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Publisher's Summary

Both George Orwell and Winston Churchill came close to death in the mid-1930s - Orwell shot in the neck in a trench line in the Spanish Civil War and Churchill struck by a car in New York City. If they'd died then, history would scarcely remember them. At the time Churchill was a politician on the outs, his loyalty to his class and party suspect. Orwell was a mildly successful novelist, to put it generously. No one would have predicted that by the end of the 20th century, they would be considered two of the most important people in British history for having the vision and courage to campaign tirelessly, in words and in deeds, against the totalitarian threat from both the left and the right. In a crucial moment, they responded first by seeking the facts of the matter, seeing through the lies and obfuscations, and then they acted on their beliefs. Together, to an extent not sufficiently appreciated, they kept the West's compass set toward freedom as its due north.
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.
©2017 Thomas E. Ricks (P)2017 Audible, Ltd
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Critic Reviews

"Superbly illustrates that Churchill and Orwell made enduring cases for the necessity of moral and political fortitude in the face of authoritarianism...a bracing work for our times." ( Publishers Weekly)
"The genius of Ricks's method is to tell the story of an ongoing struggle through the lives of two extraordinary men." ( Booklist)
"An eminently readable, frankly inspirational and exceptionally timely tribute." ( Minneapolis Star Tribune)
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful
5 out of 5 stars
By Emanuel on 01-23-18

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!

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4 out of 5 stars
By Suswati on 01-02-18

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.

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful
5 out of 5 stars
By Tony on 10-22-17

Excellent book

Great perspective on these men’s lives at critical points in history. Found the whole thing captivating & also very well read

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5 out of 5 stars
By Robert on 09-23-17

unexpectedly good

I really wasn't expecting to get so much out of this. As a fan of this era of history and particularly these two people, I wasn't expecting there would be so much in the comparison. well worth it.

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