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Subject: Paul Reid finishes Manchester`s "Last Lion" rss

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K G
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Perhaps some mention of this was made in the past, but it`s news I`ve just heard.

William Manchester was perhaps my favorite historian and, as many of you know, he set out to write a complete biography of Winston Churchill. He found himself unable to complete the last volume, however, because of health issues and Paul Reid was given all of the draft`s notes.

Apparently it was a bigger job than Reid imagined and the last volume has been years and years in the making.

I can`t wait to read it. Has anyone already done so? Did you enjoy Reid`s style?

Edit: I corrected the spelling of Mr. Reid`s name.
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Steve Arthur
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Re: Paul Reed finishes Manchester`s "Last Lion"
I don't know but if as good as Manchester's book about the Krupps it will be well worth reading..
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Jim Ransom
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My father read it and enjoyed it. However, he hadn't read Manchester's first 2 volumes, so i don't have a comparison of styles.
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This is excellent news. Manchester's writing style was riveting, and I hope Reid's will match it.
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Wendell
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Manchester collected the material but didn't write any of it - so Reid didn't really finish it, he WROTE it. And reviews and articles I have read makes it sound like Reid was simply not up to the task, unfortunately.
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Tom Willcockson
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I dont know, I'm reading it right now and I think it is pretty well done. Read the first volume in the series years ago but not the second. My wife gave me this one for Christmas and I am enjoying reading it in the evenings a little at a time.
 
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joe mcgrath
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Kluvon wrote:
He found himself unable to complete the last volume, however, because of health issues ...


That's putting it rather mildly: he died.

I, too have been awaiting this last volume for ages - I loved the first two books and Churchill is a hero of mine. I also saw that the critics have been unkind, but I'll probably give it a go sometime.
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I really liked The Arms of Krupp and American Caesar by Manchester.
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navigator37 wrote:
Kluvon wrote:
He found himself unable to complete the last volume, however, because of health issues ...


That's putting it rather mildly: he died.

I, too have been awaiting this last volume for ages - I loved the first two books and Churchill is a hero of mine. I also saw that the critics have been unkind, but I'll probably give it a go sometime.


Manchester suffered for some years from memory problems. He just didn`t feel up to finishing the last volume. Despite the onset of his problems, Manchester wrote "A World Lit Only by Fire," a remarkable, though slender, volume.
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Jim Ransom
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billyboy wrote:
I really liked The Arms of Krupp and American Caesar by Manchester.


William Manchester had a very readable style, and he did his homework as an historian. In my opinion, American Caesar was his best effort. But it's very apparent to me that he threw his soul into writing Goodbye Darkness, his memoir of the Pacific war based on his experiences as a US Marine. I don't think you can read it and not be moved. Different from E.B. Sledge's masterpiece, but every bit as worth reading.
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He may have been one of the last scholar-soldiers (marines.)
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Jim Ransom
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Kluvon wrote:
He may have been one of the last scholar-soldiers (marines.)


I hope not. Reminds me of a great passage from Thucydides: "The Nation that makes a great distinction between its scholars and its warriors will have its thinking done by cowards and its fighting done by fools."
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billyboy wrote:
I really liked The Arms of Krupp and American Caesar by Manchester.


In American Caesar, Manchester managed to make me both sympathetic to and pissed off at MacArthur. Pretty good!
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Haven't read the new book by Reid, but as a librarian working both reference and circulation, this book has been repeatedly flying off the shelf (often in the hands of both young and old, although usually in conjunction with other biographic or historic literature). It seems well received by those who have voiced an opinion upon check-in.
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Like several of you, I too read and was enthralled by the first two volumes and anticipated the publication of this book for years--a couple of decades, actually. Manchester was thorough, fair, well researched, and brought a storytelling style to biography that I found captivating.

I read Reid's volume three and finished a few weeks ago. Let me state at the outset that he had a hard act to follow. I can't see how he could have risen to the heights of the first two volumes. It would be akin to having your band take the stage after the Beatles finished their set.

In short, I think he did a credible job. At over 1.000 pages, I would have liked a more thorough treatment of his life after WWII. We all pretty much know the history of his war years as PM. I wanted to read more about how he lost the job so soon after the war and then him reaquiring it in the '50's. But it was as if he rushed through this 'final chapter' of Churchill's life.

My only other criticism is that Reid seemed to quote very extensively from three sources and thus the narrative seemed slightly slanted as a result. Given all the voluminous research he received from Manchester, it gave the appearance that Reid hit those three sources pretty hard possibly at the expense of all the rest.

I had no problem with his writing style but as someone else mentioned above, it has been a long time since I read the first two books so it is hard for me to do a 'compare and contrast'. But I found the book overall to be very enjoyable. But mostly, I'm just glad it is finished and I had the opportunity to see it concluded.

It's like all of us completeness freaks that have to have every game in a series.

The book takes a considerable effort to read due to its length but I don't think anyone can be terribly disappointed that they made the effort.
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I'm fascinated by Churchill's reputation in N.America, where he appears to be held in far greater estimation than in Britain. As my British grandfather (a former army doctor) once remarked; "useful for a time, but a dangerous man."
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HarlemMimeSchool wrote:
I'm fascinated by Churchill's reputation in N.America, where he appears to be held in far greater estimation than in Britain. As my British grandfather (a former army doctor) once remarked; "useful for a time, but a dangerous man."


We appreciate that his mum was American.
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Tom Willcockson
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Quote:
In short, I think he did a credible job. At over 1.000 pages, I would have liked a more thorough treatment of his life after WWII.


Yes I also think that part looks to be a little hurried. On the other hand I am really appreciating that the bulk of the work is on the war years, just not as interested in what he did afterwards. However I think if you were to cover his final years in greater detail (which don't get me wrong I think would be interesting) you really would need to make that a separate fourth volume which, given this man's amazing career, would probably be called for. This volume is so large as it is that unfortunately the binding split on my book part way through and now I have to handle it with the utmost care. However I think there was a book published recently on the post war phase of Churchill's life so perhaps I'll look that one up as well.
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Edward Kendrick
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HarlemMimeSchool wrote:
I'm fascinated by Churchill's reputation in N.America, where he appears to be held in far greater estimation than in Britain. As my British grandfather (a former army doctor) once remarked; "useful for a time, but a dangerous man."


There was a poll recently amongst UK young people (not sure how that was defined) for "Britain's greatest man" and despite competition from such giants as David Beckham, Churchill came comfortably top.

It might be that he was the only historical figure they'd heard of ...
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TomW731 wrote:
Quote:
In short, I think he did a credible job. At over 1.000 pages, I would have liked a more thorough treatment of his life after WWII.


Yes I also think that part looks to be a little hurried. On the other hand I am really appreciating that the bulk of the work is on the war years, just not as interested in what he did afterwards. However I think if you were to cover his final years in greater detail (which don't get me wrong I think would be interesting) you really would need to make that a separate fourth volume which, given this man's amazing career, would probably be called for. This volume is so large as it is that unfortunately the binding split on my book part way through and now I have to handle it with the utmost care. However I think there was a book published recently on the post war phase of Churchill's life so perhaps I'll look that one up as well.


Tom, I use Elmer`s Glue to fix split bindings. It`s not the perfect solution, but it seems to do the trick. I just run a thick bead down the split.
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Tom Willcockson
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Yea thanks, Elmers white glue is good because it is archival quality. Just have to avoid making (too big) a mess of it.
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Here's an excellent interview with Paul Reid about the book and his relationship with William Manchester.

http://www.q-and-a.org/Program/?ProgramID=1423
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I read this in an online review:

I frankly became tired of this book about halfway through, starting to resent its tone and its lack of any of the qualities that made the first two volumes great. The difference between the writing of Manchester and Reid is the difference between wit and flippancy. Snarky comments are no substitute for analysis. For example, Reid notes that a brief rebellion in Parliament was led by Conservative critics of Churchill as war leader, only to propose replacement ministers so patently unsuited to the task that they practically made Churchill's case for him. Reid nowhere raises the speculation that instantly came to my mind, that these leaders may intentionally have suggested buffoons, as a form of political posturing that guaranteed no change. Robert Caro would have asked this question, and dug for answers. William Manchester would have done the same. I'm not sure this ever occurred to Reid.


As far as I'm concerned, the biography ended with "Alone".
 
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