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The Last Lion: Winston Spencer Churchill, Volume 3: Defender of the Realm, 1940-1965 | [William Manchester, Paul Reid]

The Last Lion: Winston Spencer Churchill, Volume 3: Defender of the Realm, 1940-1965

Spanning the years 1940 to 1965, Defender of the Realm, the third volume of William Manchester’s The Last Lion, picks up shortly after Winston Churchill became prime minister - when his tiny island nation stood alone against the overwhelming might of Nazi Germany. The Churchill portrayed by Manchester and Reid is a man of indomitable courage, lightning-fast intellect, and an irresistible will to action.
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Publisher's Summary

Spanning the years 1940 to 1965, Defender of the Realm, the third volume of William Manchester’s The Last Lion, picks up shortly after Winston Churchill became prime minister - when his tiny island nation stood alone against the overwhelming might of Nazi Germany. The Churchill portrayed by Manchester and Reid is a man of indomitable courage, lightning-fast intellect, and an irresistible will to action. 

This volume brilliantly recounts how Churchill organized his nation’s military response and defense, compelled President Roosevelt to support America’s beleaguered cousins, and personified the "never surrender" ethos that helped the Allies win the war, while at the same time adapting himself and his country to the inevitable shift of world power from the British Empire to the United States.

More than 20 years in the making, The Last Lion presents a revelatory and unparalleled portrait of this brilliant, flawed, and dynamic leader. This is popular history at its most stirring.

©2012 William Manchester (P)2012 Blackstone Audio, Inc

What the Critics Say

"Before his death in 2004, an ill Manchester asked former Cox newspapers journalist Reid to take his research notes and finish writing the final volume of his trilogy. The long-delayed majestic account of Winston Churchill’s last 25 years is worth the wait…. Manchester matches the outstanding quality of biographers such as Robert Caro and Edmund Morris, joining this elite bank of writers who devote their lives to one subject." (Publishers Weekly)

"General readers, as always, will be taken by [Manchester's] boundless abilities as a storyteller…. Essential for Manchester collectors, WWII buffs, and Churchill completists." (Kirkus Reviews)

"A big book but reads easily…. The finished book is a worthy conclusion to what must be considered one of the most thorough treatments of Churchill so far produced. An essential conclusion to Manchester's magnum opus." (Library Journal)

What Members Say

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  •  
    Jeff Pickering, Ontario, Canada 01-12-13
    Jeff Pickering, Ontario, Canada 01-12-13 Member Since 2014

    54 yrs, ,memb 12yrs,library -75%nonfic 10% fiction,15% classics. History, all sciences, bio, classics,diverse other interests.

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    "MY MOST IMPORTANT AND DIFFICULT REVIEW"

    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.

    4 of 5 people found this review helpful
  •  
    CHET YARBROUGH LAS VEGAS, NEVADA, United States 07-15-14
    CHET YARBROUGH LAS VEGAS, NEVADA, United States 07-15-14 Member Since 2015

    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.

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    "CHURCHILL & WWII"

    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.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Kristi Richardson Milwaukie, OR, United States 03-26-14
    Kristi Richardson Milwaukie, OR, United States 03-26-14 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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    "Churchill and World War II till his death."

    This was the last book in the series and William Manchester died before it was finished. Paul Reid took over and it shows that there was a different author. This was the book I was so looking forward to listening to and it just didn't match the quality of the first two books. There is a lot of repetition from the previous books and it really drags in a lot of spots. They also had a new narrator and he just didn't get the Churchill voice as well as the other guy.

    That being said, this book is mostly about Churchill and WWII. Since he played such a large part in the war it is very engrossing. Sad to say once he was able to get the United States in the war he lost most of his control of the Allied Forces and it began the loss of world leadership for Great Britain.

    He was one of those remarkable men that come when the world needs them and does what needs to be done. He was not a perfect person, and woe be it to anyone who worked for him, but he hardly slept and was constantly working on a book, a picture or the war strategy and his people were expected to keep the same pace with him.

    I consider him one of the greatest people to have ever lived on this earth and I am glad I read all three books of his life.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    JSav 03-18-14
    JSav 03-18-14 Member Since 2011
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    "Amazing Man, Great Story"
    What made the experience of listening to The Last Lion: Winston Spencer Churchill, Volume 3 the most enjoyable?

    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.


    What did you like best about this story?

    After listening to this biography, I am amazed at his genius, strength of will, ability to overcome obstacles and faith & love in humanity.


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

    I cried at his death.


    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Greg chesterton, in, United States 02-04-14
    Greg chesterton, in, United States 02-04-14 Member Since 2013
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    "Sorry, not the same as volume I"
    Would you recommend this audiobook to a friend? If so, why?

    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.


    What other book might you compare The Last Lion: Winston Spencer Churchill, Volume 3 to and why?

    WSC Vol I was a perfect biography- making the case that he was the most interesting character in this century.


    Have you listened to any of Clive Chafer and Paul Reid ’s other performances before? How does this one compare?

    This performance was OK but not as good as volume I. I didn't get as strong a sense of WSC'c voice.


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

    I didn't actually finish this book, I got tired of listening to the end of the empire.


    Any additional comments?

    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.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Robert S. Mellis Florida 09-26-13
    Robert S. Mellis Florida 09-26-13
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    "Soaring History"
    Would you recommend this audiobook to a friend? If so, why?

    This giant is captured and displayed with great style, attention to detail, and depth. The writing is superb. The reading is incandescent.


    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Sam Motes Tampa 08-21-13
    Sam Motes Tampa 08-21-13 Listener Since 2009

    Audible obsessed lifelong learner.

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    "The lion in his jungle element"

    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.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    eastbayrae Raccoon City 08-21-13
    eastbayrae Raccoon City 08-21-13 Member Since 2011

    Sometimes you have to club a seal with a kitten

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    "Great book with terrible voice acting"
    Would you say that listening to this book was time well-spent? Why or why not?

    Yes and no. I listened to part I + II of this 3 volume set, so I wanted to listen to III. The voice acting is horrid. The actors pronunciation of German, as well as English, words is woeful. The books get progressively worse in this respect. Book I was excellent, Book II not so much, and this book is the worst.


    Who was your favorite character and why?

    Churchill. He was a master of the English language and the strongest leader of his century.


    What didn’t you like about Clive Chafer and Paul Reid ’s performance?

    See above.


    If this book were a movie would you go see it?

    Yes


    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    margot new york, NY, United States 06-12-13
    margot new york, NY, United States 06-12-13 Member Since 2011
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    "Nice and sympathetic"

    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.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    7DogNight 05-28-13
    7DogNight 05-28-13
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    "How to Ruin a Masterpiece"
    Would you listen to The Last Lion: Winston Spencer Churchill, Volume 3 again? Why?

    I will not listen to The Last Lion: Winston Spencer Churchill, Volume 3 again - simply because of Clive Chafer's miserable performance. Mr. Chafer has a very cultured voice and is most likely well educated. However, he read this volume in almost a complete monotone. Most sentences are read as open-ended phrases rather than complete thoughts. The convention of dropping one's voice at the end of a sentence seems to have escaped him. I hate to be so negative - but I eagerly waited decades (literally) for this work to be completed and purchased the audio version simply because waiting until I had time to go to the store was an unacceptable delay in finally hearing the completion of this masterful work. Reid did his job superbly. And Chafer ruined it.Let me add that the portions read by Mr. Reid were well done and enjoyable. I wish he had chosen to read the work himself.


    What was one of the most memorable moments of The Last Lion: Winston Spencer Churchill, Volume 3?

    I can't answer this because I was only able to tolerate listening to the first download portion (approx 8 hours). I will purchase the book and read it for myself and then review the written work.


    Would you be willing to try another one of Clive Chafer and Paul Reid ’s performances?

    I will NEVER listen to anything Clive Chafer reads again.


    Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?

    No way to accomplish this, but yes - the content is riveting - even though Chafer's reading makes it frustrating to listen.


    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
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