchill. In retrospect, the first volume suffers (understandably) from the requirement of recounting a wider timeline which gives a certain distance from the subject. This volume reads like a novel that unfolds step by step as Great Britain stands alone for roughly a year against the Axis in WWII. Highly, highly recommended.

4 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Rob
  • 01-02-10

Finding hidden depths

Not having read any of Churchill's works before I found this excellent. The narration is very life like which helps you to hear, as if from the man himself. Also the inside views on strategic events during the war is eye opening. Surely this was a man living out his destiny. Although a keen WWII amatuer historian I found the depth of background information and political insight very very helpful in expanding my understanding of the events that aren't often discussed today.
An excellent listen

9 people found this helpful

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  • dr
  • 07-11-11

History from a man who was there

I wasn't sure about this one

I thought it would be the self aggrandising thoughts of an Edwardian gentleman read by an impersonator.

In truth this fascinating throughout. Here we have the views, as seen through the prism of time, of the Man who led the free world, at least for some of his story. Some of it - the invasion of Greece- reads to me a little as if it is a little self exculpatory, but the rest, let's say most of it, is just great.

thank you for a wonderful listen. Sad to say I would never have had "the time" to sit down with this book

2 people found this helpful

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  • Marylou
  • 11-02-13

Fantastic

If you could sum up The Second World War: Alone in three words, what would they be?

Inspiring story of courage amidst overwhelming odds against success.

What did you like best about this story?

The courage of the British Commonwealth (including my country Canada) to fight for freedom ,on their own ,when the rest of Europe had succumbed to Nazi domination.

What does Christian Rodska bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you just read the book?

Great voice - speaks with passion and articulation. It felt as if Churchill himself were speaking.

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

I couldn't find the time for that but would have been intense.

1 person found this helpful

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  • Alejandro Rivero
  • 11-07-20

Excelente

A Masterfull and great interpretation, that honours the deed of great men! Trully Enjoyable narrative

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  • M. Anthony
  • 20-04-20

History comes alive

this is some of the best narration I have ever heard. after I finish this series, I will be looking for other books narrated by the same person