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on 15 December 2014
This was a really nice surprise. I had never read any of Churchill's prose and was expecting the kind of heavy portentousness of his speeches. His writing is quite the contrary with a light journalistic style and a wry sense of humour. But then, of course, for much of his life he was a successful popular journalist so perhaps I shouldn't have been surprised. The complete set of the "History of the English Speaking People's" is still one of the best summaries of the history of Britain and the United States up until the twentieth century. Some of the earlier periods which rely primarily on archaeological evidence have been overtaken and DNA analysis has changed our view of the, non-existent, waves of immigration. Nevertheless it is a great account and benefits from being written by someone who has experienced political leadership during momentous events.
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on 8 November 2013
The description is incorrect - this is not the 2013 edition stated, which was never published, it is the 2005 edition. In itself, that doesn't matter too much, BUT if you also try and order Volumes 1, 2 and 4 from the same series, you can't get them from Amazon, either the 2013 or the 2005 editions.

I pre-ordered all 4 volumes of the March 2013 edition in January 2013. I waited patiently until the end of July when Amazon dispatched just volume 3. They said they would have the other volumes in stock and would dispatch them - I could return the volume 3 if the others never arrived, even after more than 30 days, so long as it was in new condition.

I contacted Barnes & Noble, who said that none of the 4 volumes was published in March 2013 and they didn't have a date for the publication, if it will ever be re-published.

Usually Amazon are very good at allowing items to be returned, but despite having an explicit e-mail allowing return in new condition after 30 days, they refused to honour the previous e-mail.

I then opened the package and found out that it wasn't the 2013 edition. I eventually managed to use the argument that they supplied the wrong edition to be able to return the book.

Be warned - If you buy this book knowing the above, I am sure you will find it very good, but don't be disappointed that it is not what is described.
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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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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 1816 to 1900. For the first time in the series Churchill really gets to grips with te formation and history of the colonies, with a great deal of attention paid to the American Civil War. 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. 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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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 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 forst volume covers the period from 55 BC, with the invasion of Julius Caesar through to Battle of Bosworth and the start of the Tudor period. A huge period to cover, and with some very convoluted episodes (especially the wars of the roses), 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. 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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on 8 July 2015
Audio book. Beautifully written and then produced in audio. The orator is superb - and what a pleasure to hear every word and name properly pronounced. (Cf Keith Richards autobiography on audiobook whose US reader murders every proper noun). I cannot judge the historical accuracy but goodness this is a great page turner and WSC prose is never less than a joy to listen to. However, the title should more properly read 'War, Politics and Royalty... and more War'. There is nothing about the English speaking peoples other than them dying in copious amounts as Marlborough et al spill ordinary folks' blood all over Europe. But that's politics.
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on 6 July 2013
In this Volume Churchill displays a comprehensive understanding of a wide range of topics, situations and politics during the development of Democracy. Furthermore, his style is able to communicate his vision. He often sums up a complex topic within one or two sentences, sometimes with amusing effect.
Just three examples:-
He observes that:-
“Caroline {of Brunswick} was granted an annuity of £50,000, which she was not too proud to accept.”
He opines that:-
“Under the shock of the French Terror the English governing classes had closed their minds and their ranks to change. Prolonged exertions had worn out the nation. Convalescence lasted until 1830.”
Of Florence Nightingale, he says:-
“In an age of proud and domineering men she gave the women of the nineteenth century a new status, which revolutionized the social life of the country, and even made them want to vote.”
We can read his description of the development of the USA. He overviews of the actual battlefields and political battles, both prior to, and during the War of Independence. For the first time, I understood that progress may have been stopped or much delayed.
Churchill began adulthood as a soldier and then became a politician. During the Thirties he became unpopular because of his reading of European developments. He had a spell in the wilderness during which time he developed his literacy and artistic skills. Then he became UK Prime Minister for WWII.
He experienced a wide range of situations where he learned at every stage.
A remarkable individual!
You, too, could enjoy this book.
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on 16 February 2011
I have been meaning to read this series for years and I finally got round to book one. I wish I'd done it years ago. It's a wonderfully colourful view of history. I would like to think it's academically rigorous; I fear it may not be, but at least it's hugely readable. I have learnt more from this unashamedly sequential recounting of English history than I ever did at school.

The emphasis in the book is on how the populace of England was affected by the affairs of state and how the parliamentary system evolved. There is lots of insight, documented and speculative, into the personality and feelings of the key actors. Right or wrong academically, it makes for good reading.

The title is shamelessly misleading: this is a history of England and, at times, a history of southern England. I wonder if the later books branch out and justify the grandiose strapline.

The reason it gets 5 stars and not just 4 is that you can practically hear Churchill intoning this work. The vocabulary is joyous and utterly identifiably his - leapfrogging the decades and seemingly alive. What a pleasure.
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on 7 March 2012
The book is splendid and looks at the history from a politician's view point thus it differs in emphasis from that of the pure historian. The role and thought processes of the various leaders as well as the political situation at the times have their profiles raised. The abridged volume reads well.
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on 25 May 2017
I read all the volumes when I was much younger and wanted to reread. As it is a weighty read , I decided to try this abridged version and have thoroughly enjoyed it. It gives an amazing background to this wonderful u k.
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