- Paperback: 992 pages
- Publisher: Bantam; Reissue edition (April 1, 1984)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0385313489
- ISBN-13: 978-0385313483
- Product Dimensions: 5.4 x 2.1 x 8.2 inches
- Shipping Weight: 1.5 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 1,495 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #36,642 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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The Last Lion: Winston Spencer Churchill: Visions of Glory, 1874-1932 Paperback – April 1, 1984
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“Absolutely magnificent . . . a delight to read . . . one of those books you devour line by line and word by word and finally hate to see end.”—Russell Baker
“Manchester has read further, thought harder, and told with considerable verve what is mesmerizing in [Churchill’s] drama. . . . One cannot do better than this book.”—The Philadelphia Inquirer
“An altogether absorbing popular biography . . . The heroic Churchill is in these pages, but so is the little boy writing forlorn letters to the father who all but ignored him.”—People
“Superb . . . [Manchester] pulls together the multitudinous facets of one of the richest lives ever to be chronicled. . . . Churchill and Manchester were clearly made for each other.”—Chicago Tribune
“A vivid, thoroughly detailed biography of the Winston Churchill nobody knows.”—Boston Herald
“Adds a grand dimension . . . rich in historical and social contexts.”—Time
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13 1.5-hour cassettes --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
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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. If the later parts of the book don't quite keep the same level of excitement, neither do the events they recount.
My only complaint is the ending: really, the book just stops. Read the end of volume II: I would have expected Manchester himself to end with a climactic summary, perhaps returning to his major insight from the start: the central significance of Churchill in history is that he was a product of the late nineteenth century who was able to bring the virtues of the era of his formative years to life again at a time when they were needed, and when the British people were not yet too far from them. Actually, I do have one other complaint, and it's with the publisher: the dust jacket doesn't match the first edition dust jackets of the first two volumes. Doesn't look as good on the shelf as I would have liked.
All in all, this is a worthy final volume. Manchester himself would be proud, and there can be no doubt that this trilogy would be Churchill's favourite biography. Highly recommended, to fans of the first two volumes and newcomers alike.
The book is about more than Churchill who was really a 19th century gentleman in the 20th century trying to keep the British Empire intact. The writing was on the wall when Churchill saw himself lose influence as the two super powers emerged from WWII – the Soviet Union and the USA. I actually felt sorry for him! I also hated him for his myopic view of “brown” people and how they compared to Englishmen but his thoughts and ideas were quite understandable from reading the first two volumes. Was he a great man – he certainly was. Was he flawed – of course – what great man isn’t? The three volumes made learning about Churchill the man who steered, encouraged, and held the mantle for the people and government of England a total delight to read. This third volume was not written by William Manchester and does not have his enjoyable and delightful style of writing but it does hold its own and does a fine job of completing the history of WSC. I cannot recommend this enough for anyone who likes to read, wants the details (e.g. comments from others in their diaries on their feelings about Churchill) augmented by information about the wars and other historical information that took place throughout the life span of the man.