Churchill and Orwell: The Fight for Freedom
Contributor: C. Peter Chen
Review Date: 29 Oct 2018
Winston Churchill was a giant in the political realm of the 20th Century, and George Orwell would ultimately be recognized as a giant in the literary realm in the same time period. Although these two men did not cross paths, author Thomas Ricks' dual biography Churchill and Orwell attempted to portray them as two heroes who each championed their own democratic ideals while Britain fought for its survival at the face of totalitarian Nazi Germany.
Viewed individually, the biography of Winston Churchill was good, but I must respectfully note that there had been so many excellent biographies of Churchill, all of which would easily put this book to shame. As I did not know much about Orwell, I learned a great deal from this book, all the while entertained by the author's thoughtful analysis and descriptive narrative. As far as the dual biography format is concerned, the author failed to convince me how the two men mirrored, contrasted, or directly influenced each other - Would that not be the usual goal of a dual biography?
I had reviewed this title in its audio book format, which was read by James Lurie. As I struggled through the book searching for the answer why the author starred Churchill and Orwell in the same volume, I found Lurie's performance to be so solid that I could focus entirely in Ricks' presentation.
I had learned a lot about George Orwell, and had truly enjoyed that learning experience. Beyond that, it was regrettable that I found little else notable. I was especially disappointed by my inability to see why the author thought it was important to study these two men in the same volume.
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Captain Henry P. Jim Crowe, Guadalcanal, 13 Jan 1943