Saturday, August 25, 2018

Churchill and Orwell

“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 fifty-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.” What’s special about this audiobook is the comparison of the two men, with both similarities and differences. Personalities were different, too, as was public perception. Churchill didn’t read much fiction, and dismissed Henry James, not knowing or caring who he was. Meanwhile Orwell’s star began to rise as a prophet of the future, with many pithy quotes written as if penned today, like, “The very concept of objective truth is fading out of the world. Lies will pass into history,” and “all issues are political issues, and politics itself is a mass of lies, evasions, folly, hatred and schizophrenia.” Or “Nationalism is power hunger tempered by self-deception.” Or “Sports is war minus the shooting,” and “Big Brother is watching you.” He did not believe that the object of life should be happiness. Interesting is the quote, “The aim of a joke is not to degrade the human being, but to remind him that he is already degraded.” Churchill was more about perseverance in the face of overwhelming odds. “Never give up. Failure is not fatal; it is courage to continue that counts.” And: “I may be drunk, Miss, but in the morning I will be sober and you will still be ugly.” Author Thomas E. Ricks is a national security adviser for a think tank, having written for the Washington Post and Wall Street Journal, and is author of Fiasco, a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize. Narrator James Lurie is an award winning stage and TV actor, with a gift for clarity and direction in non-fiction, too. 
WHERE ARE WE HEADING by Ian Holder “In this important book, Ian Hodder demonstrates why things matter, not because they represent something, but because the entangled interdependence of all things gives rise to the forward direction of history.” —John C. Barrett, professor emeritus, University of Sheffield
Tom Hiddleston reads HIGHRISE.

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