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The Last Lion: Winston Spencer Churchill, Volume II: Alone, 1932-1940 | [William Manchester]

The Last Lion: Winston Spencer Churchill, Volume II: Alone, 1932-1940

This second volume in William Manchester's three-volume biography of Winston Churchill challenges the assumption that Churchill's finest hour was as a wartime leader. During the years 1932-1940, he was tested as few men are. Pursued by creditors (at one point he had to put up his home for sale), he remained solvent only by writing an extraordinary number of books and magazine articles.
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Publisher's Summary

This second volume in William Manchester's three-volume biography of Winston Churchill challenges the assumption that Churchill's finest hour was as a wartime leader. During the years 1932-1940, he was tested as few men are. Pursued by creditors (at one point he had to put up his home for sale), he remained solvent only by writing an extraordinary number of books and magazine articles. He was disowned by his own party, and dismissed by the BBC, Fleet Street, and the social and political establishments as a warmonger, and twice nearly lost his seat in Parliament. Churchill stood almost alone against Nazi aggression and the pusillanimous British and French policy of appeasement.

Manchester tracks with new insights this complex, fascinating history, without ever losing sight of Churchill the man - a man whose vision was global and whose courage was boundless.

©1988 William Manchester; (P)1990 Blackstone Audio Inc.

What the Critics Say

"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)

What Members Say

Average Customer Rating

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  •  
    Andrew Watson 03-23-14
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Excellent (except for French accent)"

    Both the biography itself and the performance are excellent. However, the book includes a lot of French, and the reader doesn't speak it well; these frequent moments in the book make for difficult listening.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Amazon Customer 02-21-14
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    "Fascinating - IF you can tolerate the narrator"
    Is there anything you would change about this book?

    Absolutely - the narrator. I've listened to audio books for years. I've never before had a problem with a narrator. Sometimes it takes a little while to adjust to their speech but it's never been a big deal - but this is really bad. So bad that I've bought the companion book and will read as often as possible instead of listening.


    What other book might you compare The Last Lion to and why?

    I'm not sure. This is an exceptionally good story. Maybe Berlin Diary but mainly because of the time frame.


    Who would you have cast as narrator instead of Richard Brown?

    Anyone!


    What else would you have wanted to know about William Manchester’s life?

    All set with that.


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Kristi Richardson Milwaukie, OR, United States 02-18-14
    Kristi Richardson Milwaukie, OR, United States 02-18-14 Member Since 2014

    An old broad that enjoys books of all types. Would rather read than write reviews though. I know what I like, and won't be bothered by crap.

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    "On his own, he warned the nation of Hitler!"

    I liked this book even more so than the first! This is the story of Winston Churchill outcast and on his own. Most people would quit politics and find something else to do, but not Churchill.
    He certainly wasn't a perfect person. He was a notoriously bad boss, treated everyone that worked or him as servants but they still loved him. He was a chauvinist pig but he also was in awe of women. He was a man of his generation and did not trust blacks but did champion Jews. He had such a superior attitude that if he encountered a traffic jam, he would drive on the sidewalks to get past it.
    With all that said, he was one of the only men to see the threat of Hitler and kept speaking his mind even when constantly booed and accused of warmongering. Knowing what we do now, the reader can't help but wonder what was His Majesty's government thinking with appeasement? Again and again they gave in to Hitler's demands and more countries disappeared into the German Reich. According to this book it was the fear of Communism and the fact that a lot of people in the British government liked what Hitler was doing in his country. Anti-Semitism was the norm in Europe and only after the war when they realized what Hitler had done with the Jewish people did they realize it could go to far.

    This book takes Churchill to his being asked to form a government in 1940 by the King. It was a long listen but so interesting the time went by quickly. The narration by Richard Brown was well done and added to the book.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Adam Mendota Heights, MN, United States 02-03-14
    Adam Mendota Heights, MN, United States 02-03-14 Member Since 2015
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    "Excellent part 2, a must listen for continuity"
    What did you love best about The Last Lion?

    I listened to all three parts of the Churchill biography and following the fabulous volume 1, as others have said, the narration of this volume was a bit of a letdown. But I don't think it was a huge issue that would prevent me from recommending it. I think I read some reviews that listeners went from volume 1 to volume 3, but I think you'll appreciate Churchill's rise to the PM role so much more after you go through volume 2 and realize how great the odds were against him in the 1930's. I know I did, and as with volume 1 and 3, the storytelling and accounts of his personal and public deeds made for excellent material. The whole series is highly recommended, volume 2 no less so than the first and third volumes.


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Edith Oakland, CA, United States 01-29-14
    Edith Oakland, CA, United States 01-29-14 Member Since 2005
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    "Completely engrossing"

    If you've gotten through Volume I, I don't need to encourage you to continue. The story just gets more and more interesting. Manchester writes quite well and and did an extremely thorough job of researching these years, providing rich detail from the diaries and letters of many of Churchill's contemporaries, as well as the great man himself.

    Some may find R. Brown's Churchill impersonation tiresome as Churchill is quoted so frequently in the text, but I did not since it let me know immediately that Churchill was being quoted. Brown wisely did not do dramatic impersonations of the other individuals quoted, and the narration flows very smoothly.

    By the way, these volumes represent one of the best bargains to be found on Audible, with many, many hours of listening per credit.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    james California's Central Coast 01-08-14
    james California's Central Coast 01-08-14

    Pepperink

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    "Agonizing narration!"
    Would you recommend this audiobook to a friend? If so, why?

    No. Incredibly bad narration.


    What other book might you compare The Last Lion to and why?

    The other two parts of this work are just as good. Also, Churchill's own history works are fabulous.


    How did the narrator detract from the book?

    1. The narrator's voice is harsh and lacking emotion.
    2. Worst of all, when he quotes Churchill, he sounds like a male version of the Wicked Witch of the West! Incredible.


    Did you have an extreme reaction to this book? Did it make you laugh or cry?

    This period of Churchill's life is fully explained, especially how the rejection hurt him.


    Any additional comments?

    Avoid this volume if you can get a print version.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    June Vancouver Island Canada 12-15-13
    June Vancouver Island Canada 12-15-13 Member Since 2013
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    "The Insider View of Winston pre-WWII"
    Would you consider the audio edition of The Last Lion to be better than the print version?

    The audio version is good but sometimes hard to follow the different characters. Had to go back several times and re-listen to material to ensure I had understood the context correctly.


    Who was your favorite character and why?

    Winston was by far the most mesmerizing character as his idiosyncrasies and eccentricities set the stage for an interesting read and allow the reader into the mind of a brilliant man.


    What three words best describe Richard Brown’s voice?

    Richard Brown's voice is good but can be distracting at times when he mimics the voice of Winston Churchill.


    Was there a moment in the book that particularly moved you?

    There were some real insights into the attitudes of the British population towards the potential of another war. This dynamic set the stage for some poor decision making by the Prime Minister and ultimately cost lives unnecessarily.


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Robert Combs 11-13-13
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    "Recording is Fatally Distorted"
    What would have made The Last Lion better?

    Cannot recommend due to quality of recording.

    I expected Audible to provide a recording that has a better dynamic range. Unfortunately, the recording is full of distortion. The softly spoken words are fine, but the louder words and syllables are distorted due to over-amplification of the input signal. What that means is that when you adjust the recording so you can hear the soft parts, the distortion overwhelms your amplifier and drives it to saturation. It's unpleasant at best. I have not found a way to remedy this, despite attempting playback with various types of amplification, via iTunes, via the Audible App, via headphones, car stereo (the worst) and via home stereo.


    What was one of the most memorable moments of The Last Lion?

    Descriptions of the quotidian Churchill.


    What does Richard Brown bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you just read the book?

    Richard Brown's impression of Churchill is delightful.


    You didn’t love this book... but did it have any redeeming qualities?

    Depending on your playback system you may be able to tolerate this recording.


    Any additional comments?

    I expect Audible to screen recordings better and that it's engineers figure out why this recording is so full of distortion.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    S. Friday Ramstein Air Base, Germany 05-17-13
    S. Friday Ramstein Air Base, Germany 05-17-13 Member Since 2008
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    "How did the world not listen to this man?"

    I cannot understand how Churchill managed to keep his dignity throughout his "banishment". He was clearly a genius, but most folks didn't realize this. Granted, he had his quirks--which I learned about in this book. I admired him in that he worked his tail off to keep his family fed and housed and going on extended trips.....but that was how the upper class lived. And I found that interesting, as was realizing that Hitler understood what a genius Churchill was and that he was going to be Hitler's greatest challenge among the allies. The book is long. Very long. But the narrator did a good job and the material kept me listening.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Amazon Customer 05-10-13
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    "Bring Back Frederick Davidson!"
    Did you have an extreme reaction to this book? Did it make you laugh or cry?

    The most extreme reaction I had to this book was disappointment in the change of narrators. Richard Brown would have been better just reading the text in his own voice. He has absolutely no talent for voices, inflections, and accents. He uses the same amateurish devices when quoting almost every character. His Churchill is painful to listen to when compared with Davidson's absolutely spot-on impression. In fact, there's not much difference between Brown reading Churchill and Brown reading Hitler. The two actually sound similar in this book. Too bad, I loved both volumes of Manchester's The Last Lion but I was irritated with the narration of Volume II from beginning to end.


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful

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