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

by William Manchester

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2,137306,544 (4.46)35
Details the first fifty-eight years of a man whose ambitions and serious flaws made him one of the world's most powerful leaders, placing Churchill's prewar career against the backdrop of the collapse of the British Empire.
Recently added byDigitalFlight, bbcofleola, private library, Romero_Institute, MrsReily, bangerlm, aochan, langtree, sdcallow
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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 |
Dad gave me the whole series for my promotion to Major in October 2021. Started reading during WTI 2-22, read in the London airport on my way to the NF22 FPC, finished on my way home from the FPC while delayed for 24 hours in Chicago. Was not an easy read as it is a very long book with very few chapters.

Very detailed account of his life all prior to his election as Prime Minister. Learned a lot more about British politics than I will ever be interested to learn...thoroughly enjoyed the sections on WWI and his role during that conflict. Book does an excellent job setting the stage for WWII and his clash with Hitler once he becomes Prime Minister. His early childhood years reminded me a lot of Teddy Roosevelt and how he seemed like such an unlikely future leader that he became. His adult life reminded me in some ways of Donald Trump in terms of his strong personality. The author does a great job of tying in the details of his life with the culture of Great Britain at that time and especially highlights a lot of the promiscuity of his mother throughout his life. The post WWI section on the internal conflict with Ireland finally gave me the desire to watch Peaky Blinders. Eager to read the next book, but definitely need to take a break before jumping in. Recommended to anyone with a great interest in Winston Churchill or British politics, otherwise I recommend a shorter, less detailed account.
  SDWets | Jan 14, 2022 |
A huge undertaking... I guess that's what I get when I ask for a "thorough" biography of Churchill.

I was only planning on reading through the second volume until I discovered that the second volume doesn't even cover WWII. Now I think Manchester may have overdone it. He certainly has his moments when his prose is lovely. But he sometimes spends too much time on events and information that doesn't really seem to have much to do with his subject. *

Churchill was deeply flawed(as are many of us), an interesting conundrum in beliefs, actions, and emotions. It's interesting to see what happens when the world shifts and the older generation isn't looking. Will it always take a war?

Perhaps the most tragic of all was the discussion of WWI and the inability of the British to quit until they had won, and the sarcastic comment from one of the newspapers: "How will we know if we've won?" How, indeed.


*Victorian birth control, for instance. Also highlights the issues with the BBC series Victoria. How could there possibly be a LGBTQ couple when, according to this book, such awful things were said of and done to Oscar Wilde? Additionally, I had read Trollope so perhaps I was more informed on how British politics worked at that time. ( )
  OutOfTheBestBooks | Sep 24, 2021 |
Simply masterful, one of the best books that I have ever read.
Possibly better than the second. ( )
  Charles_R._Cowherd | Jul 10, 2021 |
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Epigraph
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.
Dedication
To MARY and CHARTWELL
First words
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.
Quotations
"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."
"A race which has suffered defeat can be rescued by restoring its self-confidence."
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(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
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There seems to be a mistake here. Alone is volume 2. If your copy is in this work, please correct the title so that it can be properly combined.
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Details the first fifty-eight years of a man whose ambitions and serious flaws made him one of the world's most powerful leaders, placing Churchill's prewar career against the backdrop of the collapse of the British Empire.

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