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A History of the English Speaking Peoples (One Volume Abridgement of all 4 Volumes) [Hardcover]

Winston Churchill
4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (10 customer reviews)

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Book Description

25 Jan 2001

2000 years of British history told by one of the greatest figures of that history.

New one volume abridgement, now at an unbeatable price.

From Boadicea to Victoria.

Product details

  • Hardcover: 640 pages
  • Publisher: Orion; One Volume Abridgement edition (25 Jan 2001)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0304357413
  • ISBN-13: 978-0304357413
  • Product Dimensions: 20.2 x 13.4 x 4.2 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (10 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 89,421 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description

Book Description

A one-volume abridgement of Sir Winston Churchill¿s famous four-volume history of the English-speaking peoples.

About the Author

Christopher Lee was the first Quatercentenary Research Fellow at Emmanuel College Cambridge, where he studied the historical influences on modern diplomatic and political processes. His award winning History of Britain, This Sceptr¿d Isle, was broadcast during 1995 and 1996 by the BBC. He is currently writing a history of the 20th Century.

Inside This Book (Learn More)
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Front Cover | Copyright | Table of Contents | Excerpt | Index | Back Cover
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
29 of 29 people found the following review helpful
By A Customer
Quite simply: this volume has it all. Foremost is the sweep and majesty of Sir Winston Churchill's incomparable prose, combined with the story of one thousand years of Britain and her English-Speaking family. All this has been distilled into one volume, with annotations, by Christopher Lee, the writer of the BBC's "This Sceptred Isle". If you find the four-volume original a bit daunting: start here: you will not be able to put down this fascinating, colourful tour through the history of this country and her closest relations.
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17 of 17 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars In history lie all the secrets of statecraft 28 Jan 2003
By S
In 1932 Churchill told his publishers that he would be willing to write A History of the Englsih Speaking People (HESP) for the sum of Stg 20,000. He had assumed that it would take him about 4 or 5 years to write. Little did he foresee how he would be overtaken by the world events that ensued.
HESP reveals Churchill's staggeringly profound understanding of the great currents of history.
The Age of Revolution was published in 1957 and finally in 1958 came The Great Democracies. All four were best-sellers. That they have remained in print for almost half a century is enduring witness to their popularity.
I agree with Sir Arthur Byrant when he said that Churchill's narrative is amongst the most comprehensive and discerning ever written of the English-speaking nations. It is balanced, accurate and reliable.
I regard this book and the other three in the set a very worthwhile purchase.
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8 of 9 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A history book as it should be 8 Feb 2004
This book about english history is certainly one of the best I've seen so far. As a foreign national, it is giving a lot of insights about english roots as well as a feeling why England is what it is. Understanding the course of history in a country is trying to understand their people today as much as their past, since everybody of us is cleary shaped by history. I liked very much the clear structure of the book, which helps to read the bits first you are most interested in. As most history interested person the most well known part of England's past is its 20 century century with the two great wars and the decolonisation period afterwards. So much of the early history of England was unknown to me and I must say that this book was really helpful in filling the gaps, as well presenting the key figures and events in a concise way. It is not a book explaining everything in depth, but rather, as the titel is suggesting, an overall chef-d'oeuvre. Maybe I should mention that the book is maybe a little bit "dry" for people not used to history books. The writing style is more going into "then happened this and that....the consequences were" style, which is not necessarly everybodies cup of tea.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
During the years in the wilderness leading up to the second world war, the Churchill household was short of cash, and Churchill had to return to his pen as a means of earning a living. He conceived this grand project, no less than a complete history of the English speaking peoples; from our island origins to world domination, as a means of making that living. From the outset it was intended to be a best seller, and as such had to read as a great story rather than as a dry history.

In this attempt Churchill succeeds, and these books are a great and very readable story. However, they are coloured by Churchill's own view of the world, his own prejudices and his own ego.

This second volume covers the period from 1689 to 1815. This another eventful period in British history, with the various arguments of the succession following the glorious revolution, and wars with France culminating in the Napoleonic wars. Churchill has done a great job of distilling it down to a few key episodes, and laying out the sequence of events in a clear fashion. My only criticism is the way he dwells upon his ancestor the Duke of Marlborough, the lengthy sections of the book regarding him are a bit distracting from the main story. The triumph of the book is the very readable prose, as he intended it is no scholarly, yet boring analysis, but a highly entertaining romp through the events that made this great nation.

This (and the other three volumes) is highly recommended for those with a casual interest in history, and find the usual text books far too dull. Also, anyone who enjoys a good tale will find much to enjoy here. For an authoritative history text I would advise you to look elsewhere.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars WSC Not at his Best? 12 Feb 2013
After reading 197pp (c. a third) of Christopher Lee's 1998 abridgement of HESP, I concluded that as a history it was simply too glutinous to proceed with further. Having then read a matching chapter `York & Lancaster' (p365) of the unabridged `Chartwell' edition, where some of the more literary elements excised by Lee add a pleasant roundness to the narrative, I didn't change my opinion.

Lee's abridgment, by the way, also strips out all maps, illustrations and the American colonial impact on British history, which Churchill probably added more with an eye to the potential US sales than anything else. Overall, the complete text is reduced by about 40%.

HESP was a tremendous work of effort. However, I don't sense that Churchill communicates our complex history in a particularly informative, enlightening or exciting way. This is a great pity because such works of his as `My Early Life' and `Thoughts and Adventures' are cracking reads - though of a completely different genre. Similarly, T E Lawrence, one of Churchill's near-contempories, uses very rich, even obscure English in Seven Pillars of Wisdom, yet his narrative is masterly in its clarity and illustration, and whilst it may be a demanding read, it's not heavy going.

So why does HESP stumble? Perhaps because to a considerable extent Churchill needed to rely on a wide group of academic historians to form foundations of the work and, despite his most careful editing and control, and with an eye on publishing deadlines, his inimitable style was somewhat dimmed. Clearly it is no primer and is perhaps of interest to those already well versed in English history and looking for another perspective. If you want to revisit your school-days' history, HESP is probably not the place to start. (02/2013)
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