Here’s a pair of books on four men of the 20th Century that still speak to us today: Churchill and Orwell and A Hobbit, a Wardrobe, and a Great War. Not one of them was a talking head or armchair expert. Each was a veteran of one or more of the century’s — and mankind’s — worst wars.
Winston Churchill warned there was no appeasing totalitarian governments. Evil regimes only ceased their scourge when facing a people who refused to surrender. Churchill’s prophetic voice was nearly ignored in this, and of what the world was to become in the Cold War. Flaws and all, he reached a level few “leaders” today can approach.
George Orwell experienced in the Spanish Civil War that all totalitarian governments were indistinguishable — whether fascist or communist — in their aims and results. His politics were polar opposite of Churchill’s, but they arrived at the same truths through life, not hypothetical debate. His books Animal Farm and 1984 emerged from those experiences, becoming timeless warnings that wherever power existed, abuse of that power would occur.
After surviving the trenches of World War I, C.S. Lewis and J.R.R. Tolkien became academic scholars. While their contemporaries were writing dismal books on the dark future of humanity, Lewis and Tolkien refused to give in to such defeatism. They eschewed the materialistic and naturalistic philosophies that had brought the world to its knees, and were also being used to paint a future of darkness for humanity. Their fantasy novels were more than fairy tales — they unveiled the hope and the Story that had been gifted to men and women — and that Evil could be crushed.
Out of a dark age came these bright lights. We would be dangerously amiss to snuff them out.
Categories: Books, History, Modern History
Tags: 1984, animal farm, C.S. Lewis, Chronicles of Narnia, George Orwell, J.R.R. Tolkien, Joseph Loconte, Lord of the Rings, The Hobbit, Thomas E. Ricks, totalitarism, Winston Churchill, World War I, World War II
When you hear “history book,” do you turn and run? Are these books the last on your reading list? Is your perception of learning history colored by memorization and repetition often utilized in schools? What if reading history could be every bit as exciting as fiction?
It can be.
There are some masters of narrative history out there writing the true stories that will compel you to turn every page. One of these authors is Candice Millard. Her books on two of the most influential and compelling leaders of the 20th Century — Winston Churchill and Theodore Roosevelt — are gripping reads.
Tags: Africa, Amazon, Boer War, Candice Millard, Hero of the Empire, jungle, leaders, president, prime minister, The River of Doubt, Theodore Roosevelt, Winston Churchill
When most people hear “biography” they think of a boring recounting of some long-dead person’s life. The best biographers, however, bring these ghosts alive and allow you to travel to another time.
Think about it. You know Albert Einstein revolutionized physics. You may know a few of his quotes, have seen an iconic photo or two. When it comes down to it, this is a very one-dimensional knowledge of a person. You really don’t know him and what would drive the achievements that would cause history to memorialize him out of millions of others.
The audio courses Albert Einstein: Physicist, Philosopher, Humanitarian and Churchill will flesh out two iconic 20th Century figures that will leave you with a sense that they were contemporaries. You will no longer wonder why they are remembered. They will also become very human, not near-mythical super-people haunting a history textbook.
Biographies will also paint you a picture of a past era. History is best seen through studying the people that lived it, not memorizing dates, places and names. In the book Boone, you not only meet one of early America’s most fascinating people, but you will be immersed in the lost wild frontier that is hard for anyone to now imagine. Von Braun: Dreamer of Space, Engineer of War brings us back to an era that may seem distant, but then you realize many still live who overlapped in time with this man.
If you ever wished to time travel, biographies such as these are all you need.