In political office at the end of WWI, Churchill foresaw the folly of Versailles and feared what a crippled Germany would do to the balance of power. In his years in the political wilderness, from 1931 to 1939, he alone of all British public men, continually raised his voice against Hitler and his appeasers. For over 50 years, he was constantly involved in, and usually at the center of, the most important events of his age. It was, however, his obduracy on matters of principle, his fortitude in the face of opposition, and his perseverance in standing alone that defined him.
©1983 William Manchester; (P)1990 Blackstone Audio Inc.
"Manchester is not only a master of detail but also of 'the big picture'....I daresay most Americans reading The Last Lion will relish it immensely." (National Review)
"[Manchester] can claim the considerable achievement of having assembled enough powerful evidence to support Isaiah Berlin's judgment of Churchill as the largest human being of our time." (Alistair Cooke)
I have not read the print version.
The book goes into great depth for Winston's life, and his childhood is especially sad in that his parents never spent much time with him. He treats his own children much better.
There are sever scenes which I enjoyed, Churchill had a very interesting life and the story is compelling enough to get me to listen to all 41 HOURS of the first volume. Looking forward to the second volume.
Churchill was an active participant in much of the 'action' of the late 19th and early 20th centuries. One learns about oth Churchill and these events. Remarkable times and a remarkable man. Manchester provides the cultural and historical background to make the story engrossing and entertaining. The duration of this audiobook seems daunting but it flies by.
The performance is the best I've heard in an audio book. More like a one man stage show. The figures in the book each have a distinct and convincing voice. The example ones provided to illustrate the period are sung.
Listen to this book!
The entire book end o end.
Gret story, great writing, incredible performance.
Regarding both volumes there is much to like: they are superbly written and, of course, the subject could not be more interesting. However, in answer to the question by a prior reviewer of "what's not to like?," there are some very questionable historical assertions, particularly in volume two.
One example is characteristic of Manchester's sometimes reckless scholarship. He states as fact that had Hitler not entered into the Munich agreement and ordered the invasion of Czechoslovakia that Hadler had in place coup plans that he was about to order. This assertion relies for the most part on post-war trial testimony by German generals who were trying to get out from under the charge of agreesive war. It is very questionable. As most historians show (read Evans and Kershaw for example) there was a lot of plotting and talking going on in some elements of the German military but there is no hard evidence that a coup had reached a final organizational stage and would have be successful it it had. In fact, it wasn't until German was partically on its knees and the war was clearly lost in July of 1944 that they finally did something and even then it didn't work.
Another example of many in volume two is the assertion that the offensive plan for the May 1940 was Hitler's original idea. Of course, he later claimed it was and he certainly gets credit for going with a great plan, but most historians agree the idea did not originate with him. I could go on.
It really got so I had to fact check constantly in volume two. Any there was some of it In volume one. For a much for convincing discussion of Churchill's relationship with Fischer, which Manchester presents as inexplicable, see Gallipoli by Robert James. It's kind of like what Manchester did with The Death of a President where he took something that was true (that there was a climate of right wing hate in Dallas) and connected to Kennedy's killing. In fact there was no connection between the two because Kennedy was killed by a left wing activitist who had just tried to kill a leading right wing figure in Texas 8 months before killed Kennedy. Or what Manchester did with what people thought were his Pacific War memiors where he just made things up. Having said all this, they are very enjoyable books. I just hope (particularly in volume one) that there aren't too many errors I didn't caught.
Maybe, I'm a big fan of Winston Churchill and I found this book to be a very honest biography that provides tremendous insight into his incredible life. The reader of this book is outstanding with terrific command of the various characters.
I was really unaware of the challenges Winston had in his early years and the disconnect between him and his parents. It was inspiring to see how much he had to overcome and the fierce determination that appeared very early and would be evident throughout his life.
This is a very entertaining and informative book that provides real insight into Winston Churchill and the events that shaped his life.
I teach high school physics and read/listen to books in my free time. My favorite genres are history, sci fi, fantasy, and science writing.
Yes. Winston Churchill is a fascinating historical figure and one that was pivotal to how the 20th Century turned out. To know more about him and his life and times is to better appreciate where we are now.
Davidson mimics Churchill's voice very well and makes it very entertaining to listen to this monumental work of history.
What do you mean its not possible, do you know who I am, I'm Winston S. Churchill.
Increasing my ops tempo by allowing storytellers to whisper in my ear(buds).
You know that you are in for a long effort when the title is that long; fortunately this is a great book that will keep any listener, with even a modicum of interest in the grand designs of history, enthralled. Winston Churchill was such an important historical figure that any account of his exploits must, necessarily, seem to be larger-than-life. This first volume is an anecdote-filled story that has the plotting of a novel taking Winston from early childhood to influential member of the government. It is the most playful of the three volumes of this biography and as such is great fun. William Manchester’s mastery of the English language is evident on every page.
The narration by Frederick Davidson is astounding. His voice has great expressiveness and emotion. The effect is like a one man play. Each character is given their own unique voice, and they are spot-on. Frederick Davidson portrays the young Winston with eagerness and sincerity and gives just the right inflection for a young insecure school-boy. Later, when Davidson speaks the words of Winston as a mature man, you hear Churchill as you might imagine him delivering one of his famous invective barbs. Davidson deserves top marks for his rendition of this book from print to voice.
Riveting. Revealing. The pathway to greatness is through adversity. Being a child of privilege is not necessarily a road to an easy life. Churchill almost never had it easy and there is so much to learn from his endurance and faithfulness.
This is a very long book, but a worthwhile investment of time. Churchill is a 20th centry icon, well known for his WW2 war time leadership, but not so much for his early years. Understanding how me was raised and matured gives insight into his strengths and weaknesses. Churchill had to overcome personal disabilities, a distant father, financial and political ups and downs, and an empire at it's zenith and in decline. The narration is quite good, and keeps you engaged. There are times when, especially describing blood lines, this book gets a little dry, but that is the advantage of audio. I would have skipped those pages out of boredom, but missed some important information that I would need later to understand this man.
The audio quality and narration is quite good. The young Churchill voice is a bit annoying.
This book is a fantastic look at the early 20th century. The prospective on England's upper class society is very interesting. All in all, this is a great history book that is heavy on Churchill. Then judging by the influence he had on events in that time it isn't a stretch.
Yes I intend to read the follow up in the 2nd part of the series.
While I appreciate the lengths the writer goes to provide context for Churchill's biography it is, in my opinion, over done. I believe there was ample opportunity to educate me with out so much superfluousness information about minute details of the daily lives of his associates.
Abbreviate and present only the most interesting content.
If this were a book it would be 15 hours long and then you'd still have to watch the sequel to find out what happens.
He does a nice job of speaking and imitating voices, even if he does come across a little pompous.
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