EconTalk host Russ Roberts welcomed historian Thomas Ricks to the program to discuss his new book, Churchill and Orwell: The Fight for Freedom. While these two figures might not seem to have much in common at first glance, Ricks persuades otherwise, and that both played an important role in the post-War preservation of individual liberty. Ricks initially saw Orwell as a “left-wing parallel” to his hero, Winston Churchill, but he soon discovered they had much more in common than he had thought. How much do you think the two share?

1. Why does Ricks place such emphasis on “facts” and “truth” in his comparison of these two icons? How does he think they connect the two, and how does this shape his view of the political landscape today?
2. How did Churchill address class issues in World War 2, and how does Ricks believe this contributed to his success?

3. Ricks notes that Orwell never visited America, and saw only a uniquely British version of capitalism. How might the story of 1984 have been different had Orwell known more of America?

4. Which figure do you think will be more remembered in the future, Orwell or Churchill, and why?

5. Why is Orwell’s 1984 not a “historical relic” today? What makes it timeless? What did Orwell not see in his novel that we see today?