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Churchill: A Biography Audiobook, by Roy Jenkins Extended Sample Click for printable size audiobook cover
Author: Roy Jenkins Narrator: Simon Vance Publisher: Blackstone Publishing Format: Unabridged Audiobook Delivery: Instant Download Audio Length: Release Date: February 2015 ISBN: 9781483078786
3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 3.00 (1,082 ratings) (rate this audio book)
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Winston Churchill is an icon of modern history. From a very young age, Churchill believed he was destined to play a great role in the life of his nation, and he determined to prepare himself for the task. Roy Jenkins shows in fascinating detail how Churchill educated himself for greatness, how he worked out his livelihood through writing as well as his professional life in politics, and how he situated himself at every major site or moment in British imperial and governmental life. His parliamentary career was like no other, with its changes of party allegiance, its troughs and humiliations, its triumphs and peaks.

In this magisterial book, Roy Jenkins’ unparalleled command of Britain’s political history and his own high-level government experience provide a nuanced appreciation of his extraordinary subject. Exceptional in its breadth of knowledge and distinguished by a penetrating intelligence, this is one of the finest political biographies of our time.

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Quotes & Awards

  • “This is far and away Churchill’s best one-volume biography.”

    Arthur Schlesinger, Pulitzer Prize-winning historian

  • “From Roy Jenkins’ masterly biography, we emerge marveling at the manifold gifts that informed Churchill’s genius for leadership.”

    New York Times Book Review

  • “A first-class, well-sustained work of history and a masterpiece of biography…Of all the very many biographies of Winston Churchill that have been written, this one is the best.”

    Sunday Telegraph (London)

  • “This is a splendid addition to Churchillian lore, a chronicle full of revealing personal anecdotes, delightful wartime vignettes, and fascinating new insights into the critical 1939–1945 years.”

    Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel

  • “Idiosyncratic and accessible…Jenkins’ judgments and the fact that he has boiled this eventful life down to a single volume will attract many readers…Entertaining.”

    Publishers Weekly

  • “As a veteran politician and administrator, Jenkins is well placed to evaluate Churchill’s strengths and weaknesses as a cabinet-level official.”

    Library Journal

  • “Stirring…This work is a mighty accomplishment. Jenkins illustrates eloquently how Churchill, perhaps to serve his insatiable ambition, learned to play the game of democratic electoral politics, despite his own aristocratic inclinations. Jenkins acknowledges Churchill’s stubbornness, often-destructive vanity, and tunnel vision on certain issues. Yet, Jenkins convincingly asserts, he was right far more often than he was wrong; and on the life-or-death threats posed by Nazism and then Communism, he was right sooner and in a more profound sense than any contemporary statesman. For that, the world will be forever in his debt.”


  • “This comprehensive, witty, and incisive tome, read by British narrator [Vance]…is an enriching entry to scholarly collections.”

    Booklist (audio review)

  • “A thoughtful and comprehensive portrait of British Prime Minister Winston Churchill’s remarkable life…Jenkins’ inside perspective on British politics makes his work essential reading for those interested in Churchill’s life and times.”

    Kirkus Reviews

  • On the 2002Samuel Johnson Prize for Nonfiction Shortlist

Listener Reviews

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  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 James | 2/12/2014

    " A fascinating life, and the book was a pleasure to read. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Samantha | 2/4/2014

    " Great analysis, very in-depth look at one of the most influential leaders of the 20th Century... But a bit too wordy and long-winded for my taste. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Ann | 1/29/2014

    " I finally had to finish up other books I was currently reading in order to devote my attention to this one. I enjoyed this book a lot. It's not a light read--I thought It read very much like an interesting textbook. If you are looking for a well-rounded biography of Winston Churchill's life, you might want to look elsewhere. If you are looking for a substantive look at Churchill's political life with tidbits of information about his personal life, this is the book you want. It helps to know something of British politics before reading, but is not necessary. Roy Jenkins had quite a political career himself and knows his topic. Overall a very good read. Now I'm ready for something lighter, and fictional. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Brice | 1/5/2014

    " Heavy on British who's who's and how much time Churchill spent with various people that I don't know anything about. Ultimately, this is a work written for people who already know a lot about Churchill and want some fresh info. It was difficult for me to wade through. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Kris | 1/4/2014

    " A comprehensive and relatively unbiased biography, which is rare. Jenkins experience as a Parliamentarian enables him to give insights into Churchill's thinking unavailable to the normal biographer. There is a remarkable amount of detail on Churchill's early life and career. This does, however, come at the expense of a fairly rushed account of the Second World War. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Cadugand | 12/31/2013

    " A tough read. Rather dry at times. Great history book, though. Churchill was an amazing person, who had a huge impact on the world, and on the maturation of the USA. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Karm | 12/31/2013

    " As best a history of this great man as one can find anywhere. Probing and analytical. A must for the shelf in my library. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Chris | 12/13/2013

    " Fascinating insight into the life & times of Churchill... the only slight reservation is that there's a lot of Parliamentry detail in there which can leave you a bit dazed and confused. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 David | 11/30/2013

    " Great information on how Britain's parliamentary system operatates. Some good detail on Churchill himself but didn't provide as much insight as I would have liked... "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Willyf22 | 11/20/2013

    " A little thick at times, but very thorough and detailed. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Peter | 11/17/2013

    " Great picture of the man and his political journey, plus valuable osmotic learning on British politics of the 20th century. A bit verbose at times. Long as shit. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Kim | 8/1/2013

    " Nice overall biography. The author and his family have served in England's government,so he has indepth knowledge of its policies and intrigues, and although he is respectful in his treatment of Churchill, he seems able to separate the man from the legend, which is refreshing. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Kimmo | 7/24/2013

    " Not bad, though have to confess on skipping a few pages before and after WWII. Liked the ultradry humor. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Richard | 7/7/2012

    " Highly readable and always vividly aware of what a *strange* person WSC was. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Bap | 1/6/2011

    " Excellant one volume bio of this most fascinating man. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Davidpmc | 6/19/2010

    " Loved it. The end was slightly subdued,given the author's conclusions. Maybe Jenkins did not want to be overly sentimental? "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Mary | 4/20/2008

    " This is the quintessential biography of Winston Churchill. It is a stimulating review of the 20th Century Western World and a great picture of England. Roy Jenkins writing is thorough, crisp and thought provoking. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Craig | 2/25/2007

    " This author, a former liberal MP, has a cloying writing style, which distracted me from enjoying a biography which I should have loved. I had equal problems with his Gladstone biography. Stick with the Gilbert bio (one volume or multi-volume) or Manchester's 2 volumes. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Chris | 2/11/2007

    " A truly magnificent effort from an octogenarian. Long, long read but enjoyable to the brim. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Stephen | 6/28/2005

    " An interesting review of Churchill's life by Roy Jenkins. My only problem with this book is that the writer's pro-europe views often where forced to the forefront and I felt at times this book was merely a way for him to push these views. "

About the Author

Roy Jenkins (1920–2003), active in British politics for half a century, was also an accomplished biographer. He entered the House of Commons as a Labour member in 1948 and subsequently served as Minister of Aviation, Home Secretary, and Chancellor of the Exchequer. From 1977–81 he was President of the European Commission. In 1987 he became Chancellor of Oxford University and took his seat in the House of Lords as Baron Jenkins of Hillhead.

About the Narrator

Simon Vance (a.k.a. Robert Whitfield) is an award-winning actor and narrator. He has earned more than fifty Earphones Awards and won the prestigious Audie Award for best narration thirteen times. He was named Booklist’s very first Voice of Choice in 2008 and has been named an AudioFile Golden Voice as well as an AudioFile Best Voice of 2009. He has narrated more than eight hundred audiobooks over almost thirty years, beginning when he was a radio newsreader for the BBC in London. He is also an actor who has appeared on both stage and television.