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The Birth of Britain (A History of the English-Speaking Peoples #1)

4.15  ·  Rating Details ·  1,501 Ratings  ·  149 Reviews
Dějiny anglicky mluvících národů (1956–1958, History of the English-Speaking Peoples) je čtyřdílné historické dílo britského politika, státníka a spisovatele sira Winstona Churchilla, nositele Nobelovy ceny za literaturu za rok 1953.

Dílo je velkolepým souhrnem dějin Velké Británie a její koloniální říše a pokrývá období od Caesarova vpádu do Británie v roce 55 př. n. l. do
388 pages
Published 1963 by Bantam Books (first published 1956)
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Dec 04, 2010 Bryan rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I originally picked this book up because I read that Churchill was inspired by Gibbon, whose Decline and Fall is one of the most amazing works I've ever read. I have to say that, so far (this the first volume) I can definitely see a similarity between the two works, both in terms of the history itself and the writing style.

I can also see how Churchill received a Nobel Prize in literature. Like Gibbon, Churchill's prose, while always engaging and expansive becomes, when he reaches a subject or a
Mar 30, 2008 Xio rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Picked this up this morning off the shelf of my current roommate. I was awake earlier than usual due to my older son's Sunday Pancake Ambitions (he's 12 and the chef). Not that he requires supervision, I just like being around him happily puttering about in the kitchen cooking for his family, right?

So, I began the book without imagining I'd become so immediately and thoroughly engrossed in it. I cannot put it down (well, I put it down to check in here and write this, I guess).

Begun in 1933 (and
Sep 17, 2012 Tony rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: history
A HISTORY OF THE ENGLISH SPEAKING PEOPLES: Volume 1: The Birth of Britain. (1956; this ed. 2003, The Folio Society). Sir Winston Churchill. ****.
I first read this volume of the four-volume history when I first joined the Book-of-the-Month-Club in 1960. It was a freebie for joining. Back then, I was really ambitious and read all four volumes straight through. Now, I plan to only read this volume to remind me of the taste of Sir Winston’s prose. In all, it’s a basic work that should be on every h
Feb 05, 2012 Josh rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
For a glimpse into Britain’s past, I recently selected “A History of the English Speaking Peoples: The Birth of Britain.” This book, the first in a series of four, comes from the pen of Winston Churchill. Authored intermittently during periods of relative inactivity, before and after World War II, this first volume offers a chronologically sequenced history of the British Isles. Most of the text summarizes the reigns of the known British rulers prior to the Norman Conquest and expansively retell ...more
Dec 28, 2010 Immen marked it as to-read  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: abandoned
Normally I am all pissy about nonfiction, because the prose is watery and/or in bad taste, and the content density is low and/or obscured by the stupid author's stupid agenda. (Fiction mainly pisses me off when the author can actually write, and then decides to write endlessly about his sexual dysfunction, D H LAWRENCE.) This is probably because I choose to read nonfiction by alive people, instead of awesome people from the greatest generation, who are awesome and not stupid, and love their subj ...more
Jul 17, 2016 Tom rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This is sweeping national history told with verve and dash. It is as much an insight into Churchill as it is into Britain's past. One forgets that this inspiring orator, proud statesman and defender of the realm was also a great writer who spent the "alone" years before World War II drafting this history of the English-speaking peoples. Churchill's Latinate prose recalls Gibbon, but his own striking personality shines through in passage after passage. "The Second World War" may be his most impor ...more
Ray Campbell
Feb 12, 2013 Ray Campbell rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: read-2013
I was reluctant to begin this one for which I now feel foolish. In my mind, Churchill is so strongly associated with World War II, that though I know he was a historian, I imagined his historical prose would sound like the radio broadcast addresses he made to rally the nation of Britain during the war. I know, I'm really silly. This book is a masterpiece of narrative history. Churchill is comprehensive in his coverage, easy to read and generous with interesting details and connections.

This volum
May 25, 2010 Greg rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is a beautifully written popular history of England from Roman times to the end of the end of the War of the Roses. The last half of the book is pretty much all about court intrigue and problems of royal succession. The primary value of the book is Churchill's explanation of English character based on various historical trends. For example, English political behaviors and love of liberty can be traced to a landed class of Danish warriors that settled most the country in the 9th Century.
Nov 20, 2014 George rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: audio-books
printed 1956...
Narrated by Christian Rodska 2006 17 hours.

Read at least book one in College. I will remember when I finish the audio versions of what I originally read/ My favorite Professor who had such wonderful courses as Rebels, Robbers and Rogues! His best courses were summer and winter break, Since I didn't have anywhere to go, it was always easier to stay at school, and got to take all of his fun courses. One of those was a history of England based on these writings.

Michael Huang
Nov 16, 2016 Michael Huang rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
There is no perfect way of writing history: if you use a broad brush to draw historical lessons and skip all the details, you are necessarily presumptuous; if you tell the tails and leave the reader to figure out the lessons, you are preparing raw materials for the historians. The right balance depends on who the reader is. For me, there is perhaps too much detail in these tomes. To me, the intrigues of a king's court in ages of fights between rival houses is just drama. Just because it's King's ...more
Daniel Nelms
Churchill is a master historian. It took me a few hundred pages to understand his writing style and his movement in narrative. Once you grasp his style you cannot put it down.

English history is both rich and sad, exciting and mundane, romantic and terrible. Some stories read as modern movie scripts may, especially that of William the Conqueror and Richard III. But as it's always said, history repeats itself. England's never ending 100 years war with France is reminiscent of our wars waged in th
Genadi Mihaylov
Jan 02, 2017 Genadi Mihaylov rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
One of the greatest history books ever. The books is written by a person who clearly understands the historical events and people behind them, with all their qualities of character, mind and soul. It's also not a coinsidence, that George R.R. Martin is using it to write his "Game of Thrones". The chapter about the War of The Roses is written like a movie script - with lots of verbs and characters and very little discription - which is a proof of just how personal Churchil takes the whole book.

PJ Wenzel
Jan 19, 2017 PJ Wenzel rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2016-read
I learned so much from this volume. Churchill is a fantastic writer, and helped to fill in some of the gaps in medieval history for me. I was following along in the first edition copy that kate bought me for christmas, so I couldn't mark it up. still, it was a wonderful book, and I'm excited for volume II.
Dec 23, 2016 Kay rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
English history through the eyes of Churchill

A masterly account of early English history proves Churchill to be a master wordsmith and consummate story teller, and never was a story told that proved more than this one the folly of internecine feuds and the chimera of power.
Jan 29, 2017 Arlomisty rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: historical
Excellent book!!
Jan 02, 2017 Julia rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
In hindsight, Sir Winston Churchill is not good bedtime reading. As he writes exactly as you would expect him too. At times thrilling, at time better than any sleep aid. Hence, the length of time I spent reading this book. I am looking forward to reading the rest of the series and have a new found appreciation for Longshanks. Also, I wonder if anyone else thought that from his perspective, the Magna Carta is Robin Hood. Or perhaps vice versa.
Jun 09, 2013 Jls rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: re-reads
"History shall treat me well, for I intend to write it."'- WSC

No matter who the writer, and no his politics, nationality, philosophy, etc. it would take an excellent writer with a superior imagination; an enemy of freedom; or a moron to to treat Churchill as anything but well-indeed as one of the Greatest of the "Greatest Generation," as anything less than "well." And to depict his human weaknesses, which make Churchill all the more inspirational, indomitable, and indefatigable, and incredible a
Todd Stockslager
Jun 04, 2015 Todd Stockslager rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: history
Review title: Great-man history of great events

A false dialectic between great men and great events is often forced upon historians by those who want to ascribe or deny the power of free will and fate in the lives of men. Churchill, assuredly a great man, walks the center ground in his sweeping history encompassing the history of English speaking peoples.

This is narrative history in the grand old style, not often seen these days. While written merely 60 years ago, already the pages of his histo
Mar 28, 2009 Jaclyn rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I had tried in the past to read this first volume of Churchill's A HIstory Of The English-Speaking Peoples, but I was only able to get about two thirds of the way through on my first attempt. After seeing the Churchill War Rooms in London a few months ago and imagining the Prime Minister escaping from his war responsibilities into Merrie Olde England, I was inspired to give it another try.

The Birth Of Britain, as I said, is the first of four volumes in Churchill's definitive history of England a
May 30, 2014 Michael rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Winston Churchill was without doubt the greatest man to live in the 2nd millennium A.D. When the whole world was either neutral, allied with or dominated by Nazi Germany, only England stood against it. England was ready to fight but needed someone to provide the leadership and Churchill, the right man and the right time, provided it. It could so easily have gone the other way. Churchill, the son of and English father and American mother was all English but always believed that those nations whic ...more
Mar 25, 2016 Jack rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
While probably not the most accurate "history" about the birth of Britain, it is one of the more readable ones. I did find myself having to look up certain players and read the side-histories so that I had a better understanding of what went on, but this was a more than adequate primer on early UK history and politics.

Churchill dictated the history from memory rather than writing it down and in some places it shows. You can almost hear his lisping voice come off the page to you. He did not spend
Bryce Lowry
Aug 27, 2011 Bryce Lowry rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
As a work of Churchill's, it is naturally a brilliant text. Not only is it a fascinating history, beginning with pre-historic Britain, but it is beautifully written.

The scope of this book is staggering; Churchill covers the important events that take place and shape Britain from the pre-Roman Celtic era to the end of the medieval ages. We get to see the vicious Celtic stands against the invading Romans, the desperate circumstances created by the fall of the Roman Empire, and the establishment o
I love Churchill and find him to be perhaps the most fascinating person to ever live, so I read this eagerly. It didn't quite live up to my hopes.

The good. The prose is excellent, as I would expect. I loved that it revealed a lot about Churchill's bias in its attention to some things (Joan of Arc gets a lot of play) and virtually ignored others (plague anyone?). That's part of the beauty of it though. I read it less as a history, as should you, and more as a glimpse into a few stories about Bri
Richard Olney
What i enjoyed the most about this book was the way it was written. The edition i read was first published in 1956, the world was recovering from the Second World War, and, at least according to Sir Winston, Britain was still great. Especially after the Conqueror, this is a "Kings and Queens" history, a military history and unquestionably a history of England. The author is looking for clues to how Britain would become at the time of writing in the distant past; he makes much more of Magna Carta ...more
Sep 03, 2011 Tim rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: british-history
Winston friggin' Churchill! Seriously, this guy must have hired people to just do great stuff in his name. There's no way someone could accomplish so much in one lifetime. This series of British history was begun in the 30s, put on hold for about a decade while Mr. Churchill beat up the nazis, and finished afterward. He has such a fun writing style. He can be as over the top as enteretaining. To quote from Chapter Five "England" about the end of the Roman occupation and beginning of Anglo-Saxon ...more
Sep 20, 2013 Troi rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I read this book because I wanted to fill in the gaps in my knowledge on the period from Roman occupation of Britain though King Henry the VIII for a course I teach. The sections on the Roman occupation and the Viking invasions were exactly what I was looking for. After that, however, I found myself getting a little distracted as the book plowed through one monarchy after another, though I did learn a lot about the kings. I think if more socio-culutral history had been included, it would have be ...more
David Huff
Mar 20, 2016 David Huff rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: audio-book
Hard to add anything to the many great reviews I read, and as soon as I completed this Volume I kept right on going to Volume II ...... Churchill had such eloquence and insight, and he certainly knew his history. This was an interesting, rich tour through fifteen hundred years of history, covering England, Scotland, Wales, Ireland, and a bit of France. I learned much about the Plantagenet kings that I never knew, and also gained a new appreciation for just how much history is filled with wars, a ...more
Jan 19, 2011 John rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
On a scale of 1 - 5

Clarity/Consistency 2 - I found myself getting confused numerous times because on numerous occasions rather than outright say things, he would make the reader read between the lines, or put things in terms that did not make sense to me. Overall structure was mostly but not totally sequential.

Rationality 5 - I found no fallacies.

Creativity 4 - He makes the reader read between the lines, which was quite witty at times (when it made sense to me).

Narrative 4 - There was a fair a
This first volume covers through the reign of Richard III (1485). I enjoyed much of it, and parts were really interesting... but it was slow-moving for me, probably largely because of my own ignorance of British history. Churchill assumes a higher level of knowledge than I possessed, not only of the history of early Britain, but also of the geography. There are a few maps and charts, but more would have been helpful for me, as well as more background information. At times I had to do additional ...more
Lance Houser
As someone else pointed out, this work would be more aptly named something like "A History of the Government of England." Of course it is the first volume of a four volume history. Mostly it is a chronicle of kings, nobles and their fights.

As far as the English speaking part goes, the history begins long before even Old-English was spoken in Britain. If you are looking for something about the history and formation of English language and culture, this is not the book for you. It skips over any
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Sir Winston Leonard Spencer-Churchill, KG, OM, CH, TD, FRS, PC (Can) was a British politician who served as Prime Minister of the United Kingdom from 1940 to 1945, and again from 1951 to 1955. A noted statesman, orator and strategist, Churchill was also an officer in the British Army. A prolific author, he won the Nobel Prize in Literature in 1953 for his own historical writings, "for his mastery ...more
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A History of the English-Speaking Peoples (4 books)
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“And wherever men are fighting against barbarism, tyranny, and massacre, for freedom, law, and honour, let them remember that the fame of their deeds, even though they themselves be exterminated, may perhaps be celebrated as long as the world rolls round.” 71 likes
“The Roman world, like an aged man, wished to dwell in peace and tranquillity and to enjoy in philosophic detachment the good gifts which life has to bestow upon the more fortunate classes. But new ideas disturbed the internal conservatism, and outside the carefully guarded frontiers vast masses of hungry, savage men surged and schemed. The essence of the Roman peace was toleration of all religions and the acceptance of a universal system of government. Every generation after the middle of the second century saw an increasing weakening of the system and a gathering movement towards a uniform religion. Christianity asked again all the questions which the Roman world deemed answered for ever, and some that it had never thought of.” 1 likes
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