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The Last Lion 1.2 (The Last Lion #1)

4.43  ·  Rating Details ·  7,054 Ratings  ·  386 Reviews
s/t: Winston Spencer Churchill Visions of Glory 1874-1932
When Winston Spencer Churchill was born in Blenheim Palace, Imperial Britain stood at the splendid pinnacle of her power. Yet within a few years, the Empire would hover on the brink of a catastrophic new era. This first volume of the best-selling biography of the adventurer, aristocrat, soldier, and statesman covers
Audio Cassette, 0 pages
Published December 12th 1990 by Blackstone Audiobooks (first published January 1st 1983)
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Apr 26, 2016 Matt rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: biography
Reading about the life of Winston Churchill is an extremely humbling experience. He did so much. You’ve done so little. It is especially humbling when you are reading of his life while sitting on a couch that is covered with crumbs from your daughter’s crackers, wearing sweatpants and a sweatshirt (thus, very nearly a sweatsuit), haven’t shaved in three weeks, and drinking Yellow Tail out of a pint glass. The lesson, I suppose, is not to compare oneself to Winston Churchill, or to people who dri ...more
A magnificent biography that constantly has you rooting for the tarnished idea that history is predominantly shaped by the actions of key individuals. If you are like me, books and films lead you to admire for Churchill’s leadership, resolve, and inspiration during World War 2, but you are short on details about his origins and accomplishments in the decades before his becoming Prime Minister in 1940 at the age of 67. My impression of him as a stooped, pudgy old man got revised with the reality ...more
Aug 16, 2007 Pat added it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Anyone
Taking lessons from Churchill's life is not without its problems. Yes, he was a great man (an assessment he was never ashamed of sharing with others) but today, lesser man cite Churchill far too frequently and borrow from his legacy far too frequently.

Still, there is something undeniably appealing about the man. It may have been his uncompromising demeanor, or his propensity for outlandish stunt-pulling. I tend to think however, that the reason Churchill's story continues to resonate is because
Description: Winston Spencer Churchill: Visions of Glory 1874-1932
When Winston Spencer Churchill was born in Blenheim Palace, Imperial Britain stood at the splendid pinnacle of her power. Yet within a few years, the Empire would hover on the brink of a catastrophic new era. This first volume of the best-selling biography of the adventurer, aristocrat, soldier, and statesman covers the first 58 years of the remarkable man whose courageous vision guided the destiny of those darkly troubled times a
Dec 26, 2013 James rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: history, biography
One of the more engaging biographies I’ve read in recent memory. Manchester tells a straight-forward but exhaustive story, continually pulling back from the drama of Churchill’s life to explain the greater context shaping his actions and career; and this grand manner of storytelling has the intended effect of emphasizing Churchill’s uniqueness and how persistently, and in what manner, he defied convention.

This is only the first of a three volume series, but it covers nearly two-thirds of his lif
Jan 04, 2016 Mahlon rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: read-2015
William Manchester's magisterial three volume biography The Last Lion is one of the cornerstones to understanding Winston Churchill. The first volume, Visions of Glory covers birth-1932. I first became aware of this book in the early 90s, and badly wanted to finish it then. But again I find that audible is the best way for me to get through these lengthy Biographical tomes!

Unfortunately, this time the audible experience was almost ruined for me because of the choice of narrator. He has the accen
Mikey B.
Jul 11, 2014 Mikey B. rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This is definitely an enthralling and epic story. What a life this man lived – from participating in battles in Afghanistan and horse cavalry charges in the Sudan – and after, a major Parliamentary figure in the British House of Commons. Mr. Manchester brings it all vividly to life.

He provides us with a portrait of Winston as an unrequited Victorian. He always believed in empire, in colonization and the superiority of Europeans over all others. So the author gives us a rounded and imperfect figu
Daniel (Attack of the Books!) Burton
There are few political leaders that have captured my imagination like Winston Churchill does. William Manchester not only tells the story of what is perhaps Britain's greatest prime minister, he does it in fantastic detail. I've read complaints that Manchester uses perhaps too much detail, but I could not have enjoyed it more.

Manchester paints a picture of life at the end of one era--the Victorian--and beginning of the next, the Edwardian. Churchill's life straddled change in eras, and Manchest
I really liked this, well sort of.... let me explain. My head told me it was good and I could not stop listening, but the narration by Frederick Davidson displeased me beyond measure. Haughty intonations from start to finish. Read the book. Don't listen to it, as I did. My rating is for the words of the author NOT my impression of it as an audiobook. Let me add that I went to YouTube to listen to the real voice of Winston Spencer Churchill and it was not this disagreeable. In addition the narrat ...more
Sep 12, 2013 Matt rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: audiobook
Political biographies of great statesmen are always a daunting undertaking, for writer and reader alike. While anyone can write a biographic tome about the life and times of a politician, it takes a great historian to succeed in both presenting a seamless story and entertaining the reader with the ascertained facts. Manchester’s abilities and attention to detail bring history to life and his work can easily be compared to the likes of David McCullough or Robert A. Caro. In undertaking a three vo ...more
Nov 22, 2008 Sebastien rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I don't think anyone needs to be told this, but Winston Churchill was quite a fascinating person.

The author, William Manchester, does a good job of bringing to life Winston's childhood and early development. This childhood seems to have been extremely crucial in forming Winston's idiosyncratic, independent, and sometimes stubborn adult personality.

After his childhood experiences, Manchester marvelously catalogues Winston's experiences (and constant self-promotion and search for glory!) in India
Magnificent! Just finished my second reading of The Last Lion 1: Visions of Glory 1874-1932, the first installment of William Manchester biography of Winston Churchill. Even better the second time around, after having read many excellent books about the period when Churchill lived, specially about both World War I & II.

Highly recommended!

Full review to come, for now on to the the next The Last Lion 2: Winston Spencer Churchill Alone, 1932-40!

Doug Bradshaw
Aug 17, 2013 Doug Bradshaw rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I read this in short segments over several months and like other biographies I've read, it was a real eye opener for me. I wanted to find that there was brilliant planning and execution. But like so many things in history, huge decisions are grey instead of black or white, based on gut instinct instead of tremendous intel. I'm going to wait for a while to pick up the follow up book. I need something light now.
Oct 04, 2007 Janis rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: history buffs
Thorough. Very thorough. Thankfully, the subject is fascinating. I learned so much about Churchill and his era (much of it surprising) and enjoyed the book so much that I just made a commitment to an equally long and dense Vol. 2.
Jul 13, 2016 Frank rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: biography
This one has been on my shelf for years, after reading much on Churchill, including the first volume of the Gilbert (total of eight volumes) biography, I found a small amount of some new facts not touched on before, but it mostly covers the same ground of Churchill's early life, and career, from his early childhood being basically ignored by his mother and not liked by his father. He made it on his own in the world serving as a soldier, then war time correspondent in the Boer War, escaping a POW ...more
Brian Eshleman
Jun 22, 2013 Brian Eshleman rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
With nearly 1000 pages and a dynamic figure like Churchill, an author can do darn near anything he likes, so we shouldn't be surprised that he does. The author is able to give a detailed, sweeping picture of his subject's times. Then, he is able to "zoom in" on Churchill's psyche and look at the impact of his parentage, his depression, and his indomitable will.

That material which is in between intimate examination of Churchilll and sweeping examination of his times is what is somewhat tedious. H
Aug 16, 2012 Andrew rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I've read a bunch on Churchill (mainly about his roles in WWII and WWI) and this book is only topped by writing Churchill did himself. This is the first of two volumes that Manchester wrote about Churchill. This volume covers his life from birth to 1931 and obviously includes his time in the British Cabinet during World War I. Frankly, it seems like every moment of Churchill's life was amazing and full of vigor. I was not very familiar with his father's role in Parliament nor Churchill's own rol ...more
Patrick Mcfate
Apr 25, 2011 Patrick Mcfate rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I kept this book in my office and read it during lunch over the course of many weeks, since it was too heavy to carry with me or take home on the weekend. It is one of the most enjoyable nonfiction books I've read in a long time -- maybe ever. Even the 110-page preamble/prologue held my attention, and I felt its length was fairly justified. Now that I've started the second volume, I can say I have just one problem with this biography, which is that the author seems just a little too much in awe ...more
Janine Urban
Mar 10, 2013 Janine Urban rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
"Now at last, at last, his hour had struck. He had been waiting in parliament for forty years, had grown bald and gray in his nation's service, had endured slander and calumny only to be summoned when the situation seemed hopeless to everyone expect him." THIS is a biography! Absolutely stellar and I can't wait to read the other two volumes. Don't be fooled by the shear size of the book; Manchester doesn't waste a page.
Parker Dalton
Nov 24, 2016 Parker Dalton rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: biography
The title is so perfect for Churchill; what a lion-hearted man. One can't learn too much about him...his courage, tenacity, and grit. This book is definitely long but so worth the read if you love the man who stood stoically against tyrannical Europe and helped save Western Civilization during WWII, for why he is remembered so famously. This part 1 of a 3 volume series shares the beginnings of the greatness through his experiences in the Boer wars, his first 20 years in Parliament, WWI, labor st ...more
Alex Kennedy
Oct 16, 2016 Alex Kennedy rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Winston Churchill was a titan, a genius, a lion. This book superbly covers his early life, the Winston Churchill I didn't know as well. I was fascinated to learn of the many trials he overcame and of his weaknesses. I highly recommend this book. A word of caution--it's extremely detailed. The trilogy in total runs to over 1500 pages. If you are not a historian, or don't like detail, this book may be too much for you.
Jun 24, 2014 John rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
How do you begin to review a biography that essentially hits you as one of the best biographies you’ve ever read, of a fully important figure who had so much influence upon the 20th century world? You want to avoid hyperbole to be taken seriously, yet you want to use those too often used adjectives to underscore how good and important you believe it to be. (So much so, you ignore the ending of sentences with prepositions, much to the dismay of High School English teachers everywhere). You also w ...more
Jenny Karraker
Jan 05, 2013 Jenny Karraker rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I've heard many inspirational quotes and hilarious quips from Churchill, but never read about his life. This book gives a very full and descriptive view of his life and the times in which he lived. I had heard that he was always close to his nurse, Mrs. Everest, but had no idea how ill-treated and neglected he was by his parents. His mother Jennie was a beautiful young woman who spent much of her time sleeping around and indulging in the frivolous lifestyle that the aristocratic class was well k ...more
Aaron Crofut
Apr 04, 2015 Aaron Crofut rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: biography
It took me a month, but it was a month well spent. So many different avenues of thought: the role of the British aristocracy in a functioning democratic government, the nature of education, political intrigues, the obliteration of the Old World by the First World War, British colonialism, whether war can be considered glorious or not, it's all here. Manchester was an outstanding writer and I never thought of putting the book down.

As to Churchill himself, he remains the number one person in all
Nov 23, 2016 Sweetwilliam rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
The Last Lion Part I was the most entertaining and informative biography I have ever read or listened to. The Last Lion is split into 3 volumes and as audiobooks go, it is a massive commitment. Each book is over forty-two hours. This review pertains to Part I years 1874 – 1932. The opening chapter or preamble is called the Lion at Bay and the setting is in the dark days of Dunkirk. I defy you to read or listen to Churchill’s words and not feel a chill in your spinal cord and not blubber with pri ...more
Brendan Hodge
Jan 04, 2012 Brendan Hodge rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
William Manchester's massive biography of Churchill is not only a good window on the man himself (the better for presenting large numbers of passages from Churchill's own writing) but also a chronicle of the times that formed Churchill and that Churchill formed -- from him time as a dashing young cavalry officer and war correspondent during the Boer War to the controversy surrounding his leadership of the Admiralty during the Great War, and his gradual eclipse from power in intra-war years. Manc ...more
Being an admirer of Winston Churchill I had to read this first book of a three part series. I am not a lover of politics, no where close to it, so reading this book was a personal gamble. I loved the beginning where you are introduced to one of the greats in world history. The politics I took in stride after all it goes with the territory of reading about a Big Man in British politics. I held on with dear life and when the author went more into the depth of Churchill's life, I was hooked. There ...more
Colt Smith
Sep 09, 2015 Colt Smith rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Reading a biography of Winston Churchill has been on my list of things to do for most of adult life. I could never commit to one or had a solid enough recommendation on a single volume to make that commitment.When a co-worker recomended this series to me, I reasoned that at over 3,000 pages in the three volume set, if nothing else it would be thorough. It was.

The first volume is not only a fascinating look at one of the 20th century's most important people, but an in depth history of the Victori
Feb 22, 2008 Rogier rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: history, biography
Oh well, I started to read this one in '01 and then gave up when I found out Wm. Manchester would not be able to complete the last volume, so I switched to reading the Roy Jenkins bio. Now it looks like that last volume will be completed by someone else, and I find myself wanting more background than the Roy Jenkins bio offered. So I'm back at it, and truly, this book is elaborate in terms of providing the background and context of history.

Many of the episodes are priceless in their detail, whic
I really enjoyed this audiobook. The narrator was excellent - really captured Churchill's and others voices. It was certainly a marathon listen, but well worth it.

Narrated by Frederick Davidson

41 hrs and 19 mins

Publisher's Summary

Winston Churchill is perhaps the most important political figure of the 20th 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 hist
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William Raymond Manchester was an American author and biographer, notable as the bestselling author of 18 books that have been translated into 20 languages.He was awarded the National Humanities Medal and the Abraham Lincoln Literary Award.
More about William Manchester...

Other Books in the Series

The Last Lion (3 books)
  • The Last Lion 2: Winston Spencer Churchill Alone, 1932-40
  • The Last Lion 3: Winston Spencer Churchill: Defender of the Realm, 1940-1965 (The Last Lion, #3)

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“It is the definition of an egoist that whatever occupies his attention is, for that reason, important.” 14 likes
“There was, however, a difference between his mood and that of the rest of the cabinet. They felt desperate; he felt challenged.” 4 likes
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