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The Last Lion: Winston Spencer Churchill: Visions of Glory, 1874-1932

(The Last Lion #1)

4.42  ·  Rating details ·  10,171 ratings  ·  539 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
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Hardcover, 992 pages
Published May 30th 1983 by Little, Brown & Company (first published January 1st 1983)
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Patrick Fay The books stand on their own. But you should keep in mind that Manchester did not finish the third book. After a stroke he handed the research off to…moreThe books stand on their own. But you should keep in mind that Manchester did not finish the third book. After a stroke he handed the research off to Paul Reid. The third book is not nearly as well written as the first two. However, it does cover the time period that many people would find most fascinating. The books are all incredible. I recommend reading them all in order if you can(less)

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4.42  · 
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 ·  10,171 ratings  ·  539 reviews


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Matt
Nov 16, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
“England’s new leader…would have to be a passionate Manichaean who saw the world as a medieval struggle to the death between the powers of good and the powers of evil, who held that individuals are responsible for their actions and that the German dictator was therefore wicked. A believer in martial glory was required, one who saw splendor in the ancient parades of victorious legions through Persepolis and could rally the nation to brave the coming German fury. An embodiment of fading Victorian ...more
Matt
Nov 13, 2012 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
Michael
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
Pat
May 25, 2007 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
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Sweetwilliam
Nov 19, 2016 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
Dan
Oct 15, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
The Last Lion Vol 1 is a well researched biography covering Winston's childhood, his military career, his early periods as a statesman in several of the highest positions in government and then the near fatal accident in NYC in 1932 when he was 57.

If you are a biography aficionado, this series is considered required reading. I put off this bio for so long both because of the length and I thought I knew everything about Churchill, which I didn't. I have read several Manchester books previously a
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Lizzy
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!

Bettie
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
...more
Mary
Jan 16, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: history
William Manchester is a master of biography. And his subject Winston Churchill was one of the most gifted men ever to walk on earth. An excellent writer and debater, he was also able to paint and build brick walls. His immense personality could both charm and alienate people. Through his force of personality, he swayed many debates in the House of Commons.

This volume is the first of three covering Winston’s life from birth up through the early 1930’s. Like every man he had his flaws. His temper
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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
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Brian Eshleman
Jun 02, 2013 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
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Mahlon
Oct 28, 2008 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
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Mikey B.
Feb 10, 2013 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
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Chrissie
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
John Bohnert
Nov 26, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Both the subject and the author's way with words made this first volume a very engrossing read. I'm going to start on volume two of THE LAST LION today.
Fr. Peter Mottola
Sep 10, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: overdrive
A friend described this trilogy as his favorite book. I can see why. I walked away from this first volume with a much more vivid impression of 19th century England than I had previously. Manchester has a marvelous ability to give the "background" one needs to understand Churchill's life in such a way that it supports the main story, rather than make one feel like one is completing "homework" before beginning the biography in earnest.
As someone who has not (yet) read a lot of 20th century histor
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Sebastien
Nov 08, 2008 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
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Andrew
Aug 16, 2012 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
Lucas
This book is a great achievement in the art of writing and historical research. Manchester is a master!

Churchill is an endless source of inspiration and a role model of manliness. The first book of the series Last Lion shows the first 58 years of Churchill's life. Manchester demonstrates that even if Churchill wouldn't become the second world war hero he would be remembered as a remarkable man and politician.

In my opinion, the most interest features of this first volume are the follows:

1) The de
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Janine Urban
Jan 01, 2013 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.
Doug Bradshaw
Apr 29, 2013 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.
Janis
Sep 01, 2007 rated it really liked it
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.
Carol Bakker
Aug 04, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Carol Bakker by: Mitch Madsen
After listening to 32 discs, I wish there were a way to follow up by reading an abridged printed version — an abridgment selected by me that I somehow (by wrinkling my nose?) marked as I listened.

I wonder: are five stars accurate? There were moments of slogging through a detailed analysis of something or other. (My husband and I could only listen to one disc at a time while driving.) But the finds far outnumbered the grinds. Reading this trilogy gives an amazing overview of the first sixty year
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Logan
Sep 22, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Absolutely wonderful work. Brilliantly and engagingly written, covering a staggering amount of material. His grasp of the time period and how it weaves through Churchill's life and actions is astonishing. His painting of the background of events and the way things were is masterful, and of course Churchill himself is fascinating. Highly recommended.
John
Jan 08, 2014 rated it it was amazing
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 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
Frank
Jun 05, 2013 rated it it was amazing
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
Colt Smith
Feb 20, 2015 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
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Leana M
Feb 24, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Wow. This immense biography covers more than just the life and times of William Churchill. Covering the historical situations surrounding the world with an in depth account of the Victorian Era through and beyond WWI. Major players of the world such as Gandhi, Mussolini, Stalin, and Hitler are presented for a complete overview of the state of the world as it develops during these years. Raymond Manchester is an extraordinary writer of history. The details in this book were fascinating especially ...more
Patrick Mcfate
Apr 01, 2011 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
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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.

Other books in the series

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