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I am writing this review for both volumes and putting it in both places. This is a well narrated story written by what has been described as the best biographer of the 20th Century about a man who was perhaps the greatest man to live in the 20th Century. What's not to like?
Both volumes have advantages over the other (listed below), but bottom line is that both are marvelous works. I doubt too many will be able to read Volume I without soon proceeding to Volume II. Volume I pluses include a better narrator (***** vs ****) (I was impressed with his mature Churchill voice and amazed that he started with a good child Churchill and gradually aged him into the famous voice we all love!), a more narrative/chronological layout as opposed to more topical, and illumination of the transition of the Victorian age through WWI and up to the Depression. This is a time of which I knew little relative to what came before and after. Volume II has the obvious advantage of fleshing out the rise of Hitler and explaining how the Appeasers were a product of their times.
I know it will take close to 80 hours to listen to both, but the time will fly and you will wish you could listen to Volume III, which was unfortunately never written. Both books are great though I slightly preferred the first volume.
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Perhaps you will be tempted to tune in to Richard Brown's reading of _The Last Lion_, as I have. I wouldn't recommend it for bed time. In my experience it's impossible to stop the playback... one can't wait to see what will happen next. Brown's voice is appropriate to the age covered in the book - almost over the top by today's standards, but I believe you'll find it perfectly natural before long. It soon ceases to do anything but enhance the natural interest of the material.
_The Last Lion_ is a famous biographical work. The reputation is deserved. William Manchester does not shy away from a critical consideration of Churchill's jingoism, egoism, changing positions, et cetera, but nonetheless the figure that arises from imperial boyhood into a peerage long sought - and influence - is right in all of the big things as his changing nation faces the new century. Winston's genius with its tongue is revelled in through the book in extensive brief quotes. Truly this was a great man.
31 of 31 people found this review helpful