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A history of the English-speaking peoples (original 1956; edition 1956)

by Winston Churchill

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1,04658,062 (4.3)29
Member:geneg
Title:A history of the English-speaking peoples
Authors:Winston Churchill
Info:New York, Dodd, Mead, 1956-58.
Collections:Non-Fiction, Your library
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Tags:non-fiction, history, churchill

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A History of the English-Speaking Peoples by Winston S. Churchill (1956)

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I did not love reading Churchill’s History of the English-Speaking Peoples, although I don’t know whose fault that is: Churchill’s or the abridger’s. I do know I’m glad I didn’t attempt the 2000 page version; 470 pages of Churchill’s assessment of military strategies and medieval politics from 1939’s perspective was enough.

Don’t get me wrong: I’m glad I read it. However, I wouldn’t call Churchill’s tome a scholarly history. Even after finishing, I’m still not all that comfortable with English history.

In places it simply felt like stories and traditions from the history, told in an interesting way and with plenty of opinion. There were few footnotes. Churchill’s writing is detailed, informative, and overarching (Churchill made connections between kings, patterns, and eras). But I felt academic heft was missing. Despite that, I still got rather bogged down in the explanation of military strategies: I don’t care to know the details of each battle, but rather the outcomes and the effects of the battles (and this book had an extensive section on the American Civil War). I did really enjoy the first half of the book, which was about the settlement of England and the kings of England.

In the end, Churchill certainly has an interesting political perspective. But this wasn’t the best for a first look at English history.

More thoughts on my blog
1 vote rebeccareid | Aug 28, 2010 |
If you want to see Strunk&White's rules in action this series is irreplaceable.

But really, the value of this work is the insight into the pride in & love of England and its democratic traditions Churchill carried. It is implied in certain parts of the book that he was writing, or at least thinking about writing, it during WWII.

The only drawback, which is an ethical failing rather than a literary one in my sight, is that the Empire is left out almost entirely except for occasional reference to Ireland. ( )
  ewalrath | Jul 17, 2009 |
In the time period, one of the finest books on the history of Europe and its colonies; Churchill has a tremendous vocabulary that he puts in play in this book. Wonderful secondary source for world history teachers. ( )
1 vote mfassold | Oct 16, 2007 |
This is for Volume 2, The New World. A good way to read history, though I confess that the first volume which covered Druids, Romans, Vikings, Saxons and Normans was more interesting to me. This one bogged down in Parlimentary decrees and various monarchs and the intrigues against them. Still, I think it helps to sort out some of the history one is always referenced to. ( )
1 vote MrsLee | Nov 14, 2006 |
A major figure in 20th century history, but very 19th century in his prose style as he shows why he won a Nobel for literature, in part for this sweeping history. ( )
1 vote wilpotts | May 17, 2006 |
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Between 1485 and 1688 England became a protestant country under henry VIII ; his daughter Elizabeth battled for succession at home and supremacy abroad, and the discovery of the 'new world' enabled a vast continent across the Atlantic to be explored.

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