• Henry ‘Chips’ Channon: The Diaries (Volume 1)

  • 1918-38
  • By: Chips Channon
  • Narrated by: Tom Ward
  • Length: 39 hrs and 13 mins
  • 4.9 out of 5 stars (37 ratings)

1 title per month from Audible’s entire catalog of best sellers, and new releases.
Access a growing selection of included Audible Originals, audiobooks and podcasts.
You will get an email reminder before your trial ends.
Your Premium Plus plan is $14.95 a month after 30 day trial. Cancel anytime.
Henry ‘Chips’ Channon: The Diaries (Volume 1)  By  cover art

Henry ‘Chips’ Channon: The Diaries (Volume 1)

By: Chips Channon
Narrated by: Tom Ward
Try for $0.00

$14.95/month after 30 days. Cancel anytime.

Buy for $34.90

Buy for $34.90

Pay using card ending in
By confirming your purchase, you agree to Audible's Conditions of Use and Amazon's Privacy Notice. Taxes where applicable.

Publisher's Summary

Brought to you by Penguin.

Born in Chicago in 1897, 'Chips' Channon settled in England after the Great War, married into the immensely wealthy Guinness family and served as Conservative MP for Southend-on-Sea from 1935 until his death in 1958. His career was unremarkable. His diaries are quite the opposite. Elegant, gossipy and bitchy by turns, they are the unfettered observations of a man who went everywhere and who knew everybody. Whether describing the antics of London society in the interwar years, or the growing scandal surrounding his close friends Edward VIII and Wallis Simpson during the abdication crisis, or the mood in the House of Commons in the lead-up to the Munich crisis, his sense of drama and his eye for the telling detail are unmatched. These are diaries that bring a whole epoch vividly to life.

A heavily abridged and censored edition of the diaries was published in 1967. Only now, 60 years after Chips' death, can the text be shared in all its glory.

©2021 Chips Channon (P)2021 Penguin Audio

What listeners say about Henry ‘Chips’ Channon: The Diaries (Volume 1)

Average Customer Ratings
Overall
  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • 5 Stars
    33
  • 4 Stars
    3
  • 3 Stars
    1
  • 2 Stars
    0
  • 1 Stars
    0
Performance
  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • 5 Stars
    29
  • 4 Stars
    5
  • 3 Stars
    0
  • 2 Stars
    0
  • 1 Stars
    0
Story
  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • 5 Stars
    29
  • 4 Stars
    4
  • 3 Stars
    0
  • 2 Stars
    0
  • 1 Stars
    1

Reviews - Please select the tabs below to change the source of reviews.

Sort by:
Filter by:
  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

Diary of a man on the Wrong Side of History

An fascinating glimpse into the 1920s-1930s Great Britain by a man who supported a King who abdicated & a Prime Minister who has gone down in history as a great & unsuccessful appeaser. The narrator—where good audiobooks often go bad—is brilliant both as narrator & occasional actor. Channon has been well served.

4 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

Brilliant book. Brilliant narrator.

Loathesome man, brilliant diarist. A fly on the wall for so many world shattering events. I could not stop listening to them and have promptly purchased Vol 2 of Chips’ diaries. Exceptionally well narrated.

3 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    1 out of 5 stars

Ingrate

His USA disdain is returned tenfold. Spoiled, bratty, queer leach. How Britain put up with him is unreal. Definitely a legend in his own mind… today’s society much better without this turd of a human.

Sort by:
Filter by:
  • Overall
    1 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    1 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
Profile Image for John Adamson
  • John Adamson
  • 04-08-21

Wholly inappropriate choice of reader

These diaries fizz with humour, insight, malice, and charm, and depict a social elite in which accent and the inflection of language were intimately bound up with its sense of identity and the stratagems it employed to keep outsiders at bay. Poor Tom Ward has a voice that is so dull, joyless, and pedestrian that he sounds like a slightly concussed Rugby prop forward; and his curiously hybrid accent - part mid-Atlantic, part Middle England, with the occasional weird dash of Scots - is about as unsuited to the presentation of the fastidiously self-invented-patrician Channon as can be imagined. Ward presents these diaries as though he were reading a stock-exchange report. My recommendation is to stick to the printed version, and hope that a different reader is employed for Volumes II and III.

22 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
Profile Image for Ovekat
  • Ovekat
  • 05-13-21

Superb Narration

"Chips" Channon was fortunate to move in influential circles during a critical period in British history, from the end of WW1 through the Edward VIII abdication to the eve of WW2. We are fortunate that he kept a detailed, inciteful and absorbing series of diaries that are brutal in their honesty and self deprecation.
He was fortunate to come from a wealthy family and then marry a Guinness heiress and that gave him entree into a social and political class that makes his diaries so fascinating. These unexpurgated diaries are well worth the wait and he deals in detail with political heavyweights such as Churchill, Baldwin, Chamberlain, Edward VIII and many others whom he had intimate knowledge of. "Chips" does not seek to minimise his own amoral sexuality or his increasingly disintigrating marriage.
On the subject of the narration, I really cannot understand the minimal criticism. I found Tom Ward to have the perfect voice, pacing and tone for a British listener and such a relief to hear such a well modulated narration.

10 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
Profile Image for Mighty Joe
  • Mighty Joe
  • 04-17-21

I stuck with it and really liked it

The narration seemed a little odd at first and not very relaxing. However the content is so revealing and intimate that it is a worthy listen overall. This is an inside story of between the wars aristocracy that lifts the lid on the superficial others. Chips’ contemporaneous comments are thought provoking and better than hindsight. Highly recommended for anyone interested in the period covered. Where else will you find pen portraits of so many people of the times? Go for it!
Kenneth.

6 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    3 out of 5 stars
Profile Image for Stephen Bentley
  • Stephen Bentley
  • 11-10-21

Brideshead Wasn't Visited

Sir Henry (Chips) Channon was a USA born multi (as Nancy Mitford used to say) from Chicago. Anybody who was anybody went to his parties and just in case he was missing anything he went to "everybody" elses. That all, or most, of these parties were held in order to meet "someone" who "everybody" had met last week doesn't help. In some respects the most interesting material in this weighty tome are the footnotes - which sadly one does not get to hear. There are some great set pieces, state funerals, coronations (George VI, I think) and the whole abdication nonsense. Though to my surprise he very quickly goes off the boil about the Duke of Windsor - I'd have thought he would be a great fan, but he isn't. Quite caustic in fact, almost as unimpressed by him as Sir Alan Lascelles and that's pre abdication. He does like Wallis though. That he is supremely unconscious of his frantic scramble to make sure that King George VI and Queen Elizabeth don't freeze him out of high society is very funny. Creepy crawling round the Duke & Duchess of Kent is also very funny. He is very silly. Though also very well read, much more so than you would expect from wading through this vast compendium of pre war "Jennifer's Diaries". Mrs Betty Kenward was obviously influenced by him - his copy (like hers) is sometimes "I went to a delightful cocktail party for ......... at. Present were ........ Noel Coward nailed it with "I've been to a marvellous party, with Nu-Nu and Nada and Nell"

Some of the people he hero worships (Lord Curzon in particular) came across to me as utter arseholes, as Channon himself does at times. He was gay, or bi, and one assumes having a raging affair with Viscount Gage for a substantial chunk of this volume. This was illegal and if discovered he would have been socially ruined. That this same Viscount Gage was engaged in lukewarm pursuit of a certain Lady Elizabeth Bowes-Lyon at around the same time does give pause for thought. The future Prince Regent of Yugoslavia was also a fly in the ointment - but he's not mentioned as obsessively as Viscount Gage. There is a huge amount of social - as in high society - history and gossip here but I'm not struck by Channon's writing style and excellent though the performance of the reader is it's a huge effort not to be sidetracked by the ironing. As a historical document what does surprise me is the extent to which High Society/The Court/The Season was still a place of serious politics - right up to the Second World War. My innocence.

4 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
Profile Image for Grumpy Squid
  • Grumpy Squid
  • 06-05-21

A Socialist Primer

This is a must read book for socialists and for those who have any lingering respect for the aristocracy and the royal family. For Socialists it will confirm the idea that it is truly absurd to imagine that the elite are there because of any personal merit. For those who might admire the aristocracy and the royal family there is plenty to show just how trivial and ridiculous they are.

The real value of the book is in its demonstration of how and why some of the British elite were seduced by Nazi ideology. It brings you up short to find someone who hates Winston Churchill with a vengeance.

The diaries are very revealing about the relationship between Edward VIII and Mrs Simpson who, I came to think on the basis what Chip’s said, to be a remarkable adventurousness.

Of course Chips doesn't say anything to his own detriment, indeed he is a man who seems incapable of introspection, but despite that I did find myself liking him in the end and would listen to the next volume. Of course he is in many respects completely odious. An illustration of his self blindness is his astonishment that his wife would have an affair when he is bonking everything with a pulse. He concludes that his wife’s depression is because she has stopped having sex with him! Chips’ open anti-Semitism, mixed with his other prejudices, is disgusting.

There has been some discussion in the reviews about the narration and I think it is brilliantly done. The narrator has made what can sometimes seems much like a shopping list interesting and he does it very, very well, the result is kind of meditative.

4 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    2 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    1 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    3 out of 5 stars
Profile Image for MR RICHARD D BAGLEY
  • MR RICHARD D BAGLEY
  • 05-22-21

Self centred, self important & rather vulgar

A previous reviewer already described Channon as an odious man but one should add seriously judgmental and such a poor judge of character! A serious social climber afraid of work unless it involved partying and sniping at the expense of others. Poor narration, but maybe he just fed up with the constant repetition too!!

3 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars
Profile Image for Cassandra
  • Cassandra
  • 06-03-21

Chips on the shoulder...

Intriguing, maddening diaries. There’s no doubt Channon was a very good diarist - the entries buzz with anecdote, detail and opinion, much of the opinion wildly wrong headed; he’s a quite zealous appeaser and fan of both Hitler and Mussolini. He loathes socialism, presumably because it’s a threat to the way of life he has so assiduously wormed his way into. Very interesting insight into privilege and class and the workings of power ( even though Channon never as powerful as he he thinks he is) Tom Ward perfect narrator; captures the snobbish , ‘cultured’ tone, with the mid Atlantic accent reminding us that Chips is always a bit of an outsider looking in.

2 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    3 out of 5 stars
Profile Image for Angelcritique
  • Angelcritique
  • 11-02-21

Pinch of salt

Sadly I was upset by Mr. Channon's tales of his own doings and those of the upper eschalons... the not so great and the even less great during the early part of the 20th Century. Totally without moral compass. His predictions and forecasts have proved incorrect and his loyalties misplaced. The only redeeming accounts were those of his love for his son Paul and the sadness he felt by being rejected by his wife. I take all of his other viewpoints with a pinch of salt. The narrator does a pretty good job considering this is a weighty tome but numerous mispronunciations jar.

1 person found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
Profile Image for cashmere
  • cashmere
  • 10-11-22

Worth sticking with.

I'm glad I stuck with it. At first the narrator's voice was a little jarring but he grew on me! I think he became more English and sophisticated as Chips himself did. Very enjoyable.

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
Profile Image for martha gillett
  • martha gillett
  • 09-25-22

Chipps Channon memoir

Overall I enjoyed this memoir - it set the scene of the time and was particularly interesting around the time of the Munich crisis. Be aware however that Channon held some objectionable views which are voiced here and to our modern Sensibilities are shocking. He comes across as a self obsessed socialite although his genuine love for his son is touching.

Sort by:
Filter by:
  • Overall
    2 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    1 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    3 out of 5 stars
Profile Image for Fed Up
  • Fed Up
  • 11-21-21

If you must, read the book, don't listen to it!

I think the narrator hates Channon - as many people seem to have done. He reads the whole thing through gritted teeth and sounds like a pompous ass with his trilled Rs - and frequently mispronounced words ('Porgy' with a soft G, 'Genoa' with the accent on the second syllable). If you must, read these long-winded diaries, don't get the Audible version.

1 person found this helpful

  • Overall
    1 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    1 out of 5 stars
Profile Image for Dudley
  • Dudley
  • 02-19-22

Narcissism

What a sad, selfish boring life. Don't waste your time - I didn't finish the so-called diaries.

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    2 out of 5 stars
Profile Image for Patsyann348
  • Patsyann348
  • 12-31-21

An eye opener!

Anyone with a interest or who would like to know more of the English aristocracy’s attitude towards Hitler and the Nazi regime should watch the film “The Remans of the Day”.