Two excellent histories released as audio books

Audio books have proven a wonderful way for me to multi-task on the computer, while others listen to them driving, jogging, or otherwise engaged in tasks that do not occuppy fully the mind's capacity. Thus the arrival of excellent works in audio format is a cause for celebration.

Winston Churchill wrote a six volume history of World War II (fulfilling his own prediction that "I am consoled that history will treat me I intend to write it myself").  He condensed his own work into a four-volume history.  It is that four-volume history of World War II written by the great man himself that has just been released in audio book format by the BBC(!). 

The reader has a Churchillian voice which works perfectly with this material.  It is surprisingly fresh, modern and fast-moving.  I downloaded it from, and, of course, you have to pay for it.  So far, only the first three volumes are available, but the logic of the situation is that they will release the fourth one shortly.  The three volumes available so far are: Milestones to Disaster; Alone (not to be confused with the William Manchester biography of Churchill with the same name); and The Grand Alliance.  Not only does the work stand alone magnificently, but it is surprisingly relevant to the radical Islamic challenge today, with the obduracy both of politicians and the public to the rise of fascism in the 1930's, and then both the adventure and the difficulties of leadership in a world conflict.

The second recent release on is Barbara Tuchman's classic The Guns of August.  This is such a good piece of literature that it can be profitably be read more than once, as I have myself done.  It is the story of the background to and then the opening battles of World War I.  Originally published in 1960, it informed JFK's approach to the Cuban Missile Crisis because Tuchman's thesis is that one of the causes of World War I was that military plans gained dominance over political objectives, something that Kennedy was determined would not happen in the confrontation with the USSR. 

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