The Last Lion Winston Spencer Churchill Defender of the Realm 1940-1965

By William Manchester and Paul Reid

This is the third volume of William Manchester’s three-volume work on Churchill. The first two volumes were excellent – especially the first volume and especially the introduction to the first volume. This third volume is solid, quite good, but not masterful. It has an unusual back story.

William Manchester, seasoned biographer and writer, wrote the first two volumes and many of us were waiting for years on the third and final volume. And then we found out that Manchester had Alzheimer’s and would not be finishing it. He was aware of his disease, and after extensive research and some writing he began searching for someone to finish it. He landed on Paul Reid.

A bit of an unusual choice in that he was not an historian nor a biographer, but a newspaper writer. But apparently he demonstrated his skills adequately to Manchester and the agreement was made for him to finish it. I think he did surprisingly well, but I don’t think it’s superb. It’s massive, over 1,000 pages. Just about all of it deals with Churchill during the World War II years between 1940 and 1945. It reads easily and at times it is insightful. It is well worth reading.