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
"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)
The Second World War was the vital time for the West in the Twentieth Century. Winston Churchill was central to the winning of the War. This book tells a well researched and well written story of Churchill and his time during the War. Reid, drawing on Manchester's research, and on Manchester's style, brings Winston Churchill to life, warts and all. I listen on my daily commute, and at times during the book, and it is a long book, I found myself deliberately slowing down to maximize my listening time. Clive Chafer has just the right voice. He is a good reader, and he has a style - flat and cynical without being boring or expressionless - which sets off the emotion and drama of the story, rather than taking it over. This book is an essential listen for anyone interested in the central history of the West in the last century.
Outstanding description of one of the most consequential leaders of the last century. With elegance and detail, the author walks through the life of a man with will and determination in quantities denied to most mortals. Still, Mr. Reid points out the many shortcomings of a man that did not shy away from looking human, however embarrassingly it turned out at times.
While long, this book engaged me to the point of reading a few extra pages passed my predefined reading time. It is full of details exposed through the lens of the very precarious circumstances Great Britain lived throughout the war - first during the London blitz, then during its relegation to a second class power to Russia and the US -.
While the main goal of the book is to reflect a great man into a fair light it also gives a very interesting view into how the British government of the time worked and how sometimes political rivalries dictated national agendas beyond what one would hope democracy allows for.
All in all, it was a great book and one i would recommend to anyone looking for abundant information morphed into fun reading.
WINSTON SPENCER CHURCHILL LOVED HIS COUNTRY.
I WISH OUR POLITICIANS LOVED THE UNITED STATES THE WAY
WINSTON LOVED HIS ENGLAND!!
WONDERFUL HISTORY DIALOGUE
I had heard that this book was a let down due to William Manchester's untimely strokes, but Paul Reid nailed it. It's a superb book (incidentally very well performed), but more importantly, it was true to Manchester in every sense. Mr. Reid deserves tremendous credit for his ability to replicate his predecessor's voice without in any way diminishing the quality or style of the work. A climax and close to an epic trilogy.
A must for the history buff Winston Churchill is the most important person of the twentieth century the only man who could have stopped Hitler and he knew it.
I never thought I would make it through all 7 but Winston held my attention though out this remarkable account.
I am writing this review with tears in my eyes. This book, like the others in the trilogy, is a masterpiece of human history. It's quality defies adequate description, and I am left with equal parts profound satisfaction at having completed the tale, and regret that I can never again experience it's beauty anew.
"FIRST AND SECOND EPISODE NOT AVAILABLE ON UK SITE"
Some day, but given I just spent over 50 hours in 2 weeks listening to it, not for a while
A great man with a great task, achieved
Being read the book was a luxury that allowed me to consume it whilst driving, doing chores, and a dozen different tasks, where I couldn't possibly have read the text in the amount of reading time I would have in those 2 weeks
it is the greatest tale of the modern age - World War II, and Churchill's own part in it
On first listening to the book I thought it slightly monotone, with a poor impersonation of Churchill by the narrator. As it continued, I became blind to the tone, and found what I had considered to be an 'impression' was in fact a reading with metre and cadence that allowed Churchill's words to be read in the gravitas the man himself had. Simply a great book I couldn't stop listening to - sometimes 7 hours in a day. I wish I'd known the first 2 books weren't available on the UK site, but knowing what I do now I would still have got the book
At over 53 hours, this is a vast undertaking to listen to, let alone to have written. It starts just before Churchill takes power in May 1940 and ends with his death. The earlier volumes were written by William Manchester alone, whilst this is written almost entirely by Paul Reid, using the notes compiled by the dying Manchester.
With good narration, this is a competent telling of the great man's story, rich in detail. It is written with an American audience in mind, covering most key moments well. I say "most", as there are some that I feel lack some relevant detail. An example would be the machinations around Churchill's appointment in 1940, the rumblings of revolt amongst the establishment for peace in the months after his appointment, and Yalta, which is disposed of in jarringly short order.
The years after Churchill's loss of the 1945 election are covered in the last 8 or so hours of the book. This seems too short; he was, after all, Prime Minister for much of the 1950's, and lived for a further 10 years, if increasingly frail and inactive.
Another area which lacks critical analysis is the relationship between Churchill and the Americans, especially Roosevelt. It is clear that Roosevelt handles Churchill with calculation and barely concealed cynicism. Churchill, for his part, appears extraordinarily naive in comparison, although this may be simply a realistic acceptance of his subsidiary role. This critical nexus in his life demands critical analysis, especially when so much of the book describes these dealings in detail. Perhaps this is hard for an American to do, perhaps Paul Reid's relative inexperience meant he had his hands full just getting all of this down.
Nevertheless, these are minor criticisms given the scale of the work. It rams home what a wonderful, full life this great man led.
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