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This volume, “Alone,” of the Manchester series on Winston Churchill, tells the story of his life and its interlacing with the (Second) Boer War, WWI and WWII. This is part of a trilogy of editions of the man, referred to in the series title as, “The Last Lion.” The books are, “Visions of Glory,” “Alone,” and “Defender of the Realm,” a magnificent study of Churchill and the eras. They are though a true history, an effort to acquire knowledge about the man and the wars from a British perspective. Nevertheless, this is a well endeavored read or listen but only for those who are history buffs. That is not to say it isn’t a page turner, and hard to let it sit on the bed table. It is such a well done analysis of the epic failures of what lead to the rise of the Nazis and the oncoming of WWII. The book is an artistic compilation of history in the nature of Shelby Foote’s “The Civil War,” although the House of Commons fights are not as dramatic as the Civil War confrontations.
The same subject, as this title, Alone, can also be read in a more scintillating series by Winston Churchill himself, his four part series the Second World War. That was a more exciting tale. Yes, Churchill has a way not only with governing, giving speeches but writing as well.
This volume, Alone, is the most complete study into Neville Chamberlain, and the popular British post WWI concept of Appeasement, I have ever come across. I have seen the Newsreel film of Chamberlain holding the treaty in his hand and waiving to cheering crowds in triumph and because I have the advantage of hindsight knew Chamberlain was a fool, and a fool to Hitler. I had no idea how dominant a postulate non-violence was for our forefathers in the 1930s. This book does teach its malfeasance demonstratively well – a probable results of the horrors of WWI’s trench warfare according to this study. Manchester reveals appeasement, at least on the part of Chamberlain, and his predecessor Prime Minister Stanley Baldwin, to be a factor of their dedication to capitalism; the appeasers were actually more concerned with unfettered commerce than the growth of the Nazis and the horrors and enslavement National Socialism cast onto others. The continuation of commerce was all the appeasers were concerned with. Thus, how vile the appeasers truly were.
There has been a lot of criticism about Richard Brown’s reading. (The super great Frederick Davidson read the Visions of Glory telling of the early life of Churchill.) Actually, Brown is a very good reader. His depiction of Churchill though is awful. I remember hearing Churchill in the original (on Newsreels) and his voice was most distinctive. Brown’s depiction doesn’t come close and is actually dreadful. (Unfortunately for Brown, Davidson’s re-depiction was magnificent.)
. . . and yes I will be listening to the final series, Visions of Glory (which was completed by Paul Reid, as Manchester passed before he completed the war years.
The information and its presentation.
Manchester's way of connecting Churchill's history to the culture of the times.
Irritating when quoting.
You cannot make a film of this book.
This book keeps your interest even as it dives into the deep end of British politics. It keeps W.C. real and gives a balanced view of the man: good and bad. Very enjoyable.
As is the first volume, this follow up is an incredibly broad and deep exploration of not just Churchill, but of British politics in the 1930s in the lead-up to WWII. It manages to include mountains of information, but keep them fascinating by attaching them to the person of Winston Churchill.
The history of Britain in the 1930s is a stark lesson to those who would appease evil in our own day. The parallels are clear to anyone who follows current events, without the author ever having to make the connection for you.
Frederick Davidson did a masterful job on the first volume. I was deeply disappointed by Brown's reading of Churchill and many other characters.
The march of folly, and a glimmer of hope.
Despite a mind-numbing introduction (for one who just finished the first volume), once the meat of the book is reached the reader is carried deep into the life of one of the 20th centuries most fascinating and important personalities. This is one of the deepest and most detailed biographies I've ever read, and the anecdotes about Churchill and those around him manage to add zest to even the dryest figures.
if there is one book you need to buy on Audible if you are interested in British colonial historty, this would be it. By far the most detailed and riveting narration of Winston's life. This is better then best.
After listening to Frederick Davidson's wonderful reading of the first volume of Manchester's (never completed) biography of Churchill, I was roundly disappointed by Richard Brown's performance of "Alone: 1932-1940". In fact, I only made it through about an hour of it before I gave up. Life is too short to listen to readers who are terrible. In this case, I'm going to read it myself.
This is an excellent study of Churchill and the period between the wars. It gives you a real feel for the period and some great insight into the politics of the period. Some of the observations are particularly interesting in view of current events. Could it be true that appeasement and peace at any price is not dead? It is a pity that William Manchester died prior to completing volume III. The world is poorer for that.
The reader makes this an excellent book. His ability to sound like Churchill, change his voice for ladies, sing a song, etc. are entertaining. The story is interesting and well presented. Very even balanced on a very controversial person.
Just a mesmerizing and inspiring look at the preface to the Winston Churchill I knew during the war. I could not put this down and you feel completely ready to take on anything life can throw at you afterwards.