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The Last Lion: Winston Spencer Churchill: Defender of the Realm, 1940-1965 Hardcover – Nov 6 2012

4.8 out of 5 stars 148 customer reviews

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  • The Last Lion: Winston Spencer Churchill: Defender of the Realm, 1940-1965
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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 1232 pages
  • Publisher: Little, Brown and Company; 1 edition (Nov. 6 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0316547700
  • ISBN-13: 978-0316547703
  • Product Dimensions: 16.8 x 5.7 x 24.1 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 1.6 Kg
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars 148 customer reviews
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #80,193 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Product Description


"[Reid's] palpable enthusiasm at thinking about Churchill demonstrates once again...the grip this iconic figure can still exercise on the imagination....Reid...use[s] his journalist's eye to pick up on small details or points of color that illustrate a wider truth."―Richard Aldous, New York Times Book Review

"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 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 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

About the Author

William Manchester was a hugely successful popular historian and biographer whose books include The Last Lion, Volumes 1 and 2, Goodbye Darkness, A World Lit Only by Fire, The Glory and the Dream, The Arms of Krupp, American Caesar, The Death of the President, and assorted works of journalism.

Paul Reid is an award-winning journalist. In late 2003 his friend, William Manchester, in failing health, asked Paul to complete The Last Lion: Defender of the Realm. He lives in North Carolina.

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Customer Reviews

4.8 out of 5 stars
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Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Where to start? Simply speaking, "The Last Lion" is one of the five best book I've ever laid my eyes upon. Few man in history had the vision, courage, energy and will of Winston Churchill. Some would say that he was the savior of England during WW2, but make no mistake, he was the savior of the entire Western World.

The thing I appreciate the most when I begin a book is to learn something. Well, I learned plenty. I won't disclose what's in it, but "The Last Lion" is a treasure of fascinating facts. In essence, through the authors pens, the reader is treated with Britain's version of the second world war; the fight to repel the German invaders, the struggle to stay alive, the numerous attempts to drag the US into the conflict and so on. The reader will learn through Churchill that WW2 evolved mainly from political concerns and not from military interest. In fact most military decisions were subject to political objectives and NOT with the goal of destroying the Axis army as fast as possible.

With the war over, the Cold War started and another fascinating episode of Winston Churchill's life began...

In a Century that saw Teddy Rosevelt, JFK, Gandhi, Ronald Reagan, Gorbatchev and Castro, Winston Churchill stands above all.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Paul Reid's completion of the late William Manchester's Churchill biography surpasses the first two volumes, as good as they were. This work is so incisive that it is like discovering the familiar ground for the first time. Reid's delineation of the main characters strengths and faults is superb. Churchill, Roosevelt, Stalin, Montgomery, Ike, Alan Brooke, Harry Hopkins and a host of others spring to life in way that I have not encountered in other works on the Second World War. For me, there was not a page that did not hold interest; the book is compulsively readable. Highly recommended.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This SUPERB book covers the story of Winston Churchill from his becoming Prime Minister in 1940 to his death in 1965. It is brilliantly researched and written and highlights the vicissitudes that he faced, not only to bring Britain through the war, the lone bastion against the monumental horrors of Hitler's Nazi morass, but also in the post WWII world where--if HIS views had been acted upon many of the current-day problems would not exist. Other historical figures are examined, with perhaps the worst being Eisenhower who was such a duffus, unable to accept the idea that Stalin was a paranoid monster! It is a marvelous read! READ IT!!!!
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Though I'd read Roy Jenkins one volume history, this last effort from William Manchester and his posthumous collaborator is the best one volume biography of Sir Winston's war years. Brings him to life, whiskey and all, the good and the bad and the mostly great. One has a sense of Churchill as never before and although there are some decidedly unflattering moments, the greatness is there too and very much worth a look. Beautifully written throughout.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
If you are interested in a biography that doesn't limit itself on biographical dates and facts, but shows the whole political and cultural circumstances of a life, then this is the book. This part of William Manchester's thoroughly researched biography only contains information about the eight-year period of Winston's life preceding England's declaration of war against Germany in 1940. It's an impressive source of knowledge if you want to know what happened during this time from a British perspective, and you can also learn the details about Winston Churchill's toughest times in politics.
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Format: Paperback
Absolutely fascinating book about Churchill in UK in the 1930s, in opposition, pretty much in solitude, trying to warn the public and parliament about the real danger that Hitler's Germany represented.

I had asked my wife for the 3rd vol, the WW II years, for Xmas present, but she got me this volume by mistake. Initially I was a bit disappointed, but after starting the book I quickly realized that the years leading to the war were even more fascinating than the war years itself (I have now read about half a dozen books and counting about WW I and II at the moment). Just reading page by page, year by year, about the denial all western governments were in is simply unbelievable.
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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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