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The Last Lion: Winston Spencer Churchill, Alone 1932-1940 Hardcover – October 28, 1988
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“Memorable.”—San Francisco Chronicle
“Stirring . . . As Manchester points out several times, it’s as if the age, having produced a Hitler, then summoned Churchill as the only figure equal to the task of vanquishing him. The years Alone are the pivotal years of Churchill’s career.”—The Boston Sunday Globe
“The best Churchill biography [for] this generation . . . Even readers who know the basic story will find much that is new.”—Newsweek
“A triumph . . . equal in stature to the first volume of the series.”—Newsday
“Vivid . . . history in the grand manner.”—The Washington Post
“Compelling reading.”—The Times (London) --This text refers to the Paperback edition.
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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.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 23 days ago by Frank M. St John
excellent overall history of his life in the context of his times Reads like a novelPublished 28 days 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