50yrs old / audible member for 5 yrs library. 75% nonfiction, 15% classics and 10% fiction. History/Science/biography/Eng.18th cent fiction
The first 2 instalments of this trilogy-were, for me 2 of the most beloved books I have ever read/listened to. The writing was an utter revelation for me and that level of stunning art has been achieved by perhaps 5 or so other books out of the 1100 titles I've listened to over the last 5+ years of audible books AND all the other books I have read in book form. Robert Caro's works come to mind as those that are at least equal in brilliance.
Like so many other frothing fans of these first 2 books, I learned that Manchester had died leaving the 3rd books research and start to paul reid to finish. I like so many other fans followed any sign we could find ( for years) that would indicate when our Manchester "fix" would be released. When the time finally arrived for the audible release I noticed that there was no sign audible was aware of it. I called audible and they thanked me for the heads up and released it. I've just bored you with this blurb so you might understand my emotional involvement.
When I started the book I was horrified. I have NEVER EVER heard worse narration. This was someone who was not only reading the text without being prepared, this was like listening to a 8yr old read. Luckily Reid was responsible for just reading the lengthy "preamble" Clive Chafer's narration of the rest of the book was for me annoying because his intonations were exactly like a BBC news anchor or reporter. Despite all this I listened carefully to every word.
Before I get into my review of the writing of the book itself, I must first make it understood that I think, feel and want to acknowledge that poor Mr. Reid had a hurculean task in writing this book as we can imagine after reading his introduction which explains the huge piles of disorganized research and indecipherable piles of notes he had to contend with.And of course he was put in the position of trying to write in a style that at least compliments the first 2 books- and that style is one of very high standing. Imagine you had to write the 3rd book of lord of the rings for instance (for lack of a better analogy) All of this being said ,we still have to judge the book on its merits alone.
I think by now you can infer that Im not enthralled with the book but if you hang in there you may find it interesting why.
The task laid before Reids feet was to finish a BIOGRAPHY of Churchill and what has been written is a history of ww2. Ironically if you want a better version of this book with more about Churchill read Churchill's amazing 6 vol THE SECOND WORLD WAR. As I have read his ww2 there was nothing at all new for me, So I thought well at least I'll get his biography post ww2. I was astounded to find that his last 10 yrs were given just 17 pages out of 1053! and titled "postscript" in the book form. This would have been fine if the intended purpose of the book was a ww2 history but its NOT- its supposed to be a biography. His last ten yrs should not be BESIDE the point- THEY ARE THE POINT.
Beyond this huge flaw, this isn't even very well written and certainly doesn't come even close to Manchesters standard. I wondered how the New York Times rated it so I looked it up and was heartened to find they found this book just as I did. Of course You can check for yourself. I thank those that hung in to the end of this very long review and hope you got something out of it.
William Manchester has written an in-depth biography of Sir Winston from the time he took over the premiership of Parliament at the outbreak of the second world war, until his death.
He doesn't minimise Winston's faults, but he is very sympathetic to the man, and outlines the extreme difficulties he had to deal with in keeping both his allies and his senior officers in sympathy with his plans. Certainly his oratory won the masses, and his tenacious belief in the cause he was espousing, kept him going in spite of severe and often unjustified criticim when others of a lesser calibre would have capitulated
Chet Yarbrough, an audio book addict, exercises two cocker spaniels twice a day with an Ipod in his pocket and earbuds in his ears. Hope these few reviews seduce the public into a similar obsession but walk safely and be aware of the unaware.
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 was ready to feel cheated when I learned, in the introduction, that Wm Manchester didn't write this book. He assembled all the data. Paul Reid wrote the book after Manchester's death. So the "written by" Wm Manchester line is deceptive. But it's impossible to feel cheated. Reid is an excellent historian in his own right. He takes an extremely complex period of history, and a complex array of characters, and weaves them into a gripping and understandable web. Don't assume this book is only about Winston Churchill. He's the main character, and the main reason I picked up the book. But the book is also about the politics of World War II, and the economics, and the military campaigns, and the major personalities. Not just of Churchill, not just of the English leaders, but of the key players in Britain, America, Russia, and even Germany and Japan.
Barbara Tuchman's "Guns of August". The same world-spanning grasp of history, and a similar narrative ability to make complex history understandable. Also, "First Blood: the Story of Fort Sumter" by Swanberg. A similar all-encompassing, multi-faceted history. Much shorter than the other two books though.
Don't be ridiculous. This is an enormous and multi-dimensional book, that will give you a satisfying two months of listening.
Beware of the introduction. It's not by narrator Clive Chafer, who is a very good narrator. It's by the writer, Paul Reid. Reid is an excellent writer, as I said, but he gets a D- as a narrator. That's not his thing. Fortunately, after the introduction, Clive Chafer comes on, and the narrating becomes professional and a pleasure to listen to.Craig.
Iranians keep their nukes, Americans lose their insurance.
Just ok for overall WWII history. Many other books are better.
No. Clive Chafer is awful. Just awful. The first 15 mintues by Paul Reid were some of the most fascinating tales about The Old Man I have ever heard! Then it goes from great to lousy in one Clive Chafer.
NO to Clive Chafer. Paul Reid is cool.
Make the freekin' story about Winnie!
I did not want a WWII book. I wanted to read about The Man. This book is mostly about everything and for that it does a superficial job.
The unflinching portrait of WSC, in all of his complex, and often contradictory, human extra-ordinariness, is carried on in this volume as masterfully as it was in Vols. I and II. What makes this one so much more enjoyable is the almost minute-by-minute depiction of life in England, among the people and the government, and in the Western World during WWII. It is a triumph of biography that the author, while obviously in awe of Churchill and the "great man" he was -- or that he became in these circumstances -- does not gloss over his subject's faults, errors and shortcomings, making a fascinating and realistic work and a totally enjoyable listen. At 50+ hours it is a monumental undertaking, but never a wasted moment!
This book could have been twice as good if it had been half as long.
Reid could not make up his mind; sometimes the book is a biography of Churchill, at other times it attempts to be a military history of WWII.
As a biographer, Reid makes Churchill sound like a bore who ate too much, drank too much, slept too little and monopolized every conversation. The Churchill in this volume bears little resemble to the man described in the first two volumes of this trilogy or in the books by Lukacs, Jenkins and others.
On the military side, Reid's relies far too much on Churchill's memoirs and Brooke's diary, both of which were far from objection. In particular, Reid fails to grasp that Churchill was a poor tactician and even worse strategist, but lacked any insight into his limitations. Reid fails to grasp that one of Roosevelt's greatest strengths was his willingness to defer to Marshall on military matters and not "play solider." Reid's portrait of Roosevelt is absurd and has no basis in fact.
Chafer soldiers on through Reid dull, endless prose.
Read Lukacs or Jenkins instead.
I have been a follower of all things Winston Churchill for a long time. This book was another must read for me. It was a bit long on the war and short on the life afterwards but worth the effort. I bought the book and followed along with the audible narration. I must admit I would have stumbled in the comprehension a bit without the narration. At 1050 plus pages it was a good audiobook to purchase because of the shear volume and mass of the subject material.
The inner workings of the mind of WSC were most interesting.
The least interesting was the minutiae of some of the lesser war time battles and encounters.
No, I have not listened to any other performances of these men before.
The affirmation of facts previuosly known about the great man. Also, WSC's big ideas were sometimes both hairbrained and interesting at same time
Good Book....Long Story
Its a pity that the American Author reads the prolog - could not imagine a Brit reading the pro log of a book on Washington.
Having said that Paul Reid has done an excellent job at re-creating the events that shaped the World we currently enjoy.
Suggest you skip the prolog (I did) and sit back and enjoy.
The Lion Roars
Increasing my ops tempo by allowing storytellers to whisper in my ear(buds).
This was written by William Manchester and Paul Reid. Manchester died before he could complete his biography of Churchill. And Churchill’s life story must be told. Reid was Manchester’s hand-picked co-author for this capstone to the biography and this book has a character all Reid’s own. The second volume takes us to the brink of war, Hitler is rampaging through Europe. Britain is standing alone against the Axis powers. We all know how it all came out, but at the time the end result was far from certain. Winston Churchill must be given his due: he must be allowed the fight he was built for. Events at this time of history are moving swiftly and Churchill is at the center of them all. He is the architect of the Allied victory but not even he can be said to deserve all the credit. In this third volume, the events of WWII take center stage so this volume becomes more history at times than biography, but that is to be expected. You must first understand the times before you can understand the man. This capstone of the biography trilogy is essential. Without it Winston Churchill would be like the Flying Dutchman, forever poised on the brink of cataclysm, never victorious. It is necessary that Churchill be vindicated, in print at least. Any listener of the first two volumes will be compelled to see Churchill through to the end.
The first two hours of this book, covering the prologue, are narrated by the author Paul Davis; who has a pleasant and decidedly American voice. The remainder of the book is narrated by Clive Chafer who has the appropriate British accent and does a yeoman’s job in delivering the over one-thousand pages of print material to the spoken word. His voice has a pleasant tone which is mandatory for such a weighty tome.