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Who exactly was Winston Churchill? How did he rally the British during World War II? And what legacy did he leave for Western civilization? In Churchill, get the answers to these and other powerful questions as you follow the life of this iconic politician.
Churchill is rated 4.3 out of 5 by 234.
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Rated 5 out of 5 by from Bravo! Bravo!! Maybe the best course I have in my Great Courses library. It was a pleasure listening to Professor Fears. This course has the good and bad of Churchill's life in particular his storied political career. No tommyrot here. Modernist flawed view of history this is not.
Date published: 2023-11-12
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Great course Thoroughly enjoyed this course. Great detail in following Churchill's life and career. Insightful presentation. I learned more about history during his life than in any other course, magazine, or book. The lecturer does get a bit carried away with his dramatic presentation - as if he was in competition with his subject in oratorical style
Date published: 2023-03-22
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Amazing Man Fears is an amazing story teller and makes this course come alive. He loves Churchill, but doesn't hesitate to acknowledge his detractors. This is an older course and very difficult to navigate due (apparently) from updates in formatting. It is not streamable. At times it was frustrating, but I loved the content and highly recommend it.
Date published: 2022-10-12
Rated 3 out of 5 by from a great man - a so-so course Prof Fears has an all too frequent habit of dropping his voice at various times, especially at the end of a statement; making it hard to hear what he said. There are other aspects of his delivery that are off-putting. Candidly, he presents weakly. I believe his insights & info on Churchill are very good, but not enough to overcome just a 3 rating. Further, he way overrates FDR. If FDR were so good, & such a friend of England, he would have respected Churchill's pleas much sooner & more supportively. Churchill was a true leader - FDR not even close.
Date published: 2022-09-13
Rated 5 out of 5 by from A celebration of Churchill-- and that's okay! J. Rufus Fears was one of the most engaging, charismatic, and knowledgeable professors the Great Courses had to offer. The world of scholarship is all the worse for his loss. Many of the comments here complain that this course is not a 'cold-eyed analysis' of Churchill. They are frustrated because Professor Fears does not dwell on Churchill's mistakes and excoriate the Prime Minister for them. What these commenters are missing is that this course was designed truly as an introduction to studying Churchill. It is not a deconstruction of his legacy. The course is but 12 lectures in length and approximately 372 minutes long. In the 6 hours, Professor Fears has our attention, he gives us a very brief overview of Churchill's life and why he was so important. Compare that to the classic biography "The Last Lion: Winston Spencer Churchill, Volume I: Visions of Glory 1874-1932" by William Manchester. That audiobook is more than 41 hours long... and only covers a mere fraction of Churchill's life! Professor Fears certainly examines Churchill's life and does address many of Churchill's mistakes and detractors. However, Professor Fears is also using his distinctive style to ignite a passion for studying the life of one of the most important figures in all of Western Civilization. This course is not a dry recitation of facts like most biographies or courses. It is an adventure story that instructs while it entertains. It has to be this way, because Churchill's life *was* an adventure. Any less would be a disservice to the man's legacy. I have given this course out as a gift many times. Each recipient has come back and stated how much they love the presentation and how much they learned. Isn't that wonderful? Learning doesn't need to be a chore or a slog. Professor Fears ensures you are never bored and always engaged. Winston Churchill-- love him or hate him-- was an absolute titan who helped save Europe from Nazi domination when everyone else shrank from the challenge. He has is a-once-in-a-century story that deserves to be told. And nobody tells a story like Professor J. Rufus Fears. This is a celebration of the life of an incredible man combined with a history lesson. And you should enjoy every moment of it.
Date published: 2022-08-29
Rated 3 out of 5 by from A celebration, not a hard-eyed analysis. This program is very much a celebration of Churchill, not a balanced analysis of the man and his story. The presenter all but announces at the beginning of the program the endlessly positive viewpoint that would be brought to the listener and viewer. To be fair, Churchill's life was so full of happenings, actions and historical impacts that 12 lectures are far too few to permit a meaningful analysis; 36 at least, perhaps even 48, would be much more appropriate to the task. All that said, the presentation is enjoyable, and perhaps best serves as a first step to a much more vigorous study of Churchill and the history with which he was involved, both by chance and by choice.
Date published: 2022-07-28
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Very Well Taught A great man given a very thoughtful and interesting treatment by Professor Fears. I highly recommend this course.
Date published: 2022-06-18
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Hats off to Rufus Fears! Professor Fears is spellbinding. He is an orator who mesmerizes. Sometimes we sensed the smell of cigar smoke wafting thru the room as we heard anecdotes about Winston Churchill. This course if nothing else is great fun.
Date published: 2022-06-15
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Who exactly was Winston Churchill? How did he rally the British during World War II? And what legacy did he leave for Western civilization? In Churchill, get the answers to these and other powerful questions as you follow the life of this iconic politician. View Churchill as a resourceful soldier, military strategist, gifted orator, doting father, devoted public servant, and winner of the Nobel Prize for literature. These illuminating lectures are delivered by award-winning Professor J. Rufus Fears. With his amazing gift for storytelling, he shows you why Churchill ranks with Abraham Lincoln and Pericles as one of history's greatest statesmen.


J. Rufus Fears

We are no wiser than the Athenians of the 5th century B.C., no wiser than Sophocles for our science of today has shown us the overwhelming power of genes, of DNA.


University of Oklahoma

Dr. J. Rufus Fears was David Ross Boyd Professor of Classics at the University of Oklahoma, where he held the G. T. and Libby Blankenship Chair in the History of Liberty. He also served as David and Ann Brown Distinguished Fellow of the Oklahoma Council of Public Affairs. He earned his Ph.D. from Harvard University. Before joining the faculty at the University of Oklahoma, Professor Fears was Professor of History and Distinguished Faculty Research Lecturer at Indiana University, and Professor of Classical Studies at Boston University. An acclaimed teacher and scholar with more than 25 awards for teaching excellence, Professor Fears was chosen Professor of the Year on three occasions by students at the University of Oklahoma. His other accolades included the Medal for Excellence in College and University Teaching from the Oklahoma Foundation for Excellence, the University Continuing Education Association (UCEA) Great Plains Region Award for Excellence in Teaching, and the UCEA's National Award for Teaching Excellence. Professor Fears's books and monographs include The Cult of Jupiter and Roman Imperial Ideology and The Theology of Victory at Rome. He edited a three-volume edition of Selected Writings of Lord Acton. His discussions of the Great Books have appeared in newspapers across the country and have aired on national television and radio programs. Professor Fears passed away in October 2012.

By This Professor

The World Was Never the Same: Events That Changed History
The Wisdom of History
Books That Have Made History: Books That Can Change Your Life
Life Lessons from the Great Myths
Heritage and Destiny

01: Heritage and Destiny

On June 4, 1940, Winston Churchill spoke to Parliament, rallying a nation during the darkest days of history's most awful war. To see what brought him there, we must begin, as he would have, with the legacy of heroism and public service he received from his ancestors, above all the great First Duke of Marlborough.

33 min
Young Churchill

02: Young Churchill

Despite his high birth, the "troublesome boy" Winston showed scant promise of greatness. His school career was uneven; his parents distant, even harsh. Yet as he later noted, "the solitary tree, if it grows at all, grows to be strong and sturdy." His own blossoming began at Sandhurst, Britain's Royal Military Academy.

31 min
On the Empire’s Frontier

03: On the Empire’s Frontier

Churchill began manhood as a soldier of the British Empire, which he would always see as a force for good. His service was noted for its "valour, courage, and resolute spirit," and he wrote successfully and well of his perilous experiences in Afghanistan and Africa.

30 min
Political Beginnings

04: Political Beginnings

Churchill burned with a strong sense of ambition and family honor. Already a war hero and author, he won a seat in Parliament at 26 (his second try) as a voice for "Tory democracy." He would be a top Cabinet minister by 34, and First Lord of the Admiralty by 37.

31 min
Churchill and Controversy

05: Churchill and Controversy

Mediocrity distrusts genius. Such distrust contributed to Churchill's fall from the Cabinet after the failure of the Dardanelles campaign. His own response to adversity revealed the nobility of spirit that enabled him not only to survive, but to triumph.

30 min
Post-War Challenges

06: Post-War Challenges

Returning to the Cabinet as Minister of Munitions - testament to his organizing skills and "can-do spirit", Churchill pioneered a new weapon code-named the "tank;" becoming a founding father of modern armored warfare and paving the way for victory on the Western Front.

31 min
In the Wilderness

07: In the Wilderness

Churchill returned to the Tory party and the Cabinet in the 1920s. By decade's end, he would resign over India. There followed years of political exile lightened by his warm family life and copious, brilliant literary output.

31 min
The Nazi Menace

08: The Nazi Menace

For most of the 1930s, Churchill was widely considered washed-up and out of touch. Undaunted, he stood nearly alone as he persistently and eloquently made the case for British rearmament and resistance to Nazi aggrandizement.

31 min
Rallying the Nation

09: Rallying the Nation

Why did Churchill, at last named Prime Minister during the stern days of May 1940, feel that all his life had been but a preparation for this hour and this trial? How did he resist pressures to negotiate for peace with Hitler, and instead rally his fellow Britons to meet "their finest hour?"

31 min
The Tide of War Turns

10: The Tide of War Turns

In a war of powerful leaders, Churchill proved to be the supreme strategist. What were the skills and experiences that made him so successful? How did he meet the numerous and awful challenges with which the burden of wartime leadership confronted him?

31 min
Champion of Freedom

11: Champion of Freedom

In 1945, Churchill was determined that freedom's victory not be squandered as it had been in 1918. With the war barely won, voters gave him "the Order of the Boot." In his last years his health failed but his judgments remained astute (even prophetic) and his principles shone undimmed.

31 min
The Legacy of Churchill

12: The Legacy of Churchill

In what does Churchill's greatness ultimately consist? What did he understand by liberty and democracy? What role did he see for government? Where did he learn his principles, and how did he uphold them so unswervingly over a political life of more than 50 tumultuous years?

31 min

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