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The Last Lion, Winston Spencer Churchill, Volume I: Visions of Glory, 1874-1932 (1983)

af William Manchester

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2,336346,636 (4.46)36
Biography & Autobiography. History. Nonfiction. HTML:

Winston Churchill is perhaps the most important political figure of the twentieth century. His great oratory and leadership during the Second World War were only part of his huge breadth of experience and achievement. Studying his life is a fascinating way to imbibe the history of his era and gain insight into key events that have shaped our time.

In political office at the end of WWI, he 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 fifty 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.

As a biographer, William Manchester is the standard by which all others are measured. And when a writer of his caliber is matched with a subject as colorful as Winston Churchill, look for results that are magisterial. This, the first in a three-volume biography, is a momentous piece of work.

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Amazing - and long for us slow / distracted readers. It provides detailed insight to the younger Churchill. It's perfect to understand the formative years and wonderful if you like to read about famous children, but not nearly as interesting to me as the events in his life. (Similar to McCullough's disappointing 'Mornings on Horseback' about Teddy Roosevelt.)

Churchill's events were big. My recommendation: go directly to the years of the Boer War, WWI, or the independence movement in India if that interests you. If WWII is your thing, read the 40 page preamble and the remarkable last 18 pages.

At the very least, read the absolutely fabulous first two pages of the preamble. It is an inspiring example of Manchester's writing. Warning: after reading those first two pages you may feel compelled to read the remaining 881. ( )
  dlinnen | Feb 3, 2024 |
A great book about the early life of a great man. This first of a three book biography takes us from his early youth, through the Great War and up to 1932 and his warnings concerning what he saw happening in Europe. I look forward to starting the second book. ( )
  everettroberts | Oct 20, 2023 |
An excellent first installment of the biography. As someone who enjoys knowing the details, it has been a pleasure to listen to this book. While the book is lengthy, it is for good reason. Alongside the normal biographical material, Manchester gives the historical context of Churchill’s life which also helps the reader understand why different people behaved the way in which they did. Overall, I’ve thoroughly enjoyed this book and look forward to reading the following two. ( )
  D.T.Adams | Aug 30, 2023 |
One down, two to go. These books have been on my list for a while, but due to their length (41 hours for the first audiobook), I had been hesitant to start. I listened to the Audible version of the book, which was really well narrated.

This book is best described as a general history of political and patrician England from 1874 - 1932 with a focus on the vast detail's of Winston Churchill's life during this time. My favorite parts were the letters between him and his wife Clementine. As a person in which any and every emotion brings tears to my eyes, I loved the tidbit that Churchill was also a cryer. The letters to his parents when he was a young boy were heartbreaking. It is easy to see how other people would have found Churchill during this time both exasperating and loveable, admirable and confounding. Truly his strength was an ability to follow his vision with conviction and determination, but also willing to change his perceptions when new evidence or circumstances were presented -- which is a difficult path to take as a politician in which people want to label you so as to know where you stand.



( )
  bangerlm | Jan 18, 2023 |
This is a 2 volume book but isbns are identical - unfortunately - because the second is a sequel and the third was not published until after Manchester's death - and written w help of another so not the same quality ( )
  Overgaard | Dec 5, 2022 |
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The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood, who knows the great enthusiasms, the great devotions, and spends himself in a worthy cause; who at best, if he wins, knows the thrills of high achievement, and, if he fails, at least fails daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who know neither victory nor defeat.
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The French had collapsed. The Dutch had been overwhelmed. The Belgians had surrendered. The British army, trapped, fought free and fell back toward the Channel ports, converging on a fishing town whose name was then spelled Dunkerque.
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"No lesson seems to be so deeply inculcated by experience of life as that you should never trust experts. If you believe doctors, nothing is wholesome; if you believe theologians, nothing is innocent; if you believe soldiers, nothing is safe."
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Biography & Autobiography. History. Nonfiction. HTML:

Winston Churchill is perhaps the most important political figure of the twentieth century. His great oratory and leadership during the Second World War were only part of his huge breadth of experience and achievement. Studying his life is a fascinating way to imbibe the history of his era and gain insight into key events that have shaped our time.

In political office at the end of WWI, he 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 fifty 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.

As a biographer, William Manchester is the standard by which all others are measured. And when a writer of his caliber is matched with a subject as colorful as Winston Churchill, look for results that are magisterial. This, the first in a three-volume biography, is a momentous piece of work.

.

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