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)
Davidson's narration is truly epic befitting the larger than life book and man therein portrayed. He sang the songs of Churchill's youth. He mimicked the great politicians wonderfully; I really felt as if Lloyd George were speaking, for instance. I am in awe of his ability to deal with the diversity of people and accents found in this history. Unfortunately, his performance shined to such a degree that I found the other two volumes wanting.
Winston Churchill has been a particular fascination for me and, while William Manchester is not Churchill's official biographer, I committed myself to the series. Unfortunately, Manchester died during the third and final part. It is not nearly as good as the first and second. Manchester's brilliantly paints a full picture of the milieu in which young Winston was born and grew up, helping us understand the towering political figure he became.
Yes, W.S. Churchill is revealed in a level of detail that I never expected. His brilliance and his vulnerabilities are all brought to life.
To some. The book has so much information and detail, that it would be easy to get bogged down. Listening help push through some of the dry parts.
Traveler. Artist. Dreamer.
This is a history book. It's hard to fully delve into. Yet, I'm glad I listened to it. I learned a lot about European history & what an interesting man Churchill is. I can't believe all the obstacles he faced. This man had a lot of people who disliked him and had many career ruining moments, but somehow he just kept going even with bouts of depression. Makes one reflect on one's actions.
No, seriously, the book is amazingly funny. For all I've admired and respected Churchill, the thought of him bursting out in a theater "If the donkey dies, I should leave" was just awesomely funny. Certainly the well known wit is featured, but the, very human, playfulness he showed to his wife and children made for genuine humor.
Yes, it's a mindbogglingly thorough history of the man, and it's not all fun. Some of it is simply heart wrenching. Some reads like an adventure novel. However, if you're not laughing a good bit this book you probably should see a professional about it.
Obviously, this is not a book for the casual listener. But if you are interested in the history of the Victorian period, WWI, the English Empire, or (obviously) Winston Churchill himself, you will not regret downloading this book. It is thorough, but not tedious, which in a book this length is quite the accomplishment. It is a far from a simple hagiography - we see Churchill with all his warts and poor decisions without any attempt at justifying or or explaining away incongruities. It does a good job portraying the wonderful complexity of the circumstances and personality that go into producing a great man like Churchill.
The reader deserves a special mention - his Churchill voice is very good, his accents are very good (except his Russian one!), and his reading is simply perfect for this volume. I highly recommend this audiobook.
The book is written in very elegant prose which is at the same time easily digestible and entertaining. The pacing is superb.
Winston and I both struggled with similar difficulties throughout childhood. That he overcame his is great inspiration to me.
Loved the information in the book. Not only was history of Churchill interesting, the history and mores of the culture were very enlightening. The narrator does an excellent job with all of the character voices.
I loved the way Frederick Davidson embellishes the stories with dramatic voices (Winston with a lisp, the Queen, his disinterested mother's letters, his nanny) and even sings a song or two now and then. His accent is perfect, his French delicious, his pace just right. It is clear that he is interested in the book, not just processing words.
His voice. His timing. He makes the humorous parts even funnier and the tragic parts even sadder.
The litany of written pleas by Winston for visits or letters from his parents while away at Harrow is so effective because it is a series of direct quotes from correspondence woven deftly by the author into a narrative without it seeming like a list. Just one example of how great this author is.
This is an almost effortless way to learn more about culture and the politics of the time.
Not only a biography, William Manchester vividly sets the stage of the Victorian England that Churchill grew up in. His young life is just as engrossing as his WWII years, and taught me so much that I did not know. Also have to say that it is BRILLIANTLY narrated by Frederick Davidson, who has a great voice and an even better Churchill impression. I am on to volume 2 and am pretty disappointed that it was not the same narrator, I loved Frederick Davidson so much. I am just getting started so hopefully it will get better, but I can't imagine anyone doing a better Churchill.
He has a gift for accents, and his Churchill from boyhood into adulthood was astonishingly real.
Don't let the length of this volume scare you off. If you are at all interested in modern history, this is a fascinating and enlightening book. It seems like Manchester includes everything there is to be known about Churchill's early life. This is all told against the extremely rich background of the last days of Victorian England and the glory of the British Empire, upon which "the sun never sets". I found the material describing the Victorian era and the empire to be fascinating and enriching as well.
Finally, Frederick Davidson is an extremely thoughtful and talented narrator, and this volume represents the most perfect match of narrator to subject that I have ever heard. His "Churchillian" voice is virtually indistinguishable from the original.
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