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The Last Lion: Winston Spencer Churchill: Defender of the Realm, 1940-1965 Hardcover – November 6, 2012
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"Masterful.... It was worth the wait.... The collaboration completes the Churchill portrait in a seamless manner, combining the detailed research, sharp analysis and sparkling prose that readers of the first two volumes have come to expect."―Associated Press
"Mr. Reid...following Manchester's lead,...dutifully includes both the admiring and disparaging remarks of Churchill's colleagues and contemporaries, presenting everyone's take with equanimity."―Wall Street Journal
"This book is superb. It has tremendous pace, rich detail and immense drama."―Washington Post
"Reid has produced a third Last Lion...that is both magisterial and humane. Cue the trumpets."―Vanity Fair
"It's a must-read finale for those who loved Manchester's first two books."―USA Today
"The final volume of Manchester's life of Winston Churchill is majestic and inspiring."―People
"Masterful... [and] breathtaking....Reid...finished the race with agility, grace, and skill....This is a book that is brilliant and beautiful, evocative and enervating."―Boston Globe
"Reid has produced a volume about the climax of Churchill's career which ably captures the fullness of the story.... Reid's narrative...is straightforward, well written, and compelling."―Steven F. Hayward, The Weekly Standard
"The long-delayed majestic account of Winston Churchill's last 25 years is worth the wait....Manchester (and Reid) matches the outstanding quality of biographers such as Robert Caro and Edmund Morris, joining this elite bank of writers who devote their lives to one subject."―Publishers Weekly
"Those who want a detailed account of Churchill's two terms as prime minister and leadership during World War II will find this book a literary feast.....It's a worthy finale to an exhaustive portrait of one of the last century's true titans."―Washington Times
"This is surely the best installment of the [series]....Reid has written a winning, full-blooded biography."―Newsday
"Reid has written a thorough and complete analysis of these years, and it is a worthy finale to the first two volumes."―Terry Hartle, Christian Science Monitor
"Reid learned well from Manchester, and the finished book is a worthy conclusion to what must be considered one of the most thorough treatments of Churchill so far produced. An essential conclusion to Manchester's magnum opus."―Library Journal (starred review)
"A distinguished contribution to Churchilliana, giving a lively, fully rounded account that maintains its balance even while it sustains an admiring legend of the great man."―Michael Marrus, Globe and Mail
"[Reid] keeps the 1,000-plus pages turning....[he] has heeded the words of his subject, and brought the decades-long project begun by his mentor to a dignified conclusion."―Dan DeLuca, Philadelphia Inquirer
"Reid completes William Manchester's work in excellent, memorable fashion."―Emmett Tyrrell, American Spectator
"The third and final volume of a massive work of biography is a tribute not only to Manchester but also to Reid, whose courage in accepting the job is matched by his success in telling the story."―Richmond Times-Dispatch
"Critics and Churchill fans are calling it a terrific effort that was worth the wait."―Cleveland Plain-Dealer
"Churchill was the greatest man of the last century and this is the greatest biography of him."―John Lescroart, The Sacramento Bee
"[Reid] turned in a book that is well worth the wait. A large part of Manchester's popularity is the accessibility of his books. Reid has preserved that and ensured that Churchill's personality-not just his actions-come through."―Charlotte Observer
"[An] in-depth narrative that nicely conveys the challenges facing Churchill....Impressive."―Bloomberg Businessweek
"Defender of the Realm is a worthy addition to the set... This accomplishment elevates Reid to a high rank among American writers of biography and history - and makes him a literary asset for North Carolina."―Doug Clark, Greensboro News and Record
"Readers...will be taken by [Manchester's] boundless abilities as a storyteller."―Kirkus Reviews
"Reid's got the research right, down to the day, down to the minute...As Reid chronicles Churchill's private aspects-his wittiness, sybaritic consumption of scotch and cigars, and moods bordering on depression...Manchester was one of the best Churchill biographers, and this capstone to his magnum opus ought not to be missed."―Booklist
"Magnificently delineated....The story of Churchill and Britain in the Second World War...is vividly evoked by Manchester and Reid."―Winnipeg Free Press
"This is a big, rich savory stew of a book...deeply satisfying for those who have waited too long to be told-again-how The Last Lion finally ends."―MacKenzie Carpenter, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette
"True, Defender of the Realm is a big book. But Winston Churchill was a big man. Read all about him."―St. Louis Post-Dispatch
"Reid masters the details and sweep of an extraordinary story."―Minneapolis Star-Tribune
"This biography has the dramatic punch of a great novel."―Newark Sunday Star Ledger
"This book brilliantly recounts how Churchill organized his nation's military response and defense."―Ernie Arico, The Daytona Beach News-Journal
"This book reminds us to remember...[Churchill's] iron will and ability to focus."―Bob Schieffer, CBS's Face the Nation
"The third and final volume...presents a revelatory and unparalleled portrait of a brilliant, flawed and dynamic leader."―Betsy Teter, Tryon Herald-Journal
"Of five notable books about Churchill in recent years, the most remarkable is William Manchester and Paul Reid's Defender of the Realm."―Dennie Hall, The Oklahoman
"[A] wonderful literary work."―Bill Marriott, Huffington Post
Top Customer Reviews
Years later, I read the first two volumes almost in one sitting - couldn't put them down - and have reread large parts of them over the years (every time I looked some piece up I'd find myself sitting down for an hour or two because I couldn't stop). I remember when Finest Hour reported that the trilogy would never be finished: it was like a punch in the stomach.
I had my doubts about the ability of another author to write worthily of Manchester, and I was afraid this volume wouldn't measure up. No need to worry: this is every bit as much a page-turner as the last two volumes. It's not QUITE Manchester - I thought I could feel a bit of a difference in style, somehow - and yet it IS extremely good, much better than I had expected.
Like the first two volumes, we begin with a preamble ("The Lion Hunted") in which we are (re-)acquainted with the book's subject. There is a certain amount of repetition of material from the two earlier preambles, but much good new material as well. I've read thousands of pages on Churchill, but even I found some good new anecdotes and quotations here. After that we're hurled right into the middle of the most dramatic days of World War Two. The unexpected, catastrophic defeats; the incompetence and perfidy of the people in charge of France - it doesn't take much from a writer to make this an exciting story, and yet I don't think it has ever been told better than this. Really, just what I had hoped for from Manchester himself.Read more ›
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.
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.Read more ›
The result of Manchester's and Reid's efforts is a detailed, dense study of 1200 pages. The book offers a thorough, multi-faceted look at the complex statesman that was Winston Churchill, in his determination, devotion to Great Britain and to civilization, brilliance, and frequent pettiness. Because Churchill's personal life was inextricably intertwined with his public life, this book goes far beyond biography. It is a masterful political and military history of the WW II years and, to a lesser extent, of the years following.
Churchill the man is most in focus in the 50-page "Preamble" to the book.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Not Manchester, not even Manchester-lite. But good enough.
This 3 volume biography needed to be finished. It is. Read more
This first volume of William Manchester's Churchill biography is so beautifully written it took me quite a short time to read. Read morePublished 26 days ago by Frank M. St John
excellent overall history of his life in the context of his times Reads like a novelPublished 1 month ago by Terri Coonrad-Hershkowitz
This book is wonderful and the beginning does a wonderful job setting the scene for Churchill's world.Published 1 month ago by joan m carey
Great read. Able to pick it up and put it down without missing a beat.Published 1 month ago by ledlow bushmat