May 28, 2016

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

A huge and brilliant volume, tightly focused on a fascinating and witty statesman and his inner circle. Manchester was a captivating writer, and when a stroke prevented him from finishing the work, Reid stepped in and ably emulated Manchester’s skill at working detail into a compelling narrative. It’s a big book – 1200 pages, or 53 hours in Clive Chafer’s able reading – but it always moves right along.

Churchill seldom bought anything and carried no money; people did that for him, even though he was not rich until his war memoirs made him so. He only took the tube one time in his ninety year life, most of it spent in London. He was often hilarious and always eloquent, and he managed to stuff a hell of a lot of work into a day.