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The Last Lion: Winston Spencer Churchill: Visions of Glory 1874-1932 Hardcover – May 30, 1983


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The Last Lion: Winston Spencer Churchill: Visions of Glory 1874-1932 + The Last Lion: Winston Spencer Churchill, Alone 1932-1940 + The Last Lion: Winston Spencer Churchill: Defender of the Realm, 1940-1965
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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 992 pages
  • Publisher: Little, Brown and Company; 1st edition (May 30, 1983)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0316545031
  • ISBN-13: 978-0316545037
  • Product Dimensions: 9.3 x 6.4 x 2.1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 2.6 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (211 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #67,534 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Review

"Bedazzling."—Newsweek

From the Publisher

15 1.5-hour cassettes --This text refers to the Audio Cassette edition.

More About the Author

William Manchester is Professor of History Emeritus at Wesleyan University. His bestselling books include The Last Lion, a multi-volume biography of Winston Churchill; American Caesar, a biography of Douglas MacArthur; The Death of a President, The Arms of Krupp, and A World Lit Only by Fire. He lives in Connecticut.

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#77 in Books > History
#77 in Books > History

Customer Reviews

I look forward reading the next volume in Manchester's trilogy.
Daniel Burton
Rather than write a narrative story of Winston Churchill's life, he has chosen instead to give us a rich tapestry of Chrchill's life as it was woven.
Glenn McDorman
It is a "must read" for anyone interested in the life of Winston Churchill; Highly recommended!
Mike Powers

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

161 of 166 people found the following review helpful By Glenn McDorman on September 28, 2002
Format: Hardcover
There are many good biographies out there, but a great one is rare. This is one of the great ones; William Manchester has taken the art of biography to a new level. Most biographies are merely "interesting," rarely making any effort to give the reader a sense of what it would have been like to be or know the subject. Manchester does just that. Rather than write a narrative story of Winston Churchill's life, he has chosen instead to give us a rich tapestry of Chrchill's life as it was woven. Many biographers are simply idolizers of their subjects; this is not so with Manchester. He reserves no harsh judgment, just as he reserves no due praise; when he is reporting something negative that Winston did he says it was negative, and explains why.
But The Last Lion is more than just a biography. In attempting to capture the essence of Churchill Manchester has written some of the best material about World War I and the appeasement crisis. It is rare that historical events can be made to feel like the present, but Manchester has done this.
Both volumes of this work are well worth your money, your time, and your attention. Indeed, the only bad part of Manchester's biography is that he will not be able to finish it. It is not known how much of the third volume he was able to put together before Alzheimer's made work impossible for him, but it can be hoped that whatever he was able to do will someday be published, no matter how unpolished it may be.
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77 of 77 people found the following review helpful By Mike Powers on April 30, 2000
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
"The Last Lion: Visions of Glory, 1874-1932," is the first of William Manchester's projected three-volume biography of Winston Spencer Churchill. I found it a superbly crafted, supremely well researched account of the first 58 years of the life of the 20th century's greatest statesman. With wit and candor, Manchester chronicles Churchill from his earliest days as the neglected and troublesome first child of Lord Randolph Churchill and his American-born wife, Jennie, to his entry into the political "wilderness" over home rule in India in 1932. Manchester's portrait of his subject is balanced and objective; we see Churchill at his finest: a courageous (almost to the point of foolhardiness) army officer, and later a gifted Member of Parliament who became one of the youngest Cabinet ministers in British history. We also see him at his worst: a Cabinet minister with appalling political judgment at times, quick to meddle in other ministers' affairs while neglecting his own, and with an uncanny ability to alienate not only his political foes, but almost all his political allies as well.

In addition to a wonderfully written chronology of Churchill's life, Manchester provides an overview of the times in which Churchill lived. I was fascinated by the author's account of Victorian England -- its culture, its mores, and its view of itself in the world. The sections which describe Churchill's times make highly entertaining and absorbing reading by themselves.

"The Last Lion: Visions of Glory, 1874-1932," clearly shows why William Manchester is one of the pre-eminent biographers at work today.
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59 of 59 people found the following review helpful By John F. Valinote on November 20, 2000
Format: Hardcover
It is hard to tell who is the larger hero -- Churchill or Manchester. Not because the historian is bigger than history, but rather because the historian has so captured history.
Churchill aficionados don't need to read heroic prose to be attracted to all that has been written about him. But for the rest of us, Manchester has strung together the words that truly capture the place Churchill created in world history.
This volume is the first in what was obviously intended as a trilogy. Unfortunately, we have yet to see the concluding book. I hope it makes it.
Here is a challenge. Pick up the book and read the first two pages. You will find yourselve with two major problems. First, about 2000 pages (volumes one and two) of reading that you will want to complete faster than you have time for. Worse, a dull ache of longing for the third volume that may never materialize.
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34 of 35 people found the following review helpful By A. Khosla on December 29, 2003
Format: Hardcover
Many lists say the best historical biography is "Disraeli" by Blake. This is better. Way better.
The only author that has ever kept me glued to a book as much as Manchester's is Michael Crichton. It's odd to compare a biography to Jurassic Park, but Manchester makes history come alive. He spends a lot of time and care setting the "culture" in a way that is not pedantic or boring (unlike some Civil War histories I've read!). And then he builds on Churchill's stories in a way that makes you feel like you're in Churchill's shoes, with the same issues and challenges.
Unfortunately, there is no Volume 3 about the war years. Manchester's illness prevented this. What a sad loss to history.
Read Vol 1 and 2. You won't regret it.
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32 of 33 people found the following review helpful By Patrick Ruffini on March 9, 2002
Format: Paperback
William Manchester's first Churchill volume is one of those books that makes you just love to read.
This clearly isn't a book for all those who are fascinated by the mediocre and skeptical of the possibilities for true greatness. This is an unreconstructed and unapologetic look at a leader whose instincts often cut against the grain of the 20th century, but who would emerge as one of the great heroes of it, just when extraordinary leadership was needed the most.
Manchester is the rare gifted writer who has mastered the biographical craft as well as the sweeping narrative needed to succinctly encapsulate the mores and habits of an entire nation at a particular moment in time. He does this brilliantly in his introduction, about one hundred pages long, which sets the stage with a lavish description of Victorian England. This is one of the best parts of the book.
Early on, it is clear that the ambitious young Winston is headed for big things. This wasn't only because he came from one of Britain's most prominent families -- his father rose to become the second most powerful man in the government, and his mother was romantically linked to the Prince of Wales. Despite this, Manchester convinces us, successfully, that Churchill was the best of his generation, that he would have risen even from less auspicious circumstances (admittedly, this interpretation has its limits, since entire social classes were excluded from Parliament at the time).
Churchill made his career as a political maverick, changing parties not once, but twice, consistently taking positions that brought him close to political death. Yet Churchill survived -- and what's more, he turned out to be one of the most enduring political presences any democracy has ever seen.
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