The long-awaited final volume of William Manchester's legendary biography of Winston Churchill.
Spanning the years of 1940-1965, The Last Lion picks up shortly after Winston Churchill became Prime Minister-when his tiny island nation stood alone against the overwhelming might of Nazi Germany. The Churchill conjured up by William Manchester and Paul Reid is a man of indomitable courage, lightning-fast intellect, and an irresistible will to action.
The Last Lion brilliantly recounts how Churchill organized his nation's military response and defense, compelled FDR into supporting America's beleaguered cousins, and personified the "never surrender" ethos that helped the Allies win the war, while at the same time adapting himself and his country to the inevitable shift of world power from the British Empire to the United States.
More than twenty years in the making, The Last Lion presents a revelatory and unparalleled portrait of this brilliant, flawed, and dynamic leader. This is popular history at its most stirring.
Before his death in 2004, an ill Manchester asked former Cox newspapers journalist Reid to take his research notes and finish writing the final volume of his trilogy. The long-delayed majestic account of Winston Churchill's last 25 years is worth the wait. Sixty-five when he became Britain's prime minister in 1940, Churchill remained a Victorian aristocrat, self-indulgent, coddled by servants. Yet his vitality, charisma, and self-assurance made him a perfect leader in a crisis. During his first year, when Britain fought Nazi Germany alone, Churchill, say the authors, may have saved civilization. Once the U.S.S.R. and U.S. joined, Britain's role declined but not Churchill's energy. While FDR left war to his generals, Churchill poured out ideas, many of them imaginative failures (the bloody landing at Anzio) or simply bad (early opposition to invading France). Despite Churchill's unparalleled popularity, his Conservative party was defeated in July 1945. Though devastated, Churchill remained the party leader, returning to office in 1951 to preside over a declining empire and escalating cold war until a repeatedly postponed retirement in 1955. 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. 32 pages of b&w photos, 6 maps.
I'd been searching for a biography of Churchill and happened across The Last Lion... It proved to be a fortuitous discovery ~ this is a very well done biography and a fascinating work. I recommend it most enthusiastically!
Excellent book. The writing style is not exactly the same as in the first two books in the series. Actually easier to read in that there is not as much of the laboring detail that went into the other books.
Still a wonderful read.
We have been waiting for a long time for the finish. Thank you Paul (Reid) for the completion.
Shearbash Jan. 2013
Worth every penny.