Faced with mindless duty, when an audio book player slips into a rear pocket and mini buds pop into ears, old is made new again.
This is a surprisingly good book; surprising because it is written by a feature writer that became friends with William Manchester. Paul Reid manages, after the great author’s death, to assemble William Manchester’s prodigious collection of notes about Winston Churchill to write a highly interesting, third and last, book of “The Last Lion” series. Reid does not have the story-telling polish of Manchester but his clever assembly of Manchester’s research opens history’s door to one of the most fascinating characters of WWII’s beginning, its evolution, its finish, and its aftermath.
One is left with the abiding belief that Great Britain needed Winston Churchill to survive WWII. It seems the circumstance of war, Churchill’s incredible physical stamina, his political acumen, and his extraordinary oratorical skill were Churchill’s late-in-life source of effectiveness and fame. The politics of war perfectly fit Churchill’s experience and qualification to be Prime Minister of Great Britain.
In contrast, Reid infers Churchill’s military strategy could have lost the war. It is not that Churchill could not learn from his mistakes but the magnitude of error and the paucity of resources (soldiers and equipment) increased Great Britain’s danger of defeat with even one, let alone several, tactical military mistakes. On the other hand, mistakes or not, Great Britain’s active military opposition forestalled German victory long enough for Russia and the United States to join in an Allied command that defeated the Axis powers. One wonders if any other leader could have done a better job under the circumstances.
Paul Reid provides a balanced picture of a great man in Volume 3 of “The Last Lion”. The surrounding cast of characters, though great in their own right, play their parts but Reid clearly shows Churchill is the man of the hour in the “sturm und drang” of WWII.
I have a theory for biographies: if they don't bore you in at least a few sections, they are not worth reading. That being said, this volume was my favorite of the series. The book maintained a good pace with a grounded view of Winston from a variety of sources. After ~125 hours of hearing of his life, I feel like I know him now.
After listening to this biography, I am amazed at his genius, strength of will, ability to overcome obstacles and faith & love in humanity.
I cried at his death.
Yes, I suppose. I've only listened to vol I and I thought that did a wonderful job of making WSC the center of WWI. I didn't get the same sense from this book - it was interesting but not as clearly focused.
WSC Vol I was a perfect biography- making the case that he was the most interesting character in this century.
This performance was OK but not as good as volume I. I didn't get as strong a sense of WSC'c voice.
I didn't actually finish this book, I got tired of listening to the end of the empire.
I think V3 is not as strong as V1 (didn't read V2). It doesn't center everything in WSC so I felt it turned into another history of WW2.
This giant is captured and displayed with great style, attention to detail, and depth. The writing is superb. The reading is incandescent.
Very exhaustive read due to all the great details Reid was able to get from Manchester's research. The right man at the right time during the war years for sure. The strategizing and politicking on a global stage at the big three fought through their own needs and ambitions to fight the axis menace. Reid closed by focusing on the mental struggle of losing influence as Churchill's twilight faded and he fought loneliness.
Nice and sympathetic. Even if you're prejudiced against the SOB. But that's all right. There's something here for everyone to like. You like birds? Winnie had a budgie named Toby, whom he lost while staying at the George Sank (George V Hotel) in Paris in the late 50s. Heartbroken. You get the ups and downs of a guy who lives almost a century and screws up more often than not. That's not too bad.
Yes, to try to capture all the momentus history of which he was a part.
I usually do not like it when the narrator tries to imitate the voices but he nailed Churchill's and it helped in knowing when he was quoting Churchill directly.
yes. But it drove me to distraction the way he (Chafer) or he (Reid) felt he had to define every single direct and indirect object. If HE said he was going to Chartwell for dinner I damn well knew that he was talking about Churchill, not the Archbishop of Canterbury
First were the years of 1940 and 1941, when Churchill and the Europeans were dealing with the Nazi and Axis push through Europe and we did not even seem to notice there was a war going on. The second - When Churchill was dealing with Roosevelt and Stalin - - It was so obvious that Churchill was right and that the world might have been in much better shape if Roosevelt had listened to Churchill rather than winging it with Stalin.
This really give us Americans a good idea of the war years we missed - when things seem so bleak.
Enjoyed this audiobook so much.. So many events and details I had not heard of: the politics, the war strategies, life in GB during the bombings and Churchills wit, insights, some blind spots and his incredible journeys. I could not stop listening. Sometimes the writing is very poetic.
The incredible first two war years, the battles and the strategies. Also the communications with FDR and Stalin.
No, but very well read by Clive Chafer.
Impossible to do over 52 hours, but I read it for days on end.
What a wonderful book. I am ready to start reading the previous two volumes.
Love to read, and Audible has made the two-hour daily commute enjoyable!
In 2010 I listened to the previous two volumes of Manchester's trilogy and was so excited to hear that Manchester's friend Paul Reid would complete the work.
I did learn a lot about the British in WWII before America finally joined, and I do admire Churchill all the more, but, I'm disappointed. It simply didn't have the narrative energy of Manchester.
In addition, the narrator, Clive Chafer was horrible. Since this book would be read by both American and British audiences, the pronunciation was simply odd - like a French pronunciation of debacle, and many more.
I love books, but I particularly love audio books. What a luxury to have someone like Campbell Scott read you to sleep.
The story of how this book was finally completed is a tale itself. Paul Reid has done William Manchester proud. Winston Churchill was a fascinating and complex person with such a rich and long life that he is definitely a handful for any biographer. Between these two amazing authors this third volume of Churchill's life is told with effortless ease (which we know was not the case for the authors). And the narration is splendid. No 'eating the scenery'.
I would listen to it again, I will also read the book.