Thursday, April 11, 2013

A History of the English-Speaking Peoples: Beginning

The next book I'm going to tackle is A History of the English-Speaking Peoples by Winston Churchill.  (N.B. On the cover of the book, there is no hyphen between "English" and "Speaking;" however, as there should be one and as it does appear on the title page, I will be putting it in.) For some reason there is no copy of this book for Kindle, as far as I can tell.  Fortunately, the Seattle Public Library has them so I am borrowing them from there, in hard copy. This gives me a chance to use the lovely bookmark my sister gave me for Christmas. (One of the few downsides to Kindle, I've found, is that you don't get to use bookmarks.) 
The book was originally written by Churchill (who was, of course, prime minister of the United Kingdom during and after World War II) in the 1930's.  It's publication was delayed by the war, however, and it was not published until the mid-1950's.  The book is four-volumes long (although there is an abridged, one-volume version available) and covers the history of Britain and it's former colonies from the invasion by Rome in 55 BC to the beginning of the first World War in 1914.
The book tends to focus mainly on military history and political movement, rather than social or economic history.  Another British prime minister, Clement Attlee, suggested that the book should have been titled, "Things in History that Interest Me."  Nevertheless, the book has endured the test of time for it's judgment of war and politics and for Churchill's lively writing style.  It was one of the books mentioned when Churchill won his Nobel Prize for Literature.
This is a book I've been interested in reading for a long time but have put off because of it's length, but I'm excited to begin.  Because I will be reading each volume separately, and because I don't know the page lengths of all the volumes, I will report my progress through each volume as a percentage of that volume's total length, not a percentage of the whole book.

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