It's not easy to recall now how lonely a position both men once occupied. By the late 1930s, democracy was discredited in many circles, and authoritarian rulers were everywhere in the ascent. There were some who decried the scourge of communism but saw in Hitler and Mussolini 'men we could do business with', if not in fact saviours. And there were others who saw the Nazi and fascist threat as malign but tended to view communism as the path to salvation. Churchill and Orwell, on the other hand, had the foresight to see clearly that the issue was human freedom - that whatever its coloration, a government that denied its people basic freedoms was a totalitarian menace and had to be resisted.
In the end Churchill and Orwell proved their age's necessary men. The glorious climax of Churchill and Orwell is the work they both did in the decade of the 1940s to triumph over freedom's enemies. And though Churchill played the larger role in the defeat of Hitler and the Axis, Orwell's reckoning with the menace of authoritarian rule in Animal Farm and 1984 would define the stakes of the Cold War for its 50-year course and continues to give inspiration to fighters for freedom to this day. Taken together, in Thomas E. Ricks' masterful hands, their lives are a beautiful testament to the power of moral conviction and to the courage it can take to stay true to it, through thick and thin.
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Customer ReviewsMost Helpful
By Emanuel on 23-01-18
Understanding The Facts of Government Control
An awesome listen about the facts and ways in which Governments influence and control public opinion, both historically and up to the modern day.
Thomas E Ricks compares two great and influential men and how they helped to shape modern thinking and helps to highlight how modern technology and surveillance is more a frightening reality than Orwell insightfully foresaw.
Compassionately and entertainingly read by Piers Hampton.
A must read for those that care!
By Suswati on 02-01-18
Intriguing comparison between opposing men
Thomas E. Rick's fascinating account of the lives two of the most renowned British men seems an unlikely match, but nevertheless a good comparison. Literary leftist giant George Orwell and Conservative heavyweight Winston Churchill appear to be as far apart from one another, however, their visions of freedom actually divulge.
Ricks points out, both men’s "dominant priority, a commitment to human freedom, gave them common cause", despite Orwell being an introvert and Churchill being a prominent orator - and it seems to be the common thread that ties them throughout.
The author's focus on Orwell felt far more interesting than Churchill's background, given that Orwell served in various armed forces around the world by choice, and usually fighting with the underdog. He was also poverty-stricken for a period of time, in which he wrote the classic memoir Down and Out in Paris and London. But Churchill's ability to change minds across the political sphere is legendary.
While certainly not exhaustive, this book provides an overview of the lives of both influential men, delving into each's careers as the themes of war, politics, and personal liberties are explored. It may be seen as a bit of a stretch given the two never actually met, however, it is still informative and entertaining.