George Orwell And Winston Churchill? ‘Churchill & Orwell: The Fight For Freedom,’ By Thomas E. Ricks [Opinion]

George Orwell and Winston Churchill, at first glance, have little in common, but Thomas E. Ricks conveys a powerful and timely message with these two great British men. Churchill & Orwell: The Fight for Freedom is a study in human freedom and the methods of those who fight for it.

Thomas Ricks conveys his thesis early in the first chapter of Churchill & Orwell: The Fight for Freedom, which is now available on Amazon.

“Despite all their differences, their dominant priority, a commitment to human freedom, gave them a common cause. And they were indeed vastly dissimilar men, with very different life trajectories.”

George Orwell and Winston Churchill on the surface had little in common, insists Thomas E. Ricks in Churchill & Orwell: The Fight for Freedom. Other than roughly sharing the same point in history. The World War II era pitted at least three seemingly conflicting ideologies, communism, fascism, and capitalism, against each other. The overarching theme, however, was the threat of oppressive totalitarianism, at least in the eyes of George and Winston.

With Churchill & Orwell: The Fight for Freedom, Thomas E. Ricks reminds readers that Winston Churchill was a robust British political leader with a gregarious persona and a powerful speaking voice. George Orwell was a shy, quiet man but also a writer brave enough to venture out to the battlefield of the Spanish Civil War. George was a war correspondent, and so was Winston Churchill in the Boer War. Meanwhile, Thomas E. Ricks was a correspondent during the Iraq war.

Three young men, young at different times, were impacted in much the same way through their early war experiences.

In Churchill & Orwell: The Fight for Freedom, Thomas E. Ricks postulates that George Orwell and Winston Churchill were guided by the “core principles of liberal democracy: freedom of thought, speech, and association.”

Although Winston Churchill never met George Orwell, Winston Churchill went on record that he had read George Orwell’s book 1984 twice. George named Winston Churchill his hero in his book as well. The George and Winston were mutually influenced by one another in a time of strongly competing ideologies.

In Churchill & Orwell: The Fight for Freedom, Thomas E. Ricks presents the idea that George Orwell and Winston Churchill were united powerfully in their fight for the individual freedoms in a world of powerful states and a rising tide of state murders.

George Orwell, according to Thomas E. Ricks, had one “core theme” that doggedly followed him in all his writings: “the abuse of power.” George Orwell experienced that abuse while being brought up in boarding schools from the time George was 8 and being beaten with a riding crop until the handle broke. This plight was in no small part due to the fact young Orwell was an impoverished child attending an exclusive school on academic scholarship.

In Churchill & Orwell: The Fight for Freedom, Thomas E. Ricks points out that George Orwell realized “the richer students were never beaten, no matter how they behaved.”

“It was the poor but ‘clever’ boys who suffered. Our brains were a gold-mine in which he [the headmaster] had sunk money, and the dividends must be squeezed out of us.”

Winston Churchill had a completely different experience, one in which he was probably never truly beaten and lived his life undefeated. Meanwhile, George Orwell found his young life a truly oppressive nightmare where he was forced to excel academically.

Young Winston Churchill was not an avid student. Only as an adult did Winston Churchill become interested in self-educating himself. Neither George Orwell nor Winston Churchill attended a formal university, but both were lifelong and largely self-taught adult students.

Winston Churchill believed in the possibility of success. Winston Churchill is quoted by Goodreads.

“Success is not final, failure is not fatal: it is the courage to continue that counts.”

George Orwell had a bleak outlook, as illustrated by this quote from the Anti-Media.

“In real life, it is always the anvil that breaks the hammer…”

Churchill & Orwell: The Fight for Freedom by Thomas E. Ricks is a thought-provoking study of two men devoted to such ideals as freedom, truth, and an end to social and political oppression.

Winston Churchill, a wealthy man of privilege, was thrust into the center of the world stage to confront the great conflicts of World War II with all its varying ideologies head on.

George Orwell, a writer of humble beginnings, felt the sting of the quite literal oppressive whip from the age of 8. His one and only advantage — his education — was paid for with pain and suffering. Orwell struck out at human oppression with all that he had, penning a book that is still relevant today.

Churchill & Orwell: The Fight for Freedom by Thomas E. Ricks is a thought-provoking narrative and a must read in 2017. Perhaps it contains clues to answers to the problems facing the world. Further study of Winston Churchill and George Orwell may also help, especially if their two views are balanced.

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Both Winston Churchill and George Orwell came to many of the same conclusions, including the importance of truth. Winston and George have said a lot about truth and lies.

Winston Churchill is quoted by Goodreads as follows.

“A lie gets halfway around the world before the truth has a chance to get its pants on.”

George Orwell is quoted by the Anti-Media as saying, “The very concept of objective truth is fading out of the world. Lies will pass into history.”

While Winston Churchill powerfully impacted the world in his own time, George Orwell created his own time bomb when the title of his book 1984, became the actual year on the calendar. Everyone read 1984 in 1984, and many shrugged.

It wasn’t really like that yet in 1984, in the United States and Europe, but increasingly in the 21st century, technology and society are approaching a time like that perhaps, according to Anti-Media, which cited George Orwell’s own words to prove the importance of 1984.

“Threats to freedom of speech, writing and action, though often trivial in isolation, are cumulative in their effect and, unless checked, lead to a general disrespect for the rights of the citizen.”

Winston Churchill who once secured the free world advised optimism in the face of adversity.

“A pessimist sees the difficulty in every opportunity; an optimist sees the opportunity in every difficulty.”

Churchill & Orwell: The Fight for Freedom by Thomas E. Ricks is not only a historical account about George Orwell and Winston Churchill, it is a statement about the perpetual struggle for freedom in the modern world. As George Orwell pointed out, there will always be opposition against those who take a stand.

“A pessimist sees the difficulty in every opportunity; an optimist sees the opportunity in every difficulty.”

George Orwell stated his thoughts about the future rather grimly, however.

“If you want a picture of the future, imagine a boot stamping on a human face—forever.”

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Churchill & Orwell: The Fight for Freedom by Thomas E. Ricks is a fascinating look at two men, with opposite personas, viewing perhaps the same vision of a dangerously oppressive future. The odds stacked against humanity, Winston Churchill urges readers not to give up, but George Orwell emphasized the perpetual nature of the struggle. 1984 isn’t about one man, one party, or one country.

Instead, it is about the darker more oppressive side of every society, whether communist, fascist, or capitalist. It is about power and the consequences of not having freedom.

Winston Churchill and George Orwell, as explained by Thomas E. Ricks had much to say about the price of preserving individual freedom.

[Featured Image by Bed Bryant/Shutter Stock and File/AP Images]