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The Last Lion: Winston Spencer Churchill, Volume 3 Audiobook

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

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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

Average Customer Rating

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Performance
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  •  
    Alan&Annie 07-11-13
    Alan&Annie 07-11-13 Member Since 2010
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    "Excellent Job"
    Any additional comments?

    Paul Reid has done and excellent job of finishing the work that Manchester had begun. Clive Chafer, too, is to be commended for making this third volume of the Churchill biography such an enjoyable listen.

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
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    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.


    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Jeff Pickering, Ontario, Canada 01-12-13
    Jeff Pickering, Ontario, Canada 01-12-13 Member Since 2015

    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.

    5 of 6 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Howard S. 12-11-12
    Howard S. 12-11-12
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    "Churchill"

    Very well done book about one of history's most interesting characters. The book is comprehensive, and delves into all the back stories during WSC's amazing life and times.

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Donald Theiler 12-05-12 Member Since 2010
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    "The Complete Churchill"
    What did you love best about The Last Lion: Winston Spencer Churchill, Volume 3?

    I liked the level of detail which is included in this volume. It contains many details which I have not encountered in either biographies of Churchill or accounts of the 2nd World War. An example is the descriptions of the ebbs and flows of support for Churchill during his time as prime minister during the war. Also, the information about the people who surrounded and assisted him during this period is very well done and informative.


    Which scene was your favorite?

    All of the descriptions of his personal quirks, which were many and fascinating. Examples of this are his drinking and the schedule which he kept during the blitz. Also, the scenes which describe his single minded determination to defeat Germany once he was given responsibility for the war give real insight into his greatness.


    Any additional comments?

    This is must reading for anyone interested in Churchill and/or the 2nd World War.

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Book Fan 04-10-17
    Book Fan 04-10-17 Member Since 2016
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    "Masterful Narration"

    As extraordinary as the content was of this opus, it paled in comparison to the narrator's performance.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Jeremiah M. Lorrig 02-28-17 Member Since 2012

    Jeremiah

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    "Excellent"

    This book, the third part of a famous trilogy, balances the events and their causes with the personal moments that ground a biography.

    As the storms of war and world chaos swirled, a man who is probably the most impacting figure of the last century famously stood his ground. For a time, he was the sole personification of the beleaguered remnant who opposed the forces of fascism and Nazism. This book picks up with the beginning of World War II and weaves the great forces of the time with the man, Churchill, who faced those forces and, in the end, changed the course of history.

    I was impressed, learned much, and am now inspired even more by Winston Churchill.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Dirk Naves 05-30-16
    Dirk Naves 05-30-16 Member Since 2016
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    "Great book ruined by terrible narrator"

    Title says it all. And such a contrast with the previous two volumes. Really disappointing.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    William 01-10-16
    William 01-10-16 Member Since 2014
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    "poor reader spoils the book"
    This book wasn’t for you, but who do you think might enjoy it more?

    If you just want someone to "read" a book to you, with no story-telling ability, then this will be the book for you. Read it yourself as a book rather than suffer through these readers.


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

    For a much better experience try volume one of this series, read by Frederick Davidson -- he's a story-teller, not just a reader.


    How could the performance have been better?

    Easiest way is to hire better narrators for this fascinating story. If the narrators don't know the proper pronunciation of names of writers and characters, someone should be listening to check the correct pronunciation. It's just not true that anyone who knows how to read is an appropriate narrator for audible books. With Davidson as a superb example of a wonderful story-teller for Volume One of this Churchill series, and with scores of books to his credit, why are you fooling around with people of lesser talent?


    Any additional comments?

    Evaluating narrator quality is evidently more difficult than it would seem to be. Maybe you should focus-group various narrators before letting them hurt sales of audible books. We like the authors, we like the stories -- but amateurish narrators are a definite deal-breaker.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Chuck Bauer 12-20-15
    Chuck Bauer 12-20-15
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    "Terrible performer"

    The reader of this book is god awful with the same blanket cadence and rhythm - dreadful.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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