A NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER by Pulitzer Prize winning author Thomas E. Ricks (Fiasco)
Today, as liberty and truth are increasingly challenged, the figures of Churchill and Orwell loom large. Exemplars of Britishness, they preserved individual freedom and democracy for the world through their far-sighted vision and inspired action, and cast a long shadow across our culture and politics. In Churchill & Orwell, the Pulitzer Prize-winning author Thomas E. Ricks masterfully argues that these extraordinary men are as important today as they ever were.
Churchill and Orwell stood in political opposition to each other, but were both committed to the preservation of freedom. However, in the late 1930s they occupied a lonely position: democracy was much discredited, and authoritarian rulers, fascist and communist, were everywhere in the ascent. Unlike others, they had the wisdom to see that the most salient issue was human liberty — and that any government that denies its people basic rights is a totalitarian menace to be resisted.
Churchill and Orwell proved their age’s necessary men, and this book reveals how they rose from a precarious position to triumph over the enemies of freedom. Churchill may have played the larger role in Hitler’s defeat, but Orwell’s reckoning with the threat of authoritarian rule in 1984 and Animal Farm defined the stakes of the Cold War and continues to inspire to this day. Their lives are an eloquent testament to the power of moral conviction, and to the courage it takes to stay true to it, through thick and thin.
'An inspiring story... highly readable' Andrew Roberts, bestselling author of Napoleon the Great and The Storm of War
'A page turner written with great brio... highly enjoyable' New York Times
'A feast of a book, laden with observations and insights that enable us to see these familiar figures, and through them our own time, in a fresh and illuminating light… studded with arresting vignettes' John Gray, New Statesman
'Ricks gets beyond [their] differences and finds the iron core of both men... highlighting not just their skills and strengths, but the tumultuous times that demanded the highest exercise of their talents' Los Angeles Times
'Entertaining... Ricks succeeds in his adroit use of details' D.J. Taylor, author of Orwell: The Life
'Has fresh things to say about its subjects... poignant' Newsday
'A superb account of two men who set standards for defending liberal democracy that remains disturbingly out of reach' Kirkus
'Superbly illustrates that Churchill and Orwell made enduring cases for the necessity of moral and political fortitude in the face of authoritarianism... a bracing work for our times' Publishers Weekly
'The genius of Ricks’s method is to tell the story of an ongoing struggle through the lives of two extraordinary men' Booklist
'An eminently readable, frankly inspirational and exceptionally timely tribute' Minneapolis Star Tribune
'[Outlines the] two men who had the greatest influence and on our understanding of freedom.' Keith Simpson MP
'Ricks is an excellent writer; his eye for telling detail brings to life these two remarkable and much-mythologised men.’ The Telegraph
'Ricks’s brilliant insight is how much the apparent opposites spoke the same language, sharing a revulsion for enemies of freedom. Ricks’s twin biography makes us ask: where are the Orwells and Churchills of today?' Harold Evans
PRAISE FOR FIASCO
‘Ricks’s scrupulous account of the disaster in Iraq will fill the reader with anger’ Antony Beevor, Sunday Times
‘The most authoritative account of [the] disaster in Iraq’ Max Hastings, Sunday Times
‘Fiasco’s political impact has been immense’ Sunday Telegraph, Books of the Year