THE LAST LION WINSTON SPENCER CHURCHILL by William Manchester

Manchester met Churchill aboard the Queen Mary on January 24, 1953, when he was a young foreign correspondent for the Baltimore Sun. In volume one, Visions Of Glory 1874-1932, Churchill's story is one of high adventure, bitter defeats, and the inner strength of the towering Englishman whose watchword was: "Never give in. Never, never, never never give in." In historical crises his soaring prose and histrionic manner made superb theater. Lesser politicians, like Ramsay, MacDonald and Stanley Baldwin ("Two nurses," he called them, "fit to keep silence in a darkened room"), could not grasp his vision, his complex drives, and his desperate search for ways to escape the heavy, almost suicidal depressions which stalked him throughout his extraordinary career. Born of a lovely, wanton American mother and a gifted but unstable son of a duke, his childhood was one of wretched neglect. After his father's early death, he sought glory on battlefields in Cuba, India, the Sudan - where he participated in the Empire's last cavalry charge - and South Africa. Captured by the Boers, he made a spectacular escape across 300 miles of enemy territory. Then he led British troops in action, was recommended for the Victoria Cross, and, returning home, was elected to Parliament while Victoria still ruled England. In the Edwardian House of Commons Churchill shocked Britain by defending the Boers' cause. He outraged his aristocratic family by introducing legislation leading to old age pensions, unemployment compensation, and national health insurance. After the Great War he was the prime force behind the creation of Iraq and Jordan, laid the groundwork for the birth of Israel and negotiated the independence of the Irish Free State.

In volume two, Alone covers the years of 1932-1940. During that time Churchill was pursued by creditors and at one point had to put his home up for sale. He remained solvent by writing an extraordinary number of books and magazine articles. He was disowned by his own party, dismissed by the BBC and Fleet Street and the social and political establishments as a warmonger and twice nearly lost his seat in Parliament. He stood almost alone against Nazi aggression and the British and French policy of appeasement. Despite his personal and political troubles, Churchill managed to assemble a vast, underground intelligence network which provided him with more complete and accurate information on Germany's rearmament than the government was able to gather. Manchester concludes that the governments of MacDonald, Baldwin, and Chamberlain lied to the public and Parliament about the advanced state of German rearmament, believing that a mighty German army would serve as a bulwark against the Soviet Union. Manchester tracks with new insights this complex, fascinating history without ever losing sight of Churchill the man - a man with limitations, especially his callousness toward others (including his supporters) and his recklessness; but a man whose vision was global and whose courage was boundless.

Published in 201988. ISBN: 0-316-54503-1. These books are 10 inches high by 6.5 inches wide. Hard cover. Volume One contains 973 pages including the index. Volume Two contains 754 pages including the index. Because these two books weigh almost six pounds shipping costs are a little higher than normal. The spine of Volume Two had a spot on it and when I tried to remove it the dye in the cover ran and discolored the spine. It also has a small coffee stain on the outside of the pages but the stain is not on the pages themselves. Both volumes are in good condition and the pages are clean and tight to the binding. Both volumes had dust jackets at one time. Only Volume Two retains it's jacket and that is only in fair condition. The photograph on the dust jacket is indicative of the photos contained within both volumes.

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Shipping: $5.50 within the USA

 

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