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The Last Lion: Winston Spencer Churchill, Vol. 3:

Defender of the Realm, 1940–1965

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60 day rental Learn more

A New York Times Bestseller

One of the 2012 Kirkus Reviews’ Best Books: Biography

A 2012 Booklist Editors’ Choice Selection: Biography

A 2012 Barnes & Noble Best Book for Nonfiction

A 2012 BookPage Top Pick

A Kirkus Reviews “New and Notable Title”, November 2012

A BookPage Book of the Day in December 2012

Winner of an AudioFile Earphones Award

Spanning the years 1940 to 1965, Defender of the Realm, the third volume of William Manchester’s The Last Lion, picks up shortly after Winston Churchill became prime minister—when his tiny island nation stood alone against the overwhelming might of Nazi Germany. The Churchill portrayed by Manchester and Reid is a man of indomitable courage, lightning-fast intellect, and an irresistible will to action. This volume brilliantly recounts how Churchill organized his nation’s military response and defense, compelled President Roosevelt to support America’s beleaguered cousins, and personified the “never surrender” ethos that helped the Allies win the war, while at the same time adapting himself and his country to the inevitable shift of world power from the British Empire to the United States.

More than twenty years in the making, The Last Lion presents a revelatory and unparalleled portrait of this brilliant, flawed, and dynamic leader. This is popular history at its most stirring.

Editorial Reviews

“Before his death in 2004, an ill Manchester asked former Cox newspapers journalist Reid to take his research notes and finish writing the final volume of his trilogy. The long-delayed majestic account of Winston Churchill’s last twenty-five years is worth the wait…Manchester (and Reid) matches the outstanding quality of biographers such as Robert Caro and Edmund Morris, joining this elite bank of writers who devote their lives to one subject.”

Publishers Weekly (starred review)

“A masterful completion of William Manchester’s exhaustive biography of Winston Churchill. This pairing of gifted authors and expert narrator turns an initially intimidating audiobook into that perfect choice for a long winter’s listen.”

AudioFile

“A big book but reads easily…The finished book is a worthy conclusion to what must be considered one of the most thorough treatments of Churchill so far produced. An essential conclusion to Manchester’s magnum opus.”

Library Journal (starred review)

“General readers, as always, will be taken by [Manchester’s] boundless abilities as a storyteller…Essential for Manchester collectors, WWII buffs, and Churchill completists.”

Kirkus Reviews (starred review)

“Discover the steadfast courage and military brilliance of Winston Churchill during his years as prime minister when he alone faced the threat of Nazi Germany and vowed to ‘never surrender.’”

BookPage

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3 out of 3 (100%) recommend this product

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    • 5/5

    Churchil +

    Lauren M October 1, 2015
    A hefty read, but well worth it for anyone interested in WWII history, Churchill, Britain during the war, or British/American relations in general. It’s extremely well written and narrated with the precision and clarity of a vintage BBC announcer. As an American, it almost felt like a behind the scenes look at the war since it was coming from the British perspective – definitely eye opening to see the time period covered from that angle. I expected it to be heavily about Churchill, and it is, but it has so much context and description of the era, the mechanics of the war, the coordination with other countries, and the state of Europe itself during that time, there’s plenty to break up any heaviness of a straight forward biography. Definitely a time commitment, but a fascinating and educating one. It’s clear why this volume was so long anticipated and so eagerly welcomed. Churchill is an interesting character but the insights on the war and the time period elevate this to something really special.
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    • 5/5

    Narration Is Top Notch

    Nelle May 8, 2014
    Except for some parts at the beginning that author Paul Reid narrates, Clive Chafer reads this entire book and does such a fine job that I got completely hooked. I was only going to sample it and listen to the beginning because of hearing and reading so much buzz about it in the media when the volume 3 was finally published. I had no intention of spending 50 hours on it. But I got so caught up in it that I not only finished the whole thing but actually looked forward to it each day and was sad to come to the end. A long history book is never boring when the narrator can make you believe you’re listening to the voice of Winston Churchill and other Brits as well as President Roosevelt and other Americans. The book is extremely well written. Like most good books, it opens with a strong beginning, in this case, telling what a beautiful spring was unfolding in Europe that year—which is so ominous to those of us looking back from their future, knowing what horror was in store for Europeans at the very beginning of World War II. And being an American, I was intrigued to hear history unfold from the British point of view, definitely different from the usual American version—and a humbling experience as well, hearing what the English citizens went through compared to us and hearing about the delays we offered instead of help and about the shoddy old warships that we did finally send to England, a good number of which sank before they even reached there. Yet it’s worth getting a more balanced viewpoint. Overall, having such a good experience with this book makes me want to read more history and makes me want to hear more narrations by Clive Chafer.
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    • 4/5

    An engaging history that offers great insight into a largely forgotten but important person and period

    Robert February 23, 2013
    I am an avid user of audio books and this would be the longest title I have ever purchased. However, despite its length it remains an interesting and well narrated title with plenty of entertaining points throughout the book. Churchill, despite playing such a serious role in history provides considerable humour with his quips and one liners. There is a lot to learn apart from Churchill the man. There is a detailed account of the period from all perspectives, the home front in England, the war itself covering, France, Dunkirk, Norway, the Atlantic war, the Eastern Front, North Africa and Japanese campaigns, etc. The development of the relationship and lend lease with America is included. Its an amazing read and will not bore you although it does take some considerable time and effort to get through and if you can't spare the time, but if you have any interest in Churchill and the period then you won't be disappointed.
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Author Biography

William Manchester (1922–2004) was an award-winning American author, biographer, and historian and a professor emeritus of history at Wesleyan University. Among his many New York Times bestselling books are A World Lit Only by Fire; The Glory and the Dream; American CaesarGoodbye, Darkness; and The Last Lion, a multivolume biography of Winston Churchill. He was also a recipient of the National Humanities Medal and the Abraham Lincoln Literary Award.

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Reader Biography

Clive Chafer is a professional actor, director, producer, and theater instructor. Originally from England and educated at Leeds and Exeter universities, he has performed and directed at many theaters in the San Francisco area, where he makes his home, and elsewhere in the US. In 1993 he founded TheatreFIRST, Oakland’s professional theater company, where he served as artistic director until 2008. 

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