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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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on 16 April 2015
Mother loved the book, be careful though as this is an 'abridged' version of a set of 3 much larger original volumes which actually worked out better for my mum but be sure it's the right book.
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on 26 August 2013
How did Churchill find the time to write so much? Did he have a really good researcher??? Anyway, you can hear his voice through all of this, telling the various stories with apparent objectivity, and generally at a good pace. I felt that it floundered a bit in the American Civil War, making rather too much of what was at the time a minor internal dust-up (did anyone really think the South were going to win when they all kept going back home to tend their fields?) Recommended.
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on 4 October 2017
Was a book for my wife and she loved the book, quality and the price. Love buying books off amazon, always receive what you want, at a good price and in good time.
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on 3 August 2012
Excellent book. I am doing my family tree and this eloquently helps me understand the era of change my ancestors were living in. Some of them had gone to America on the Mayflower (covered in a previous volume) some had later emigrated to Virginia and this volume covers the war of Independence. A beautifully written and informative book.
The style is easy to read it is easy to dip in and out of. I had had the early 2 volumes for 40 odd years and was delighted to be able to buy second hand copies to complete the set.
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on 11 July 2013
Churchill covered American history excellently, but he goes over alot of other English speaking countries pretty quickly. There was little on the Maori wars or anything about how there were infact people on the island of Australia before the Europeans. It is very much Churchill's history, and shows more about the writer than the actual history at times. Like i said it was his descriptions of the American civil war which gripped me the most, and there were moments when his writing really was splendid. I particilarly enjoyed his insights on British parliament from Gladstone to Disraeli.
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