The Last Lion: Winston Spencer Churchill, Volume 3 : Last Lion

  • by William Manchester, Paul Reid
  • Narrated by Paul Reid, Clive Chafer
  • Series: Last Lion
  • 53 hrs and 27 mins
  • Unabridged Audiobook

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.

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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 twenty-five 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)
"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)
"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)

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful

FIRST AND SECOND EPISODE NOT AVAILABLE ON UK SITE

Would you listen to The Last Lion: Winston Spencer Churchill, Volume 3 again? Why?

Some day, but given I just spent over 50 hours in 2 weeks listening to it, not for a while


What did you like best about this story?

A great man with a great task, achieved


What does Paul Reid and Clive Chafer bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you had only read the book?

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


Did you have an emotional reaction to this book? Did it make you laugh or cry?

it is the greatest tale of the modern age - World War II, and Churchill's own part in it


Any additional comments?

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

Masterpiece

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- Broken iPod owner

Mammoth biography

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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- Derrick

Book Details

  • Release Date: 06-11-2012
  • Publisher: Blackstone Audio, Inc.