November 19th, 2012

The last Last Lion

Have you ever noticed the books in the photograph that makes up my blog header? The one on top is the collected works of Robert Frost, and the one below is the second volume of William Manchester’s biography of Winston Churchill, The Last Lion.

It’s a wonderful read, but it ends in the year 1940. And we know, of course, that 1940 was hardly the ending of Churchill’s life; it was the beginning of His Finest Hour, to coin (or borrow) a phrase. But biographer Manchester died before he could tackle the war years and beyond, a source of great sorrow to us Churchill buffs.

However, before he died, Manchester turned his notes and the unfinished task over to journalist Paul Reid, who has finally completed the book. I haven’t read it yet, but although I can safely say I doubt it’s as great as it would have been if Manchester had lived to write the whole thing, reports are that it’s a very worthy final volume of what is now a trilogy:

The third and final volume of a massive work of biography is a tribute not only to Manchester but also to Reid, whose courage in accepting the job is matched by his success in telling the story.

Plus, there’s the added bonus that, if you order any of the Churchill books (or anything else from Amazon) by clicking on the links in this post, a small part of the total will go to neo-neocon.

8 Responses to “The last Last Lion”

  1. Paul in Boston Says:

    I’ve been reading it. It’s excellent. There are bits here and there of the detailed ins and outs of long forgotten polical battles that wouldn’t be missed, but you can always skim over them. A+

  2. Don Carlos Says:

    I browsed Amazon yesterday and bought the trilogy as a gift. Sorry, Neo….

  3. Brian Swisher Says:

    A long wait, but it’s definitely a book that will go on my Christmas list…

  4. M of Hollywood Says:

    pls clarify: to get the good read AND to donate our pennies to n-n, we click on any link FROM this site?? I.E., click on an Amazon link from your I recommend box over there – or click on the link above in this post to “The Last Lion”. And if we have a Kindle and just dl a sample, when we decide to get the book in its entirety we have to come back here to n-n and click on EITHER the link above in this post or ANY link in the I recommend box and then navigae to … why not put a link to this particular book in your “I Recommend” box? Meanwhile, I’ll dl the sample to Kindle.

  5. Bob T Says:

    Reading it now! Great read so far.

  6. turfmann Says:

    I read both previous books and found them excellent, then was inspired to read Churchill’s history of WWII, actually in audiobook form since I have so much windshield time.

    I cannot recommend Churchill’s work too highly. It sits at the top of many lists of the best non-fiction and it is richly deserved.

    I haven’t started the new Lion as yet. I am reading Brands’ biography of U.S. Grant. That’s a great read as well.

  7. Patrick Says:

    Interesting article at the NY Times on how Reid came to be the guy chosen to write the third volume.

    http://www.nytimes.com/2012/11/04/magazine/the-fan-who-finished-william-manchesters-churchill-biography.html?ref=magazine&pagewanted=all&_r=0

  8. Richard Aubrey Says:

    Churchill’s Life of Marlborough–cut to four volumes for the American market–is interesting and you can see how writing about Churchill would be interesting.

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Previously a lifelong Democrat, born in New York and living in New England, surrounded by liberals on all sides, I've found myself slowly but surely leaving the fold and becoming that dread thing: a neocon.
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