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This is the concluding volume in Winston Churchill's incomparable history of World War II. As in his previous three volumes it provides remarkable insight and an unparalleled "you are there" view of the events. It is an absolute must-read for anyone that has had the pleasure of completing the previous books.
However, it suffers in comparison to the other books. This first-person view of history worked incredibly well in the first three volumes because Churchill was, quite literally, in the middle of much of the significant action and decisions from 1938 to 1942. His insight, speeches, decisions, and influence on diplomacy literally made history and changed the course of the war. Having a front-row seat to that power and thought process is a treat.
However, starting in 1943 and certainly in 1944 the United States and the Soviet Union became the primary players on the Allied side and Great Britain (and thus Churchill), exhausted and smaller than the others, became a junior partner. Churchill had less and less influence in the conduct of the war and it is not surprising he was greatly frustrated by it, though he certainly knew that only through the combined efforts of the USA and USSR could complete victory be achieved.
In this volume he spends most of his time on things he had direct impact over (which were smaller scale) or talking about his frustrations about not being able to prosecute the war as he saw fit. For example, we hear much more about a small invasion of Italy he tried to coordinate than we do about D-Day. And we hear practically nothing about the treatment of Jews or concentration camps.
But Churchill really comes through in the end as he chronicles the Soviet transformation in 1944/5 from ally to adversary. And there is an epilogue where he discusses the transformations of the geopolitical situation from 1945 to 1957 that is remarkable in its anticipation of many of the issues we continue to face.
40 of 40 people found this review helpful
Would you listen to Triumph and Tragedy again? Why?
And he wrote about it with an excellence no one else has equalled. I would certainly listen to it again. I am amazed at how candid yet diplomatic Churchill is, and how beautifully he writes. Imagine a great world leader, also a brilliant journalist, who knows first hand the course of the most important war in history describing events and the personalities of the principal world rulers with penetrating insight and great humor. There is so much to be learned by this book, listening to it twice would only be good for starters.
What other book might you compare Triumph and Tragedy to and why?
The Rise and Fall of the Third Reich is a brilliant book and I loved it. However, the account of a journalist who lived through the war and observed it first hand pales in comparison with Churchills authority and intimate knowledge of events.
What about Christian Rodska???s performance did you like?
I thought of him as Churchill. I felt Churchill was telling me about the war.
If you were to make a film of this book, what would be the tag line be?
Triumph and Tragedy. The birth of the world today.
Any additional comments?
This is one book I am going to get a hard copy and take notes.
5 of 5 people found this review helpful
I have been enthralled by listening to all four parts of this inspiring story of the Second World War of which this is the final book. Christian Rodska's fine narration has added to the experience. This last part high-lighted for me how history can be changed by individuals for good or ill. The duplicity of Stalin, once a cherished ally; the premature death of Roosevelt; the surprise result of the 1945 General Election ousting Churchill: all had ramifications that coloured the rest of the 20th century. By the end of these books I felt a great sadness over the huge waste of lives, but also inspired by the peoples' bravery and tenacity. We owe a great debt of gratitude to Churchill who worked tirelessly for five years against the odds. Not only was he a great leader, but also a great writer able to convey in such a riveting way the fears, triumphs and tragedies of war.
4 of 4 people found this review helpful
Winston Churchill is a great writer besides being a great Prime Minister. Really good to hear it form his point of view rather than from others writing about him or the war. You definitely realise this was a man ahead of his time, and one of the few to really get Hitler.
1 of 1 people found this review helpful