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