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Publisher's Summary

John Churchill, the Duke of Marlborough (1644-1722), was one of the greatest military commanders and statesmen in the history of England. Victorious in the Battles of Blenheim (1704) and Ramillies (1706) and countless other campaigns, Marlborough, whose political intrigues were almost as legendary as his military skill, never fought a battle he didn't win.

Marlborough also bequeathed the world another great British military strategist and diplomat, his descendant, Winston S. Churchill, who wrote this book to redeem Marlborough's reputation from Macaulay's smears. One million words long and ten years in the making, Churchill's Marlborough stands as both a literary and historical masterpiece, giving us unique insights into the Churchill of World War II, for just as Churchill's literary skill helps us understand the complexities of Marlborough's life, so too did his writing of Marlborough help Churchill master the arts of military strategy and diplomacy.

Listen to all four volumes here.

©2015 Winston Churchill (P)2015 Audible Studios

What listeners say about Marlborough: His Life and Times

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A Study in Statesmanship

Great performance of the best book on statesmanship ever written, by the 20th Century's greatest statesman. #Audible1

1 person found this helpful

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History shapes the statesman

Churchill the historian provided the foundation for Churchill the statesman. His four volume account of his ancestor’s life shows how Churchill’s deep knowledge of England’s political, military, and constitutional history shaped his own stewardship of his country two hundred years later.

Churchill knew that the written word bestows immortality, and Sean Barrett’s superb narration perfectly complements the narrative by the great man.

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  • Elizabeth
  • 2016-12-28

Long, but what a story!

The Duke of M lived and lead in the middle of fascinating times. Well written, and well-spiced with the author's own point of view. Never ducks a controversy and had strong views. If you are looking for even-handed, this is not. But what fun!

19 people found this helpful

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  • Troy
  • 2016-12-13

A commitment to undertake, but well worth it!

This book is a slow burning kettle of surprises that ultimately leaves the reader satisfied. I originally selected it in order to get to know the military situation during the War of Spanish Succession and the story of one of the great captains. The story hits the mark for those seeking military history but veers heavily into politics. At first this was off putting, but quickly becomes equally entertaining in its own right. Churchill again proves that he was a master of turning a phrase and authoring an entertaining history.

16 people found this helpful

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  • Godfree Roberts
  • 2018-06-17

Long, detailed and slightly overcooked

In 1934, while out of power, Churchill received a publishers advance of a million dollars in today's money to write this fulsome testimonial to his great, great grandfather, John Churchill, first Duke of Marlborough, England's greatest military strategist and commander.

It was an advertisement for his own political career and gave Churchill the opportunity to right many wrongs previous historians had attributed to his famous ancestor. Since Churchill had access to all the Duke's papers, then kept at the family seat of Blenheim Palace (where Churchill himself was born), he was able to rehabilitate his forebear's reputation with great authority.

The work, however, has aged. It is, for today's tastes, over-long and could profitably have been trimmed by a third. The narrator's choice to deliver all ninety hours in a mock-Churchillian accent (a popular indulgence of Churchill narrators) is questionable–especially since Churchill himself abandoned it and spoke clear, unaffected English when, for example, addressing the US Congress.

Carping aside, it is a remarkably detailed glimpse into the inner workings and machinations of the War of the Spanish Succession and a first-hand introduction to a host of fascinating historical characters, from kings and Electors to common soldiers. For those who like their history served long, unshaken and unstirred, this is a treat.

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  • Larry Naselli
  • 2019-03-27

A history worthy of a long and enchanting telling

Beautiful use of the English language to tell an epic story of a gigantic English hero.

5 people found this helpful

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  • J. Grzeskiewicz
  • 2018-12-12

W. S. Churchill's Epic Literary Masterpiece

W. S. Churchill spent much of the 1930's writing this epic tome, to provide what he felt a balance to the previously established history provided by Macaulay which portrayed Marlborough as petty, vain, and frugal to a shameful degree. W. S. Churchill succeeded in full. The world's Greatest General was vindicated thoroughly by this incredibly well researched and well written work.
Over a million words, it is not for the faint of heart, but it is well worth the time and effort. As Churchill put it best, as commander in chief, the Duke never stepped foot onto a battlefield he did not conquer nor lay siege to a fortress he did not take. In human history no other general can make such a boast, yet how few people know of the First Duke of Marlborough, and how many fewer know his incredible life's story.
Churchill is easily my favorite non-fiction author, and his wit and wisdom is thoroughly applied to every page of this mighty historical work honoring his illustrious ancestor.

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  • Bruce
  • 2020-11-05

a story for all eras; including our own!

Great on every level. Most unexpected aspect: if the words 'Whig' and 'Tory' are removed, and 'Democrats' and 'Republicans' substituted (it doesn't matter which is substituted for which), the ugly aspects of politics of 1710 are indistinguishable from those of 2020; except, no one is sent to the Tower of London or is exiled, today. In addition to the magnificence of the overall story, it is mildly comforting that 'this is how democracy works', and our current era is not worse than others.

Second-most unexpected aspect: the non-military aspects of the story are fascinating, and told with efficient but expansive description.

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  • Chris Lovemore
  • 2020-09-07

Remarkable and riveting

Beautifully written in Churchill’s lyrical prose and equally beautifully narrated. An unforgettably story of the complex nature of life in those times yet still relevant in the 21st Century.

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  • Frank H.
  • 2019-07-26

Very Interesting and Historically Informative

I liked it very much, even though it was VERY long, For me it shed light on why the founders of our republic were so adamantly opposed to what they called "Factions". The hatred and political warfare between the Whigs and Tories during the period covered were, I now believe the reason that President Washington warned against political "Factions" and their disruptive policies in his farewell speach. Considering how things are today, some 200 plus later, in our Republic, the Great Man knew what he was speaking of.

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  • Kindle Customer
  • 2019-01-28

comprehensively researched & convincingly done

an insightful and painstakingly honest narration of a pivotal character in the rise of english dominance in europe. the narrator made me think it was winston himself telling the story

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  • EEEE
  • 2015-11-25

WSC

another one in my collection of WSC's audiobook. I enjoyed it very much. I am looking forward to the audible version of the World Crisis ---Churchillian buff...

5 people found this helpful