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1. The Last Lion: Winston Spencer
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1. The Last Lion: Winston Spencer Churchill: Visions of Glory, 1874-1932
by William Manchester
list price: $50.00
our price: $33.00
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0316545031
Catlog: Book (1983-05-30)
Publisher: Little, Brown
Sales Rank: 10491
Average Customer Review: 4.98 out of 5 stars
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Book Description

Part One Of Two Parts

It is hard to imagine anything new about Churchill. But in this life of the young lion, William Manchester brings us fresh encounters and anecdotes. Alive with examples of Churchill's early powers, THE LAST LION entertains and instructs.

"Manchester is not only master of detail, but also of `the big picture.'...I daresay most Americans reading THE LAST LION will relish it immensely." (National Review) ... Read more

Reviews (48)

5-0 out of 5 stars Volume 1 of the life of Winston Spencer Churchill
"The Last Lion: Visions of Glory, 1874-1932," is the first of William Manchester's projected three-volume biography of Winston Spencer Churchill. I found it a superbly crafted, supremely well researched account of the first 58 years of the life of the 20th century's greatest statesman. With wit and candor, Manchester chronicles Churchill from his earliest days as the neglected and troublesome first child of Lord Randolph Churchill and his American-born wife, Jennie, to his entry into the political "wilderness" over home rule in India in 1932. Manchester's portrait of his subject is balanced and objective; we see Churchill at his finest: a courageous (almost to the point of foolhardiness) army officer, and later a gifted Member of Parliament who became one of the youngest Cabinet ministers in British history. We also see him at his worst: a Cabinet minister with appalling political judgment at times, quick to meddle in other ministers' affairs while neglecting his own, and with an uncanny ability to alienate not only his political foes, but almost all his political allies as well.

In addition to a wonderfully written chronology of Churchill's life, Manchester provides an overview of the times in which Churchill lived. I was fascinated by the author's account of Victorian England -- its culture, its mores, and its view of itself in the world. The sections which describe Churchill's times make highly entertaining and absorbing reading by themselves.

"The Last Lion: Visions of Glory, 1874-1932," clearly shows why William Manchester is one of the pre-eminent biographers at work today. The book is written with obviously meticulous scholarship, insightful analysis, and crisp, sparkling prose; I have yet to find a better account of Churchill's life. Now, if only Mr. Manchester would give us that third volume . . .

5-0 out of 5 stars Churchill Saves the World
Having read Manchester's incomparable biography of Winston Churchill, one is struck by the supernatural, almost superhuman aspect of his subject. Churchill is, in my humble opinion, one of the greatest politicians of the twentieth century -- or as Manchester says, The greatest nineteenth century politician who remained to challenge his sinister twentieth century counterparts.

This first novel of his early years show the struggle, his toil, his stolen successes, his vision ignored or supplanted by lesser men. Reviewing the life and decisions of Churchill reveal a striking fact -- he was almost never wrong. A casual reader might attribute this to "common sense", but those who drink history more deeply are less likely to accept such a simple view. To one living at the time, Hitler had many facets of his leadership that would attract many modern readers -- he was the first leader of a major nation to embrace enviornmentalist policies, the first to embrace technological development as a means to improving national utility, and most importantly the only leader to move his nation out of the great depression. It is a measure of Churchill's greatness that he saw through all of these things, and was the only - literally the only - major political figure in the world to strongly and resolutely attack the emergence of the German National Socialist Movement before, during, and after its rise to power. Prior to reading Manchester's bio, I had assumed that Churchill was in some way right for the wrong reasons, as so often occurs in history, and his subsequent election as Prime Minister was the result of his record, regardless of his reasons. I was wrong.

Manchester shows us that Churchill got it almost exactly right: conservative enough to defend his principles, yet liberal enough to innovate and excel at innovation throughout his carreer. Unshakably rooted in his beliefs, and sincerely willing to sacrifice his self interest to them (a trait which, I confess, I have seen no more than once or twice in historical oand modern individuals), he simultaneously was able to marry this rocklike character with an amazing ability to innovate: technologically, strategically, and politically. Manchester does him service by this excellent bio, to which my only question is, when is the last installment due

5-0 out of 5 stars The Man of the Century
Manchester's work is extraordinary and a journey into the making of a great leader of the world that was the 20th century.

Churchill was a man of vision and he was molded in his early years. Manchester makes a case for his growth coming in the Boar War period.

There is a beginning of greatness. Manchester introduces us to the world that formed this great man.

4-0 out of 5 stars Understand the most Remarkable Man of the 20th Century
This is an excellent book on the first half of the life of a truly exceptional man. Mr Manchester's book deals with Winston's early life and his rise to power and fame. I particularly liked the vignettes about life at the turn of the century; the social situation, the class struggle, the morals of the upper and the working classes.

Just reading it makes you feel somehow inadequate against the intellectual brilliance, courage and sheer energy of the subject.

It would have merited a full five star rating but for two faults. It should have been shorter. It as if every single little titbit of information had to be written out in full, rather than filtered through the critical intellect that Mr Manchester undoubtedly possesses. Instead, he quotes too many letters, reports and speeches in full when his job as a biographer was to summarise them.

The second fault was Mr Manchester's tendency to lionise his subject. Brilliant he may have been, but a bit more acknowledgement of Winston's faults would have made him more human and reachable.

But this is nitpicking. Overall the book is a good read on a subject well worth reading about.

5-0 out of 5 stars Read both books - Best history/biography ever!
Many lists say the best historical biography is "Disraeli" by Blake. This is better. Way better.

The only author that has ever kept me glued to a book as much as Manchester's is Michael Crichton. It's odd to compare a biography to Jurassic Park, but Manchester makes history come alive. He spends a lot of time and care setting the "culture" in a way that is not pedantic or boring (unlike some Civil War histories I've read!). And then he builds on Churchill's stories in a way that makes you feel like you're in Churchill's shoes, with the same issues and challenges.

Unfortunately, there is no Volume 3 about the war years. Manchester's illness prevented this. What a sad loss to history.

Read Vol 1 and 2. You won't regret it. ... Read more


2. The Last Lion: Winston Spencer Churchill, Alone 1932-1940
by William Manchester
list price: $50.00
our price: $33.00
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0316545120
Catlog: Book (1988-10-28)
Publisher: Little, Brown
Sales Rank: 33421
Average Customer Review: 4.91 out of 5 stars
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Reviews (23)

5-0 out of 5 stars An Excellent History of Churchill's Wilderness Years
As one reads William Manchester's second volume on Churchill, one is struck by Churchill's uncanny grasp of the threat of Nazi Germany, and his many attempts to warn Britain of its peril. Like Cassandra in Greek mythology, though, Churchill's predictions are not believed, and he is only included in the War Cabinet when war was inevitable. William Manchester's book is thoroughly researched, and is at least as good as that of Churchill's official biographer, Martin Gilbert, with one important difference: Manchester's book is written on a far larger canvas, and the level of detail he is able to devote to Churchill is far greater -- and the subject is more than worthy of it. Mandatory reading for anyone studying Churchill, a good prelude to read before reading Churchill's own five volume history of World War II in that it gives insight into Churchill's mind. On a personal level, I know that Mr. Manchester is advanced in years, and I cannot help thinking, in my selfishness as a historian, that I hope he completes volume III soon. It would be a tragedy if the task of completing this wonderful history proves to be too much for him.

5-0 out of 5 stars Current Events
As the crisis in Iraq developed in the post-911 days, I found myself thinking more and more about this second volume of the life of Winston Churchill. I was reminded of the essential differences between appeasement and the need to take agressive measures to stop agression. William Manchester does an outstanding job of spelling out the state of the world at this time leading up to World War II. He details, from a British perspective, every move as we watch disappointedly from an historical vantage point. Churchill's eventual elevation to Prime Minister comes not as a triumph, but more like an act of desperation. All along the way, knowing who the bad guy is (and just how bad he really is) we are disappointed (or is it disgusted) at each step of retreat.

I am in the midst of reading Shirer's "The Rise and Fall of the Third Reich" and, while I can sing it's praises, it does not do as impressive job on this subject as Manchester's "Alone". Someting about Manchester's writing makes you feel that you're in the midst of everything that's happening.

I can think of no better a time to read this book than in the present world political situation. I'll leave it to the reader to decided how similar the Iraq situation is to that of Nazi Germany. However, the various ways the world and this country react to the situation brings Europe of the 1930's to mind.

5-0 out of 5 stars A Captivating Read
As Hitler was gaining power in Germany, Churchill was warning his fellow countrymen of the dangers thatlurked. He did not receive a listening hear. At a speech before a University audience in Oxford when he told the crowd it was "essential for us to be safe in our island home," the audience burst into laughter. The laughter grew so raucous that Churchill could not continue. These are the sort of snapshots that Manchester captures that makes this book such a delightful read.

Churchill was written off more than once. This second snapshot describes what happened:
"Joseph Stalin, receiving a British delegation headed by Nancy and George Bernard Shaw, had bluntly asked her about Winston's political prospects.Her eyes widened. 'Churchill?' she had said. She gave a scornful little laugh and replied, 'Oh, he's finished.'" These are just two examples of the thoroughness of this well-written book. The author takes a complicated era and makes it understandable.

4-0 out of 5 stars Wilderness Years
I liked this treatise on the life of Churchill. His wilderness years when those who treated him with disdain thought of him as a wash up.

This was his time to bide his time, in order to gain his composure for his future use.

Anyone in the oxbow of life can gain insights on how to use time rightly until the attainment of a goal.

Churchill did not just bide his time, he used it to his advantage.

One day I hope Manchester finishes volume III.....

5-0 out of 5 stars Superstar
I've read a lot of books in my life, but I guess I had to wait to find one of the best books I've ever read. It is hard to believe that a "history book" could be a page-turner, but I literally could not put the first volume down. Or the second. Manchester is a fantastic writer and his admiration and enthusiasm for the Last Lion is evident. Do yourself a very big favor and read these books, Vol. 1 and 2. I sure hope there's a Vol. 3 in the works. ... Read more


3. The Wit & Wisdom of Winston Churchill
by James C. Humes, Richard M. Nixon
list price: $12.95
our price: $9.71
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0060925779
Catlog: Book (1995-01-25)
Publisher: Perennial
Sales Rank: 4010
Average Customer Review: 4.42 out of 5 stars
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Book Description

An enormously entertaining compendium of witticisms, anecdotes, and trivia about Winston Churchill by a former White House speechwriter. ... Read more

Reviews (19)

5-0 out of 5 stars A Delightful Book About A Great Man........
Winston Churchill is one of the greatest men of our or any other time. His intelligence, wit, humor and clarity of thought is well captured in this great little book. It's broken down into several sections and it's a quick read. It's a book that I keep going back to!

5-0 out of 5 stars Reader from Boston, MA
This book is an excellent compendium of the wit of Winston Churchill. Often acerbic, frequently self-deprecating, but always humorous and witty while exactly on point, Churchill's humor and wit collected in this book would be of great value even to professional comedy writers. The book also tells much about the man, Churchill, himself, and his inner strength, sense of proportion, his mastery of the English language and his uncanny ability to use the English language masterfully and to its maximum affect -- the qualities that made Churchill such an effective and potent world leader during the bleakest days of World War II.

5-0 out of 5 stars Power of Words in the Majestic Battle of Ideas
In this book, James C. Humes gives his audience an excellent opportunity to conjure up a mental picture of Winston Churchill and his legacy. As a renaissance man, Churchill was more than a skilled politician and a gifted soldier. Perhaps more importantly, Churchill was a man of inspired words, whose work was ultimately crown by the Nobel Prize in Literature in 1953. Churchill often was far from politically correct and did not hesitate to say, write and do what he thought was right. Churchill's bluntness did not make him dear to everybody.

Humes first brings to light many of the great thoughts of Churchill in "Observations and Opinions." Humes classifies key words alphabetically without giving context so that readers can easily find a quote of their liking about a specific subject. Some readers might get frustrated about it if they are not familiar with the key milestones in the life and career of Churchill. These readers can read books such as "Churchill a Life", "Churchill a Study in Greatness", "Clementine Churchill The Biography of a Marriage" or "Winston and Clementine The Personal Letters of the Churchills" to fill in the gaps in their knowledge of Churchill for that purpose.

Humes forges ahead in a similar way in "Orations and Perorations", "Coiners of Phrases", "Saints and Sinners" and "Escapades and Encounters." In these sections, Humes is usually very good at giving his audience the context so that readers better understand where Churchill was coming from. Hours of fun and laughter are virtually guaranteed, especially in "Escapades and Encounters."

Churchill's witticism, wisdom and oratory probably reached their climax in the faithful summer of 1940 when Britain stood alone against the Nazi monster. Churchill galvanized by his words and actions the civilized world to soldier on when the horizon seemed hopelessly bleak. As President Franklin Roosevelt said to his aide Harry Hopkins after listening to one of Churchill's radio broadcasts during that period: "As long as that old bastard is in charge, Britain will never surrender." The words of Churchill will continue to resonate for a long time in the heart and soul of humanity. Churchill's words will further shine like diamonds in the night when humanity loses hope from time to time.

5-0 out of 5 stars Your finest hours will be spent reading this book!!!
Be forewarned. The words of Sir Winston Churchill are not for everyone. If you are too timid, sensitive, politically correct, Victorian in outlook, or do not drink, you are not the ideal audience for this book. However, if you love stirring speeches, great epigrams, and explosive wit, then Winston is your man. Divided into several sections, the first deals with epigrams concerning subjects in general, for example; History--"A nation that forgets its past has no future." The next section deals with excepts from his most famous speeches: Their Finest Hour, Blood, Sweat, and Tears, etc. Then, Coiner of Phrases, a section dealing with famous words or sayings first attributed to him, such as Destroyer, for "light search and destroy vessel." Next, Saints and Sinners, a section reserved for his opinions of the great (and nearly great) of the world; his opinion of former Prime Minister David Lloyd George: "He could talk a bird out of a tree." Finally, the last (and best) section, Escapades and Encounters (aka Winston's Wit). Yes, here we have the famous Lady Nancy Astor story (I won't spoil it for you here), another famous (and politically incorrect) encounter with Labourite Bessie Braddock, and the hilarous story The World Is Not My Oyster, in which the eighty-six year old Churchill blames his indisposition on the oysters served at the Savoy Grill, not the numerous glasses of wine he consumed there. So, grab a glass of your favorite port or sherry (or a snifter of brandy, if you must), sink into a comfortable chair with a favorite snack and this book, and INDULGE YOURSELF. Trust me, it will be one (or more) of your finest hours.

5-0 out of 5 stars Words, wit, Winston, Wow !
I am a big fan of these types of collections, and have been distressed in recent years as series publishers have pumped them out. James C. Humes, however, avoids the path of ready material and produces a book of Churchilliana as comprehensive and broad as the man himself.

There are all the favorites here: the Lady Nancy Astor tea story, the acerbic prepositional rejoinder to the supercilious editing of an assistant, the choice between sherry and adultery, and so on. More importantly, one begins to acquire a notion of the extent to which Churchill, as Shakespeare before him did, has shapped our language, our thoughts, and our clich├ęs: "trade no aid", Iron Curtain, and "blood, sweat, and tears."

Every page is a gem, and this is the perfect book for bed or bathroom, if you are a lover of words, wit, and Winston.

p.s. The very nice, concise introduction by Richard M. Nixon is a quirky little joy as well. ... Read more


4. Long Sunset: Memoirs of Winston Churchill's Last Private Secretary
by Anthony Montague Browne, Anthony Montague Browne
list price: $55.00
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0304344788
Catlog: Book (1997-09-01)
Publisher: Trafalgar Square
Sales Rank: 1871584
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5. All We Are Saying: The Last Major Interview with John Lennon and Yoko Ono
list price: $12.95
our price: $9.71
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0312254644
Catlog: Book (2000-12-08)
Publisher: St. Martin's Griffin
Sales Rank: 38759
Average Customer Review: 5 out of 5 stars
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Amazon.com

John Lennon could be angry, as he is in Lennon Remembers: The Full Rolling Stone Interviews from 1970, and nasty, as proven by Albert Goldman's brilliant, scathing The Lives of John Lennon.

But he could also be charming, smart, and extraordinarily witty, as he is in his last interview, published in book form as All We Are Saying. Co-interviewee Yoko Ono is charm-free but valuable, because she sparks the conversation and brings up fascinating stuff that Lennon wished she hadn't, like their mad plots to kidnap her daughter from her ex-husband. As interviewer David Sheff's tape rolls, John and Yoko's anecdotes flow effortlessly: the joys of making their 1980 comeback album, Double Fantasy; the mortifying horrors of John's "lost weekend" in L.A. with Harry Nilsson; John's interestingly twisted family life; John and Yoko and Paul's last get-together, watching Saturday Night Live the night producer Lorne Michaels offered the Beatles $3,200 to reunite on the show (they almost got in a cab and did it!).

Best of all is Lennon's song-by-song account of who wrote which famous tunes and where they came from. "Strawberry Fields" contains an entire childhood memoir, and the production reflects Paul's alleged "sabotage" of Lennon's work. "Please Please Me" was based on a Roy Orbison melody and Bing Crosby's punning song title "Please (Lend an Ear to My Pleas)." The "element'ry penguins" in "I Am the Walrus" refer to idiots like Allen Ginsberg who chant "Hare Krishna" worshipfully. "Hey Jude" was Paul's song comforting John's son Julian when John left his family for Yoko, and Paul's unconscious, reluctant farewell to his writing partner ("go out and get her").

Lennon had been publicly silent and artistically dormant for five years before these interviews, and he was just bursting with the exhilaration of the rebirth of his imagination days before his death. Reading this book is like sharing a day in the life of a very happy man. --Tim Appelo ... Read more

Reviews (12)

5-0 out of 5 stars essential reading
This book is basically a re-issue of 'The Playboy Interviews With John Lennon & Yoko Ono - The Final Testament" (Berkley Books, New York, 1982, ISBN 0-425-05989-8) with a new preface. It contains the last interviews with John & Yoko conducted in September 1980 (first published in the December 1980 issue of Playboy) and is absolutely essential reading for any Beatles fan.
The interviews stand out for their honesty and frankness and provide (among other things) a very good insight into John's views of The Beatles. The part where John discusses almost every released Beatles' song is a joy to read and read again.
Of course John's relation with Yoko also gets ample exposure.
If this book is still missing from your collection, get it now!

5-0 out of 5 stars Very moving
Right before his death in 1980, John Lennon gave his most open and candid interviews. In 1980, Lennon was out of the public limelight for 5 years, was happily married, had a son, and his comeback album Double Fantasy was selling well. Previous interviews were usually marred by his overhwelming sense of anger, cynicusm anbd political activism that almost got him deported in the early 70s. With that behind him, Lennon was ready to move forward with life, and candidly talked about his troubled youth, his inspiration from rock and roll, his time with the Beatles, his solo career, Yoko, and his plans for the future. You read htis and think "oh how nice, he has finally found himself, and he's finally happy," but then unfortunately you feel sad at the same time, considering the events that happened right after these interviews. It's very sad and a letdown because he was so optimistic with quotes like "and I'll continue to do what I'm doing until I'm dead which hopefully won't be for a very long time."

Even though his bliss was tragically cut short, these interviews with John Lennon serve as a good epitaph of his life, and even serve him better than most of his uneven solo career.

5-0 out of 5 stars A must have for any Lennon fan
John Lennon gave only two lengthy, in-depth interviews in his life. The first was in 1970 to Rolling Stone magazine and his final interview was given in 1980 to Playboy, which is reproduced here. Both are instructive to read, especially when you contrast their tone and content. The Lennon in the 1970 Rolling Stone interview had just left the Beatles and was trying desperately to convince the interviewer and the public that it just didn't bloody matter. Though history has shown Lennon emerged from the Beatles break-up much more undamaged emotionally than McCartney, the dissolution of his band was bound to leave some scars. John puts up a bit of a front here and I fear he doth protest too much, especially when he says he can't remember much about the Beatles and didn't think they were that great of a band to begin with.

In 1980, John was coming out of his self-imposed "house husband" exile and had recorded his first record in five years. The most interesting chapters of the interview are undoubtedly his thoughts about the Beatles and his individual bandmates. Whereas in 1970, John claimed Lennon and McCartney rarely collaborated on a song post-1964, he corrects this in these '80 recollections. He tells some wonderful stories about Ringo and how he helped George with the lyrics to Taxman in 1966. He also talks about how hurt he was when George omitted reference to him in his memoirs.

These interviews should be an integral part of any Lennon collection and makes for some excellent reading. Whether you've grown up on Lennon or are new to him, this is an indispensable tool in trying to understand his mindset just before he was senselessly murdered by Mark David Chapman on the sidewalk in front of the Dakota. What a terribly dark day that was.

5-0 out of 5 stars It's like sitting at John's table and conversing.
This is not a literary classic,and I normaly do not read books about celebraties, but this paperback is just great. John Lennon goes through many of the Beatle songs and lets you know who did what, and what he thought about each song. Many little story's, and some verbal feedback on his solo album's. I cannot say I have/had a favorite Beatle, I liked all four of them and this book is just like sitting down with a Beatle and discussing the old days. It's not a Bio discussing the dark side of a rocker, or a sunny picture of a celebratie. It's just a Beatle on The Beatles. For a baby-boomer like myself it is pure nostalgia. It also re-kindles the old depressing feelings I had when he was murdered back in 1980, and I wonder why anyone would kill a Beatle.

5-0 out of 5 stars Astounding
In my top ten list of books. Moving and inspiring. Read it. ... Read more


6. Churchill: The Unexpected Hero (Lives and Legacies Series)
by Paul Addison
list price: $25.00
our price: $16.50
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0199279349
Catlog: Book (2004-12-01)
Publisher: Oxford University Press
Sales Rank: 154138
Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars
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Book Description

Churchill was the only British politician of the twentieth century to become an enduring national hero. His unique image, complete with V-sign, giant cigar, and outlandish costumes, was as universally famous as Charlie Chaplin's tramp. Now, in Churchill, The Unexpected Hero, Paul Addison offers a major reassessment of this highly charismatic figure, focusing largely on the life-long battle over Churchill's reputation."Churchill's career," notes Addison, "was one of snakes and ladders." The longest of the "snakes" was Gallipoli, the ill-starred military campaign that all but destroyed his career in 1915. After Gallipoli, Churchill's reputation plummeted, and he was attacked as a shameless egotist, an opportunist without principles or convictions, an unreliable colleague, an erratic policy-maker who lacked judgement, and a reckless amateur strategist with a dangerous passion for war and bloodshed. Indeed, throughout his career, at one time or another, Churchill offended every party and faction in the land. Yet all but the most hostile also conceded that he possessed great abilities, remarkable eloquence, and a streak of genius, and with the coming of World War II, the man long excluded from high office--on the grounds that he was a danger to King and Country--became the savior of that country, a truly great war leader. As Churchill's reputation skyrocketed, Addison shows how his heroic self-image was communicated to the world through a stupendous public relations campaign in which oratory, journalism, and history were all pressed into service.Churchill won two great victories in World War II. The first was a victory over Nazi Germany. The second, a victory over the legion of skeptics who derided his judgement and denied his claims to greatness. ... Read more

Reviews (3)

4-0 out of 5 stars The Expected Hero
Paul Addison has written a competent introduction to a lifemore interesting, in the sense of history, than any other of the twentieth century. His book is enlivened by many vivid quotes from a broad assortment of people who had reason to know Winston Churchill.However, I think the author, in an excessive attempt at balance, bends too far over backward in making use of certain highly negative assessments-- such as one offered by Evelyn Waugh at the time of Churchill's death.

While he may have had feet of clay, his name remains remembered in Westminister Abby--and elsewhere over the globe.

5-0 out of 5 stars Good Addition To Sir Winston's Understanding


I've waited the past two months to receive a copy of this short biography on Sir Winston Leonard Spencer Churchill. Reading this book does not disappoint.

This short work, though fair and favorable to Sir Winston, also discusses the controversies of his career. Not everyone in Britain was a fan of Churchill, with some disliking him, with others fearing he would ever have any part of the government. In spite of his monumental contributions to the World War II years, some never lost their mistrust nor dislike of the man.

As an American, I see him as the beacon of hope for war-torn Britain. The best possible man to lead the country during those years, an uncrowned king giving the British people the hope and stamina needed to go on, day by day, overcoming all the suffering World War II brought them. Should he not have been the best, surely there existed no one better. When one thinks today of World War II Britain, one must think of Winston Churchill. They have become intertwined and inseparable.

Even from his earliest years, Churchill always felt he was a person of destiny; so was able to equally accept and act in that role. One must wonder what England would have been without him. Prior to the war he was seen as too strident and hawkish, once the war began however his views and demeanor coincided exactly to the needs of the time. Once the war was over, most of the country turned their backs to him at the polls, feeling he was not up to running a tamer, peacetime government.

Being neither British, nor ignoring his earlier government service prior to World War II (he was 65 in 1940 at time of his becoming Prime Minister with many years of government service behind him), I cannot agree with their post war thinking. And as discussed in this slim volume, I agree with the author that the mistrust and distrust of earlier Liberal versus Tory episode was ever overcome. Too many felt they just could not count on, nor place their full trust in this man.

Winston Churchill is my 'cup of tea'. One of the few 20th Century men of both character and leadership.True, he had both great flaws and great abilities as well; and this book fairly shows both.

Recommended reading.

5-0 out of 5 stars Excellent introduction to Churchill's life and career
Though Winston Churchill has never wanted for biographers, over the past few years the publication of brief studies of his life have come into vogue.Written by some of the leading historians of the period - John Keegan, Geoffrey Best, Stuart Ball - they offer an accessible (if condensed) examination of one of the dominant figures of the twentieth century.Paul Addison's book is the latest addition to their ranks, and one that deserves to be ranked as among the best of these efforts.

Addison argues that the heroic status that Churchill enjoys today belies much of his career.Considered an irresponsible genius by his contemporaries, he was a polarizing figure who was never completely trusted by any side of the political divide.Yet as prime minister during the Second World War he went on to become "the embodiment of national unity," a symbol of Britain's determination to defeat Nazi Germany.Addison provides a more nuanced view of Churchill's career, noting his ideological consistency in a politically turbulent age.When war came, the man and the moment were ideally matched; indeed, many of the traits that his opponents deplored - his enthusiasm for war, his advocacy of impossible ideas, even the fact that he was half American - became assets in the conflict and were keys to his successful leadership.

Developed from his entry on Churchill for the Oxford Dictionary of National Biography, Addison succeeds in providing an insightful introduction to the life of one of the dominant figures of the twentieth century. Though hardly a hagiographical account - he freely acknowledges such faults as Churchill's massive egotism - his portrait is a sympathetic one, depicting the prime minister as "a hero with feet of clay."The result is a good read and a great starting point for anyone seeking to learn more about this fascinating figure. ... Read more


7. Tony Blair: The Making of a World Leader
by Philip Stephens
list price: $25.95
our price: $17.13
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0670033006
Catlog: Book (2004-02-01)
Publisher: Viking Books
Sales Rank: 252021
Average Customer Review: 3.83 out of 5 stars
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Book Description

On March 27, 2003, President George W. Bush said, "America has learned a lot about Tony Blair over the last weeks . . . and we’re proud to have him as a friend." Despite the President’s assertion, the average American knows little about Tony Blair except that he remained one of America’s strongest allies in the war on terror and, ultimately, in the war against Iraq. But why? What is Blair’s agenda? Is he just trying to further England’s cause or his own? And how has this man, the youngest British prime minister in centuries, kept strong ties with such fundamentally different presidents as Clinton and Bush?

Philip Stephens—editor of the UK edition of the Financial Times and a man who has known Blair since the beginning of his career—answers for the first time these questions for the American public. Stephens follows the emerging world leader from his boyhood to his leadership of the Labor party and, along the way, exposes his beliefs, his personality, his shortcomings and contradictions, and his role in shaping a new international order. ... Read more

Reviews (6)

5-0 out of 5 stars a superb portrait of america's best friend
If you want to know why the British prime minister went to war with the US then read this well-written and insightful biography of a great world leader. Stephens produces an elegant account of the personal beliefs, strategic calculations and straightforward loyalty that kept the UK alongside the US in a time of danger. The biography is stylishly-written and full of original material

4-0 out of 5 stars Intro to British politics for Americans
As author Philip Stephens notes, many Americans who saw British prime minister Tony Blair all buddy-buddy with his close friend and philosophical soulmate Bill Clinton were surprised to see Blair in apparently an equally close relationship with George W. Bush just a few months later. Other Americans may simply have wondered who this man was who became Bush's closest ally in the run-up to war in Iraq and his guest during an address to Congress.

Either way, this biography has many of the answers those Americans may be looking for. While it is not the definitive biography of Anthony Charles Lynton Blair -- and it's obviously too early to measure his impact on UK politics, since he's still in office -- this title is nevertheless a good introduction to this major player on the world stage.

Stephens, a writer for the Financial Times newspaper, has had a great deal of access to Blair over the years, including personal interviews specifically for this book. It's not entirely surprising, therefore, that Stephens takes a generally positive tone with his subject. While he does not downplay Blair's weaknesses, including a number of unattractive personality traits, neither is he heavily critical of the man. He also tends to be light in his coverage of others' criticisms of Blair, except insofar as they have shaped the man himself or had a lasting impact on his political outlook or success in office.

No question that this book is more about personality than politics ... but I hasten to add that I think Stephens has done a fine job in showing how Blair's political words and deeds proceed consistently and logically from his personality and his underlying beliefs. Unlike Clinton, Blair does seem to have a solid set of core principles that transcend mere political expedience. Stephens argues that this in part explains Blair's ability to get along with President Bush on matters of global policy. At the same time, Blair is also a consummate and accomplished politician, who recognizes (again, as Stephens argues) that the British prime minister ultimately has little alternative *except* to do all he can to keep the UK's relationship with the US on solid footing, regardless of who is in the White House.

In short, this title may seem a bit too glossy and superficial to Americans who already have some degree of familiarity with British politics and Tony Blair himself. However, for those who don't, or who seek a quick refresher course, Stephens' book has a lot to argue for it. I consider myself relatively conversant with the UK's politics and government, but still learned a lot from reading this. I think other readers may find themselves reaching the same conclusion.

4-0 out of 5 stars Tony Blair 101
Found this to provide a well-written insight into the Prime Minister, and as a relatively short read, it's particularly useful for people like myself who have very little understanding of Blair and the British political system. Stevens chronicles Blair's rise to prominence in New Labour, his struggle to establish the party back to prominence, and his ascension to the true throne of Britain. A brilliant politician who made a relatively favorable impression on most Europeans during his first term, the latter half of the book focuses primarily on Blair's struggle in his second term to persuade an increasingly-skeptical nation to follow his convictions about the moral duty of Britain's government and people in the post 9-11 world, particularly with Britain's current role with Iraq, and his personal relationship with President Bush. Although Stevens is a personal friend of Blair, he is able to paint a relatively objective portrait of the Prime Minister, though more weight is given to Blair's positive achievements.

3-0 out of 5 stars A Decent Enough Biography
It is, of course, far too soon to have any kind of a adequate appraisal of British Prime Minister Tony Blair, but Philip Stephens does a decent enough job at a preliminary evaluation in his new biography. While this is a straightforward, sober narrative, with relatively few Bob Woodward-esque "you-are-in-the-room-as-history-is-being-made" moments, nonetheless it is a lucid, if not always graceful, account of an interesting and complicated politician.

Britain's Labour Party had been out of power for almost two decades when Tony Blair climbed what Benjamin Disraeli once called "the greasy pole" to power. Helped along the way by the sudden death of Labour leader John Smith (whose passing inspires a characteristically purple passage: "The shock of his death was palpable, rippling out from the hushed corridors of Westminster into the nation's living rooms"), Blair became the youngest Prime Minister the nation had seen in more than a century. Taking his cue from Bill Clinton, Blair tried to divest his party of its old leftist baggage (to give just one example, up until the early 90s, according to Hillary Clinton, Labour members addressed each other while speaking at Party Congresses as "Comrades") while keeping what he felt to be the most important of the reforms that Conservative Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher had made in the 1980s. It was a delicate balancing act, made somewhat simpler by the morass the ruling Conservative Party fell into after they ganged up on and deposed Thatcher in 1990, and it ended with Blair winning a smashing victory in 1997, and, more importantly, a second victory in a general election in 2001, enabling him to remain in office longer than any Labour Prime Minister in British history.

It makes for an interesting story, and Stephens tells it well, if you don't mind some godawful prose ("By the time Tony Blair traveled to Camp David in early September the drumbeat of war had become a discordant din"), and the occasional factual inaccuracy (he refers to Alistair Campbell as "a reformed alcoholic" on page 70 and a "recovered alcoholic" on page 91 when he is neither, since there's no such thing as either a reformed or a recovered alcoholic - there are only recovering alcoholics and dry drunks, like George W. Bush).

The most glaring inaccuracy in the book, oddly enough, comes with his description of the events of September 11th. "The images of the first passenger jet ramming into the twin towers brought horror and puzzlement," Stephens writes. "When the second hit, everything stopped." This is, as anyone who remembers the events of that morning knows, nonsense. There were no images of the first plane ramming into the twin towers on television: not that day, anyway. Only a French documentary crew caught that ghastly image on camera, and it wasn't shown on television for months.

But that whopping mistake aside, his analysis of Blair seems right on the money, and he shows that Blair understands that, as the French give themselves the delusion of continuing to be a world power by opposing whatever the United States does, the British can only delude themselves that they are still players on the world scene by signing on to whatever the United States wants. This, among other reasons, helps to explain why a man who was so chummy with Bill Clinton could turn around and be equally as intimate with George W. Bush. About Bush, however, Blair has an insight that Americans would do well to take into consideration: "Don't listen to the words," Blair once said of the current occupant of the White House. "Watch what he does." That's sound advice, and I hope people listen to it.

So I can cautiously recommend this book. It's slim and awkwardly written, but for what it is, a very tentative account of a statesman whose story is far from over, it's worth a look. Better books about Blair will certainly be written in the future, but until then this one will have to do.

4-0 out of 5 stars Good Biography - Answers Many Questions
My first book about Blair was "Thirty Days" by Peter Stothard. That book was about a short time period before the Iraq invasion but it got me interested. Also I read Gerry Adam's book "A Farther Shore" and he describes his interaction with Blair. So I was ready to read a Blair biography. I would say this book is good and explains the basics of Blair's career and what makes him tick. So it was good to read but I would say it rates 4 stars. It is not a barn burner or an epic story, but it is a solid job. It is only 250 pages long and skips many things but it covers the basics.

The author Philip Stephens is well qualified to write this book having been a long time journalist and associate editor at the Financial Times. He has known Tony Blair since Blair was a junior Treasury spokesman for Labour Party in the early 1980's and the author has followed Blair's upward career for 20 years keeping in close contact.

One might assume as I did that this might be a flattering or even a fawning portrayal of Tony Blair. But I think it is fair to say that the book is neutral. It is clearly not nasty or overly negative and if the author had that attitude he would never have been able to interview Blair dozens of times as he claims to have done over a twenty-year period.

In short, I was a bit surprised by the book. It is better than I had hoped; it is a solid and well-crafted biography of a complicated person. The author had access to Blair over decades, he has interviewed many of Blair's old friends and associates, and clearly this is an excellent and well researched book by an outstanding journalist. It explains his half Scottish and half Irish roots, his education, his days at Oxford, his first legal job where he met Cherie, his first contacts with Labour, his first seat as an MP, etc. The book manages to touch on all his main career segments and explain how he has progressed step by step, adapting, learning, grasping power, holding onto power, trying to transform his ideas into action, etc. I did find one interesting aspect and that was how he developed his philosophy on supporting Bush. I recently read Zbigniew Brzezinski's book "The Choice" and many of those ideas are similar to Blair. As a result of the war in Kosovo (and Sierra Leone) Blair concluded that other than France and Britain, the EU was essentially helpless in any military conflict and the relation with the US and later Russia was the key to achieving world peace. For that reason he strongly supported US involvement in Kosovo and later backed Bush in Iraq, and continues to support close US-EU ties, and then expanding those ties.

In any case, this is an interesting book and is highly recommend reading as are the other three books that I mentioned..

Jack in Toronto ... Read more


8. Never Give In: The Extraordinary Character of Winston Churchill (Leaders in Action Series)
by Stephen Mansfield
list price: $9.95
our price: $9.95
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 1581823223
Catlog: Book (2002-11)
Publisher: Cumberland House Publishing
Sales Rank: 110150
Average Customer Review: 4 out of 5 stars
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From the Publisher

Winston Churchill is one of the most extraordinary leaders the tumultuous twentieth century produced. Why did he see so clearly when those around him acted so blindly?What enabled him to stand steadfastly when those around him vacillated? How was he able to inspire whole nations to endure the unendurable and to achieve the unachievable when those around him surrendered all hope? In this remarkable new study of Churchill's legacy, Stephen Mansfield addresses these questions and shows us what lay at the core of Churchill's extraordinary character. The result is an inspiring portrait of a truly great leader. ... Read more

Reviews (14)

5-0 out of 5 stars An example of how character is built in great leaders.
This book was at the same time inspiring and challenging. To learn how Churchill was able to not only rise above his circumstances, but to lead others to do the same, was very encouraging to me.Here was a man who possesed the character that enabled him to come from the type of childhood that could paralyze a person, to a position of leadership which enabled him to call an entire nation to do extraordinary feats. I think that in these times we live in, this book serves as a catalyst to challenge the status quo of mediocre leadership, and perhaps kindle the same passion and vision for great leadership that was embodied in Churchill. Mansfield's style of writing was to me clear, articulate, and was well thought out, which gave it a clear direction. He did not mince words. The format was such that a chapter at a time could be read in one sitting. An excellent read!

5-0 out of 5 stars For Leaders, not avid Historians
In reading the reviews under this section, I find that a reader either loves this book or hates it - there is very little middle ground.

I believe those who discount this book are looking for an objective work on the history of Churchill. While this is a very fascinating subject, the market is saturated with such works, so if that is what you are looking for, go elsewhere...

Those who love the book don't seem to place such emphasis on its historical precision; rather on the value of the information as it pertains to their own lives and leadership styles.

I found this book to contain many great nuggets of wisdom and my highlighter saw much action as I poured through the pages.

I recommend this book to anyone who wants to improve their leadership qualities. If you are looking for a historical masterpiece, this isn't it nor did the author intend it to be...

5-0 out of 5 stars Outstanding Book
I found this book to be a superb look at the man and what made him succeed against all odds. This is an inspirational book and I enjoyed it so much that I have re-read it a second time.
Not only is the book full of insightful and moving comments about Churchill but, it gives a deeper perspective on what made him the undaunting leader that he was. The book is short but wonderful. It does have a Christian perspective and I assume that this is why some readers are putting it down. Nevertheless, Churchill's faith was an important part of his life and ultimately why he sensed his destiny. I love this book.

1-0 out of 5 stars Could the last review possibly be the author?
The last review is title "the best book I've read" - could this possibly be the author himself or at least a relative? Evidence

1) From Nashville TN, which as another read points out is where the author is from.
2) "Best book I've read" is a little too strong even if you did like it. I mean its not exactly Catch 22 or Hamlet.
3) The author advises people to read "other books by Mansfield".
4) Knows a few too many facts about prizes "Amway book of the month" - wow what a recommendation. Amway, not exactly Nobel Prize in Literature (which actually Churchill won, so I think there are is a least one book on Churchill that is better written i.e. anything by the man himself).

Anyway, onto the review itself. I am an avid Churchill fan and have read almost everything on the man - I was therefore initially pleased to see an potentially interesting book on his leadership style. Unfortunately this is the first book in my entire life I have actually thrown in the garbage. It was that bad. Forget about the authors "intrusive voice" as one other reviewer puts it (quite rightly) - it is just poorly written and poorly researched. I urge you to read almost any other book on the great man apart from this.

5-0 out of 5 stars Best Book I've Read
I'm shocked at some of the critical reviews listed here. This is a beautifully written book that tells not only the powerful story of Churchill's life but attempts to understand the spiritual engine behind his greatness. The book was a Gold Medallion Finalist and has been an Amway Selection of the Month. There is far more here than Churchill as spiritual giant. There is the pain and the failure that fashioned the greatness. There are the flaws and the mistakes that make the glory clear. My suggestion: don't miss this book or any of Stephen Mansfield's works. ... Read more


9. Sir Winston Churchill: His Finest Hour
by Speechworks
list price: $15.95
our price: $15.95
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 1885959257
Catlog: Book (1997-09)
Publisher: Speechworks
Sales Rank: 71356
Average Customer Review: 5 out of 5 stars
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Book Description

Featuring major wartime speeches of Winston Churchill.Memorable speeches of Great Britain's Prime Minister from the time England was all but alone, until final victory. ... Read more

Reviews (2)

5-0 out of 5 stars The Best of the Best
The editor's introductions to the speeches are sometimes inaccurate, but Churchill is a wonder to listen to. Highly recommended by anyone with an appreciation for history or literature.

5-0 out of 5 stars Sir Winston Churchill:his finest hour
Those 16 of his finest speaches made during the darkest days of WWII demonstrated courage and inner strength of a great leader in modern world. I and my 11 year old have enjoyed it very much. ... Read more


10. My Early Life: 1874-1904
by Winston Churchill
list price: $15.00
our price: $10.20
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0684823454
Catlog: Book (1996-06-06)
Publisher: Scribner
Sales Rank: 30007
Average Customer Review: 4.77 out of 5 stars
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Amazon.com

The voice of a vanished England speaks from the pages of Winston Churchill's evocative memoir of his first 30 years (1874-1904). The young Churchill inhabits a world in which men fight like hell in meaningless colonial wars--India, Egypt, South Africa--soldiering across the imperial map then extending the hand of friendship to their erstwhile enemy as if they were schoolmates at Harrow. Yet Churchill, born into a privileged family, was not an uncritical supporter of the Victorian status quo. He himself loathed Harrow; an especially amusing chapter skewers the school's emphasis on an irrelevant classical education and rote learning. A firm Tory, he considered himself a friend of the working class, and in 1899 campaigned for parliament with a Socialist colleague. Looking back from his vantage point of 1930, Churchill expresses the most attractive values of the English aristocracy--honor, loyalty, fair play--without giving the impression he wants to live in the past. The book's appeal also stems from its magisterial but colloquial prose. Anyone familiar with recordings of Churchill's rousing speeches during Word War II will hear in their minds' ears that growling timbre and unmistakably patrician accent as they read. Though he would have preferred the peace prize, My Early Life offers good evidence that Churchill's 1953 Nobel for literature was aptly awarded. --Wendy Smith ... Read more

Reviews (13)

5-0 out of 5 stars The Early Life of a Great Man
Winston Churchill does a terrific job detailing his life as a young man in his autobiography, "My Early Life". What make this such a great book is the way Churchill writes: it is rather informal, as if he is talking directly to you. Churchill describes certain experiences in his past so vividly it is like they were fresh in his mind from having just happened. An important feature to this book is that it includes certain incites that cannot be found in any history book. You can learn much from this book. It comes from the mind of an experienced British cavalry officer, journalist, and politician. It is full of stories and special accounts that are never uninteresting. To read and enjoy this book it is not required to know anything about the man, Winston Churchill. Anyone from a high school student to a renowned historian will enjoy reading this book.

5-0 out of 5 stars A "must read" for any fan of Churchill
"My Early Life" is an excellent book. This work is the first in which Winston Churchill offers details on his escape from captivity at the hands of the Boers in 1899, some thirty years after the fact. In an earlier work, "From London to Ladysmith via Pretoria", Churchill gives a great narrative of his capture and internment during that conflict, but had to leave out many of the details of his escape because of the danger a full account would have posed to those people who had helped him in the successful attempt. "My Early Life" also takes a couple of steps back from the original journalistic accounts Churchill wrote, adds more of the background, and reveals the political and social intrigue that formed and guided British military and social circles when the British Empire was at its peak. The best part of "My Early Life", for anyone who is at all familiar with the recorded speeches of Winston Churchill, is that the writing "sounds" like the man, the sentences flowing with an air of granduer that demonstrate the superb command of the English language which Churchill possessed. This is not an easy book to read, but the persistent reader will be rewarded with some of the highest caliber prose ever put to paper by a soldier turned journalist turned politician. This book is a must read.

5-0 out of 5 stars Quite an amazing book
Biographies are often interesting because the book is well written or because the subject had an extraordinary life. Churchill's autobiography is both. Churchill's early life was quite extraordinary. Using his connections (or more likely, his mother's bed partners), he was able to see service at many of the British Empire's hotspots between 1895 and 1905. He glosses over quite a bit. His mother and father both were somewhat dissolute personages but he presents an idealized portrait of them. But he gives in great detail the excitement that he experienced in India and the Sudan, and of course his daring escape from Boer captivity during the South African War.

And the writing! Churchill was a wonderful writer. Despite his upper class origins, his father and mother blew most of their money. Churchill himself enjoyed high living. So Churchill for most of his life lived a rather hand to mouth existence. His writing and lectures are what paid the bills all those years. So his writing was well crafted and entertaining.

5-0 out of 5 stars Get to know Winston Churchill
Anyone who hated school may like this book very much. Churchill was a privileged aristocrat who viewed 'science' and 'democracy' as retrograde developments. And yet, any reader today would be naturally drawn towards the romantic, exciting, exotic picture of an empire that the young winston paints from someone born with common sense, good nature, pride and a hunger to play his part in glorious events.

This book was written by Churchill when he was short of cash - it had to be successful. Also it was written well before he became a world-weary statesman. By so royaly entertaining his readers he betrays himself to us as a pretty down to earth and likeable character - perhaps very different to the complex man he really was, or the very great man he was eventually to become.

One thing strikes me from the book is that Churchill was probably as unforgiving with himself as he was with other people - he comes across as someone with tremendous moral integrity and character. Yet, by the standards of many others he was seen as outspoken, bumptious, obdurate and opinionated, a war monger etc etc.

Progress was never made by reasonable people and this book is a superb way to get to know this mercurial, unorthodox, unlikely hero. It is a story of his coming of age at the turn of the 18th century and is one of those books that all bold adventurous men should perhaps read at some time during their lives.

A fantastic eye witness account of the British empire and the 'larger than life' people behind it.

5-0 out of 5 stars Excellent Autobiography
Winston Churchill's autobiography of his early life is an engrossing and informative read. After reading other biographies of Churchill it is interesting to get the story from the Churchill himself. In addition to learning about Churchill's youth, one gets a portrait of late Victorian England, a world that no longer exists.
The opening chapters are amusing as Churchill humorlessly recalls his difficult days in the British public school system. The middle section covers his military career in India and Africa. It is hard to understand Churchill's zest for war in today's climate. Europe had not seen the destruction total war could wrought. It is miracle he survived all the engagements he took part in. As Churchill points out most believed there would never be a major war at that time and war was still considered to be romantic. He sadly points out that most his former comrades would killed in the Boer War and the First World War. The chapters on Churchill's escape from the Boer POW camp are a real treat.
"My Early Life" is one of the finest autobiographies I have read. One can see why Churchill was awarded a Nobel Prize for literature. His command of the English language is masterful. What gives added relevence to this book is that it was written in the 1920s, little did Churchill know that he would play a central role in stopping Hitler and becoming one of the world's finest spokesman for freedom. ... Read more


11. The Iron Lady: A Biography of Margaret Thatcher
by Hugo Young
list price: $14.95
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0374522510
Catlog: Book (1990-11-01)
Publisher: Noonday Pr
Sales Rank: 324024
Average Customer Review: 5 out of 5 stars
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Reviews (2)

5-0 out of 5 stars Great Biography
There have been few women throughout history whose impact has been so great that they have caused an era to carry their name. In the case of Queen Elizabeth I, the Elizabethian Age was followed several hundred years later by the Victorian Age of Queen Victoria, only to give way in time to Margaret Thatcher and "Thatcherism."

Margaret Thatcher was truly a unique politician--not simply for the fact that she became the first female to head a western democracy, but because she was truly skilled and resolved in the art of politics.

Margaret Thatcher was born into politics. The child of an alderman, she served under Harold Macmillan and in the government of Edward Heath.

Her view of government and her rise to power mirrored, in many ways, the acension of Ronald Reagan in the United States. And, indeed, theirs is considered on the of the closest political alliances in history. Her view of smaller government, whatever the readers point of view, clicked with what England needed after years of shifting towards a socialist system. She was keen on privatization and lowering taxes. Something, that although cases could be made either way, certainly worked for her in 1980's Great Britian.

The book also points out her outspoken opposition to communism, thus earning her the title "iron lady." Young takes care to highlight her brilliance as a visionary, her willingness to restore British pride by refusing to give up the Falkands, and her resolve in not giving one inch of ground in her belief that the democratic, free enterprise system was superior.

This is truly a great book for all who are interested in the end of the Cold War and for those who wish to study the conservative "revolution" that struck the West in the 1980's.

5-0 out of 5 stars The best biography of Mrs Thatcher
For Anglophiles and serious students of modern Britishpolitics and economics, this is almost surely thebest full-length biography of Margaret Thatcher that has been written thus far. Young concisely summarises the major events in Thatcher's career and provides sharp analyses of her personality and policies (eg, the effect on her of her class background, her closeness to Britain's Jewish community, etc). One wishes that he had written more about the economy, but since Young (who recently died) was a political journalist, his focus is understandably on politics. Especially good are the thumbnail sketches of the other major figures of Thatcherism -- Norman Tebbit, Nigel Lawson, Lord Young, etc. ... Read more


12. The Last Lion : Winston Spencer Churchill: Visions of Glory, 1874-1932
by WILLIAM MANCHESTER
list price: $21.95
our price: $14.93
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0385313489
Catlog: Book (1984-04-01)
Publisher: Delta
Sales Rank: 57364
Average Customer Review: 4.98 out of 5 stars
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Book Description

Part One Of Two Parts

It is hard to imagine anything new about Churchill. But in this life of the young lion, William Manchester brings us fresh encounters and anecdotes. Alive with examples of Churchill's early powers, THE LAST LION entertains and instructs.

"Manchester is not only master of detail, but also of `the big picture.'...I daresay most Americans reading THE LAST LION will relish it immensely." (National Review) ... Read more

Reviews (48)

5-0 out of 5 stars Volume 1 of the life of Winston Spencer Churchill
"The Last Lion: Visions of Glory, 1874-1932," is the first of William Manchester's projected three-volume biography of Winston Spencer Churchill. I found it a superbly crafted, supremely well researched account of the first 58 years of the life of the 20th century's greatest statesman. With wit and candor, Manchester chronicles Churchill from his earliest days as the neglected and troublesome first child of Lord Randolph Churchill and his American-born wife, Jennie, to his entry into the political "wilderness" over home rule in India in 1932. Manchester's portrait of his subject is balanced and objective; we see Churchill at his finest: a courageous (almost to the point of foolhardiness) army officer, and later a gifted Member of Parliament who became one of the youngest Cabinet ministers in British history. We also see him at his worst: a Cabinet minister with appalling political judgment at times, quick to meddle in other ministers' affairs while neglecting his own, and with an uncanny ability to alienate not only his political foes, but almost all his political allies as well.

In addition to a wonderfully written chronology of Churchill's life, Manchester provides an overview of the times in which Churchill lived. I was fascinated by the author's account of Victorian England -- its culture, its mores, and its view of itself in the world. The sections which describe Churchill's times make highly entertaining and absorbing reading by themselves.

"The Last Lion: Visions of Glory, 1874-1932," clearly shows why William Manchester is one of the pre-eminent biographers at work today. The book is written with obviously meticulous scholarship, insightful analysis, and crisp, sparkling prose; I have yet to find a better account of Churchill's life. Now, if only Mr. Manchester would give us that third volume . . .

5-0 out of 5 stars Arguably the greatest biography ever written
I was already a huge Churchill fan when I decided to read this book. The first book I had read on him was Gilbert's one volume condensed version of the official biography. But nothing could prepare me for how wonderfully written this book was. Just as many others have said, I read the introduction and became hooked. I have yet to find another modern author with a talent for writting as great as Manchester's.

What makes these two volumes great is that they really portray Churchill as a human being--he isn't simply the man who saved Great Britain (and arguably Western Civilization) from the Nazis. He was man with human strengths and human weaknesses--just like all of us. Manchester never loses sight of this throughout his work. He stresses the man's faults just as much as he stresses his strengths. In addition to this, both volumes--particularly the first one--give the reader an idea of what the world around Churchill was like. The prelude of Vol. I, for example, doesn't even mention Churchill until the very end, when he is born. Rather, it tells of what Victorian Britain was like up to the man's birth in 1874.

One sad event to note, however: for many, many years there has been speculation about when Mr. Manchester will publish the third and final volume. I can say with absolute certainty that the third volume will NEVER come about.

5-0 out of 5 stars The Man of the Century
Manchester's work is extraordinary and a journey into the making of a great leader of the world that was the 20th century.

Churchill was a man of vision and he was molded in his early years. Manchester makes a case for his growth coming in the Boar War period.

There is a beginning of greatness. Manchester introduces us to the world that formed this great man.

4-0 out of 5 stars Understand the most Remarkable Man of the 20th Century
This is an excellent book on the first half of the life of a truly exceptional man. Mr Manchester's book deals with Winston's early life and his rise to power and fame. I particularly liked the vignettes about life at the turn of the century; the social situation, the class struggle, the morals of the upper and the working classes.

Just reading it makes you feel somehow inadequate against the intellectual brilliance, courage and sheer energy of the subject.

It would have merited a full five star rating but for two faults. It should have been shorter. It as if every single little titbit of information had to be written out in full, rather than filtered through the critical intellect that Mr Manchester undoubtedly possesses. Instead, he quotes too many letters, reports and speeches in full when his job as a biographer was to summarise them.

The second fault was Mr Manchester's tendency to lionise his subject. Brilliant he may have been, but a bit more acknowledgement of Winston's faults would have made him more human and reachable.

But this is nitpicking. Overall the book is a good read on a subject well worth reading about.

5-0 out of 5 stars Read both books - Best history/biography ever!
Many lists say the best historical biography is "Disraeli" by Blake. This is better. Way better.

The only author that has ever kept me glued to a book as much as Manchester's is Michael Crichton. It's odd to compare a biography to Jurassic Park, but Manchester makes history come alive. He spends a lot of time and care setting the "culture" in a way that is not pedantic or boring (unlike some Civil War histories I've read!). And then he builds on Churchill's stories in a way that makes you feel like you're in Churchill's shoes, with the same issues and challenges.

Unfortunately, there is no Volume 3 about the war years. Manchester's illness prevented this. What a sad loss to history.

Read Vol 1 and 2. You won't regret it. ... Read more


13. The Wicked Wit of Winston Churchill
by Dominique Enright
list price: $12.95
our price: $9.71
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 1854795295
Catlog: Book (2001-10-01)
Publisher: Michael O'Mara Books
Sales Rank: 9190
Average Customer Review: 5 out of 5 stars
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Book Description

Churchill took his seat in Parliament in the reign of Queen Victoria, and died when Lyndon Johnson was in his second year as US President.He fought as a solider in four campaigns and as a war correspondent made an epic escape from Boer captivity.He wrote histories, biographies, memoirs, and even a novel, while his journalism, speeches and broadcasts run to millions of words.From 1940 he inspired and united the British people and guided their war effort.Sir Winston Churchill was also a man of vast humanity and enormous wit.His most famous speeches and sayings have passed into history, but many of his aphorisms, puns and jokes are less well known.This enchanting collection brings together hundreds of his wittiest and wickedest quips in a tribute to this lovable, infuriatingly conceited, wildly funny, and brilliantly talented Englishman. ... Read more

Reviews (2)

5-0 out of 5 stars Excellent! A must for all who study the man and the language
The title of my review had simply told what I wanna say. Churchill is such a famous person of wit and words. That's beyond argument. Therefore it's not a difficult job for the editor-author to pick and pack Churchill's words, with some short sentences telling the background of each, into a thin book. Anyway, he did it alright.

I would like to pick some of my favorite quotes for your reference. Hope you like them and can share my feelings of how brilliant Churchill. and also indirectly, this book is.

1. "Trying to maintain good relations with a Communist is like wooing a crocodile. You do not know whether to tickle it under the chin or beat it over the head. When it opens its mouth, you cannot tell whether it is trying to smile or preparing to eat you up."

2. "No one pretends that democracy is perfect or all-wise. Indeeed, it has been said that Democracy is the worst form of government except all those other forms that have been tried from time to time."

3. "You will never get to the end of the journey if you stop to buy a stone at every dog that barks."

4. "Virtuous motives, trammelled by inertia and timidity, are no match for armed and resolute wickedness."

5. "What if I had said, instead of "We shall fight on the beaches", "Hostilities will be engaged with our adversary on the coastal perimeter?".

and......many other invaluable quotes. In short, a must buy.

5-0 out of 5 stars No One Is More Frequently Quoted
I cannot prove empirically that the words above these comments are unimpeachably accurate; I would however wager that were there such a system to track how often the words of one person are quoted by another, Sir Winston Spencer Churchill would rival all competitors. There are many reasons for this position, the length of his life, the events he was in the midst of, and the manner by which he memorialized all he was involved in. In the 100 years The Nobel Prize For Literature has been given out, it has been given only 6 times to English authors, and he is one of them.

His was born when Queen Victoria sat on the throne of England, and he died when President Lyndon Johnson was serving his second year as President of The United States. There were very few years he was not in the public's eye, and very few moments he was out of the midst of current events. Even the so called, "wilderness years", would become integral in his being prepared to defend The Western Democracies from the threats posed by WWII, and the men who left England horribly exposed. It is too much to say that his words alone carried England through her finest and darkest hours, but that his words were integral cannot be argued.

Sir Winston was a great believer in reading the quotations of history's great personages and then following those quotes through to more detailed biographies. Like Disraeli before him who stated one should read biography to learn history, Churchill often took the very same path. He was never concerned with how History would view him, for has often been quoted he stated, "I will write it". Write it he did, and even if he had not, with his words so ever present in the speeches of those who are in the public arena, and writers of all genres whether fiction or non-fiction, this man would never have been forgotten by History.

There are seemingly endless books about Churchill and collections of wide varieties of his utterances. As a person who has read many of these books, I can say confidently that this pocket size version is well worth your while, contains many of his better known bon mots, and while specific wording will vary with those that record his words from a variety of sources, I found only one or two that seemed to turn a word differently than I had read before.

Few lives have stretched nearly a century, fewer still a century as dramatic as the 20th. He was there for the sunset of the 19th, the dawn of the 20th, and as his lengthy life allowed him to experience the majority of the tumultuous 20th Century. The History of our World has seen few like him, and with our modern penchant for destroying those in one moment who we hold in such tenuous esteem only a breath before, it may be a very long time until his kind is seen once again. ... Read more


14. Churchill: A Biography
by Roy Jenkins
list price: $40.00
our price: $26.40
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0374123543
Catlog: Book (2001-11-15)
Publisher: Farrar Straus Giroux
Sales Rank: 22964
Average Customer Review: 3.65 out of 5 stars
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Amazon.com

Winston Churchill was querulous, childish, self-indulgent, and difficult, writes English historian Roy Jenkins. But he was also brilliant, tenacious, and capable--in short, "the greatest human being ever to occupy 10 Downing Street." Jenkins's book stands as the best single-volume biography of Churchill in recent years.

Marked by the author's wide experience writing on British leaders such as Balfour and Gladstone and his tenure as a member of Parliament, his book adds much to the vast library of works on Churchill. While acknowledging his subject's prickly nature, Jenkins credits Churchill for, among other things, recognizing far earlier than his peers the dangers of Hitler's regime. He praises Churchill for his leadership during the war years, especially at the outset, when England stood alone and in imminent danger of defeat. He also examines Churchill's struggle to forge political consensus to meet that desperate crisis, and he sheds new light on Churchill's postwar decline. --Gregory McNamee ... Read more

Reviews (79)

5-0 out of 5 stars ONE OF THE BEST ONE- VOLUME BIOGRAPHIES OF SIR W.C.
This book by Roy Jenkins, former Chancellor of the Exchequer, of the Oxford University, member of the House of the Lords and President of the Royal Society of literature is THE BIOGRAPHY of Winston Churchill. Very well written, outstanding in the breadth of material researched and deliciously witty, this one of the best single volume approach to the life of one of the human milestones of the 20th Century.
Unless you have the time and purpose to go through the 8 volumes of the official biography started by Randolph Churchill but really attributable to Sir Martin Gilbert (ed. from 1966 to 1988), you will not be able to get a better factual assessment of the life and deeds of THE PRIME MINISTER par excellence. It covers every important aspect of Churchill's life, and then some. From birth to schooling, his first exposures to war and politics, then early triumphs, despair, resurrection and demise, we get a clear picture of one of the principal players in English politics for almost 60 years.
The book has a very well organized index, for reference purposes. For instance, under Churchill, Sir Winston Spencer, we have subtitles that address topics such as Characteristics and qualities (memory, self-confidence, personal bravery, argumentativeness, etc.) Education, Health, Honors, Military Career, etc. that much facilitate a cross reading of important topics. We derive the impression that in such a difficult task ( a portrait of a man so complex and about whom so many have written) Jenkins has succeeded.
WHY READ THIS BOOK ? This work might be even superior to Jenkins biography about another giant of English politics: Gladstone. This may be just a coincidence, but a double one if we recall the final assessment that Jenkins provides about Churchill:
.."When I started writing this book I thought that Gladstone was, by a narrow margin, the greater man, certainly the more remarkable specimen of humanity. In the course of writing it I have changed my mind. I now put Churchill, with all his idiosyncrasies, his indulgences, his occasional childishness, but also his genius, his tenacity and his persistent ability, right or wrong, successful or unsuccessful, to be larger than life, as the greatest human being ever to occupy 10 Downing Street........"

4-0 out of 5 stars Political Biography, Lots of Details
Roy Jenkins is probably the perfect scholar to write the definitive biography of Winston Churchill. His credentials are impeccable: as a former Home Secretary, Chancellor of the Exchequer, and member of the House of Lords, he has the necessary political insight and knowledge to write the biography. On top of that, he is the author of several well received books on politics, including a biography of Gladstone that won the Whitbread Prize, giving him the literary spurs as well. All of these skills and experiences are evident in the reading of the book. It even has a glossary of parliamentary terms, which I found particularly helpful. There is an abundance of detail in the less famous years of Churchill's life, particularly the years between World War I and Hitler's rise to power. But, there is very little detail about Churchill's pre-political life. Some of the most exciting years were his years in the army, and very little is told about them. However, the detail in the other areas makes up for this. It is mostly a political biography, and not for the faint of heart. With this book, the reader will need Churchill's resolve just to finish it. But, like many other long books, the rewards far outweigh the time put in. It is safe to say that the reader will have a mastery of British politics in the 20th century after reading this book.

5-0 out of 5 stars Packed With Knowledge!
Perhaps the greatest tribute to the work of author Roy Jenkins is that, at times, he seemed to know what Winston Churchill was actually thinking - and you're pretty sure he's right. When the mind you're reading about belongs to perhaps the greatest Prime Minister in the history of Great Britain, Nobel-prize winner Winston Churchill, that is a pretty impressive accomplishment. Jenkins' biography is essentially unsentimental, and reveals Churchill's idiosyncrasies and errors in an honest manner that serves only to elevate, rather than tarnish, the legacy of the man who rallied the free world to resist the tyranny of National Socialism. Jenkins has written an extraordinary volume which we highly recommends to any student of history.

5-0 out of 5 stars Excellent Read
First off, its important to note that this is a political biography and focuses on Churchill's career in parliament, not his family or friend relationships. It does not focus much on his childhood or his inner feelings that much. The book is great for giving us a sense of who Churchill was through his speeches and political actions. Its written in a matter of fact style that lets Churchill's penchant for the grandiose come out on its own. Despite its restrained manner, you feel the desperation of the days before and during World War II. You also sense the incredible vision of Churchill to see what would happen and to warn of it, when no one else could see. To his credit, he also demonstrates Churchill's weaknesses/flaws. Overall, a great book!

3-0 out of 5 stars Well detailed.....perhaps a bit too much so
This book, while well researched, is a tedious read. Overwhelming detail in areas of limited relevance tend to clutter excellent underlying content and compromise big picture issues that demand broad based review. I had to shelve this book after every 150 pages and return to it weeks later. Which begs the question, Why is a biography on one of the most extraordinary characters of the 20th century not more captivating? ... Read more


15. Churchill: Visionary. Statesman. Historian.
by John Lukacs
list price: $25.00
our price: $25.00
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0300097697
Catlog: Book (2002-10-01)
Publisher: Yale University Press
Sales Rank: 141126
Average Customer Review: 3.33 out of 5 stars
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Book Description

John Lukacs has spent a lifetime considering the complex personality and statesmanship of Winston Churchill. In previous books Lukacs has told the story of Churchill's titanic struggle with Adolf Hitler in the early days of World War II. Now, in Churchill: Visionary. Statesman. Historian., he turns his attention to Churchill the man and visionary statesman.Each chapter of this book provides an essential portrait of Churchill. Lukacs treats Churchill's vital relationships with Stalin, Roosevelt, and Eisenhower, as well as his complex, farsighted political vision concerning the coming of World War II and the Cold War.Lukacs also assesses Churchill's abilities as a historian looking backward into the origins of the conflicts of which he was so much a part. In addition, the author examines the often contradictory ways Churchill has been perceived by critics and admirers alike.

The last chapter is a powerful and deeply moving evocation of the three days Lukacs spent in London attending Churchill's funeral in 1965. In Churchill: Visionary. Statesman. Historian., Lukacs deftly sets forth the essence of this towering figure of twentieth-century history with the consummate mastery of a great historian. ... Read more

Reviews (6)

4-0 out of 5 stars The Ever-Lasting Appeal of Churchill
John Lukas clearly states at the beginning of his short book that his collection of essays is neither a biography nor a scholarly study of Winston Spencer Churchill (pg. xiii). Therefore, potential readers of Lukas' book who do not know anything about the key milestones in the life and career of Churchill should not start here. These readers can read books such as "Churchill a Life", "Churchill a Study in Greatness", "Clementine Churchill The Biography of a Marriage", "Winston and Clementine The Personal Letters of the Churchills" or "The Wit & Wisdom of Winston Churchill" to fill in the most glaring gaps in their knowledge of Churchill for that purpose.

Lukas writes to the attention of an audience who has an unquenchable thirst to know more and more about an individual who remains a source of inspiration to many men and women who stand in the way of barbarity and illiberalism around the world.

Although Lukas is generally sympathetic to Churchill, he is not blind to his major shortcomings: impetuosity, impatience, stubbornness and fancifulness (pg. 4, 154). Furthermore, Lukas reminds his audience in his essay "His Failures. His Critics" that Churchill had accumulated errors and mistakes that Churchill critics and detractors were attributing to his flawed character (pg. 129). For example, Churchill's futile fight against granting Dominion status to India from 1929 to 1935 was perhaps compatible with his imperialist credentials but certainly a clear blemish on his record. As a very experienced politician and knowledgeable historian at that time, Churchill should have known much better (pg. 14-15, 24, 135-136). Therefore, Lukas' collection of essays should not be construed as a shameful hagiography.

Furthermore, Lukas reminds his audience in "Churchill's historianship" and "Churchill the visionary" that Churchill was generally cognizant of the lessons that he could draw from past events to articulate his often-visionary policies while reflecting on and shaping history on his turn (pg. 1-18, 47). Churchill was not only a spectator, but also a key actor and play writer of human comedy (pg. 102).

Lukas also explores the ups and downs that Churchill had in his relationships with other history shapers such as Charles De Gaulle, Dwight Eisenhower, Adolf Hitler, Franklin Roosevelt and Joseph Stalin (pg. 19-20). Lukas convincingly explains that Churchill was facing an unpalatable choice between a Europe entirely ruled by Nazi Germany or half of Europe dominated by the Communists in case of allied victory (pg. 11, 27-28, 35). Churchill rightly first gave top priority to successfully fighting Hitler to death before trying in vain to stop Stalin in 1944-1945. Unlike some unimaginative people, Churchill understood right at the birth of the Soviet Union that the Bolsheviks should be stopped immediately before they grew into a gathering threat to the world. War-weary, the victors of WWI, unfortunately, gave only half-hearty support to the White Russians in their desperate fight against the Soviets (pg. 23). Once again, long-term pains were the reward for short-term gains.

Some (American) readers will not be very pleased while reading Lukas' unflattering portrait of Eisenhower and the men around him in "Churchill and Eisenhower." As mentioned above, Churchill was definitely right to try to thwart in 1944-1945 the apparently irresistible advance of the Soviets in Central and Eastern Europe. Churchill clearly understood that geography and territory mattered, not ideology (pg. 42). For that reason, the British army met the Russians east of the entry to the Danish peninsula at the request of Churchill in 1945 (pg. 45). Unfortunately, the American leadership did not want to hear anything about it at that time (pg. 35-40, 46). Some European regions such as former East Germany and the Czech Republic should have been eventually spared the murderous and inefficient rule of the former Soviet Union (pg. 43). The Greeks should continue to be very thankful to Churchill for saving them from a communist tyranny (pg. 41, 48).

In his famous, visionary Iron Curtain speech in 1946, Churchill expressed his concern with the murderous, inefficient embrace of Communism in the European regions under Stalin's control. American reception of this historic speech was at best lukewarm (pg. 47). Churchill knew better and was predicting at the end of 1952 that time was not on the side of Communism (pg. 48, 79).

After the death of Stalin in 1953, Churchill, Prime Minister again, could not convince his friend Eisenhower, who in the meantime became President of the U.S.A., of finding some kind of accommodation with the new Soviet leadership (pg. 70, 73-74). Subsequent events proved that Eisenhower was right when he saw no difference after Stalin was gone (pg. 71, 77). Contrary to what Lukas thinks, Eisenhower should not be described as a leader without any vision under the nefarious influence of men such as John Foster Dulles (pg. 79-80). Many western leaders shared Eisenhower's views on this subject (pg. 81-82). The former Soviet Union was not yet in sufficient decline in the early 1950s to negotiate in a position of force with it as world leaders such as President Ronald Reagan and Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher understood very well in the 1980s.

2-0 out of 5 stars A throwaway
And a tolerably worthwhile throwaway, considering Lukacs's knowledge of his subject. If you have decent familiarity with the issues, this book won't weigh you down and it adds nuance to the accepted portrait of Churchill. But this is certainly not an introduction to Churchill and the author's biases, particularly against Eisenhower, mar the presentation. This chafed at me in particular, and I hold no particular brief for Ike. But Lukacs is an historian, yet he swipes at Eisenhower throughout the second half of the book, almost never building an argument but rather using innuendo. He largely assumes that the reader shares his biases, more in the way of punditry than scholarship. I don't regret reading the book, but I am sure I could have made more productive use of the time and money on another Churchill work.

3-0 out of 5 stars Decent, but not compelling...
For the record, I admire John Lukacs as a historian... However, this thin volume (essentially a collection of mini-essays) doesn't really do much to add to the already abundant amount of Churchill scholarship... Lukacs clearly worships Churchill and therefore the book comes across as a simple hagiography. Lukacs' strength is his ability to spin a narrative while not getting bogged down with excessive facts. However, sometimes he can seem to wander off on rather obscure emotional tangents...

This book is fine as an introduction to Churchill, but for someone who wants a more in-depth look at the great man, I suggest turning to the rather more weighty biographies by Martin Gilbert and Roy Jenkins, or indeed his own earlier, and infinitely more interesting title, "Five Days in London."

2-0 out of 5 stars Lukacs and Churchill-the love affair continues
John Lukacs is a Catholic anglophile and a conservative Christian Democrat who fled from Hungary at the beginning of the cold war. At the same time he has never forgiven the Republican party right for its refusal to help Britain (and the rest of Europe) at her darkest hour. Winston Churchill has always been his hero. About fifteen years ago Lukacs wrote a book on the 80 day "duel" between Churchill and Hitler in the summer of 1940. A few years ago he wrote a more popular book that looked at ten of those days. This third book concentrates on Churchill, and it is the most disappointing yet.

Lukacs looks at Churchill "the visionary," and his relationships with Stalin, FDR, and Eisenhower. He then discusses appeasement, Churchill's skill as a historian, his failures, and then concludes with his memories of Churchill's funeral. Basically this book is a shallow collection of essays which add nothing to our knowledge of the man. There are not even many telling details or pungent anecdotes. There is nothing wrong in arguing, as Lukacs does, that Churchill was right not to make a deal with Hitler, and that he is not to blame for the fact that postwar Poland was a Communist dictatorship. But most historians have never doubted these matters, and Lukacs has nothing new to add. Lukacs has never really cared for archival research, nor has he really paid much attention to what other scholars say. At one point he states that the Soviet Union was not really interested in defending Czechoslovakia in 1938, nor was it really interested in negotiating an alliance with France and Britain the following years. Perhaps, but it is important to point out that in recent years Hugh Ragsdale and Michael J. Carley have produced well documented arguments to the contrary, and that Lukacs not only does not refute them, he appears to be unaware of their existence. Likewise, the chapter on Eisenhower and Churchill concentrates on Churchill's proposals in 1953 to try to make a deal with the post-Stalin leadership, which Eisenhower peremptorily brushed aside. Was an opportunity to end, or shorten, the cold war carelessly thrown away? Perhaps, but other scholars, such as John W. Young and Jaclyn Stanke, have discussed the issue in far greater detail than Lukacs. Many scholars dislike Stephen Ambrose for his terminus into plagiarism and middlebrow eminence. Notwithstanding that, his argument that Eisenhower and his small armies could not have snatched the honor of taking Berlin from Zhukov's larger forces still stands, and Lukacs does nothing to refute it.

Lukacs exaggerates Churchill's perceptiveness. Contra Lukacs, Churchill's fears of German revenge in 1924 were not boldly original, but a commonplace among the British. It did not take great insight after the 1930 German elections to realize, as Churchill did, that Hitler was an important politician. And Churchill was not alone in 1935 in fearing a possible war from Hitler. The chapter on Churchill's histories is indulgent and complacent, as Lukacs applauds Churchill for his style and memorable image. Unfortunately, this confuses history with journalism, and Lukacs is less informative on this than David Reynolds and J.H. Plumb. Lukacs mentions Churchill's faults, but his account of the Dardanelles fiasco, the catastrophic return to the Gold Standard and Churchill's opposition to Indian independence are brief and apologetic. Christopher Thorne is more accurate on Churchill's bigotry and the price of his imperialist illusions. David Cannadine is far more acute on his awful family who, with the exception of his wife and his daughter, Lady Soames, were incredibly selfish and irresponsible. Cannadine is also acute on Churchill's ignorance of modern day life, noting that Churchill took the underground only once, and he had to be rescued, because he didn't know how to get off.

"Churchill and Hitler were, at any rate, the two protagonists of the dramatic phase of the last war, even though Roosevelt and Stalin played the decisive role in its epic phase, at the end." As a distinction, this does not work very well. Was there nothing dramatic about the defense of Leningrad and the battle of Kursk? But for Lukacs it is important to view the conflict as one between Hitler and Churchill, even though he is well aware that Churchill could not have won without the USA and the USSR. For Churchill is an icon, a symbol of the liberal, aristocratic order. When Churchill saved Britain in 1940 he redeemed this order's honor. One can only contrast with the actual ruling class of interwar Hungary who led that country into a vicious, genocidal war. That contrast is more interesting than anything Lukacs has to say in this book.

5-0 out of 5 stars Historian as politician and vice versa
About halfway through Lukacs' chapter on Churchill and Eisenhower, I wrote down the phrase I used to title this review. One of the author's missions is to explore how Churchill's study and writing of history shaped his politics, statesmanship, and "vision." And sure enough, just a few dozen pages later, Lukacs himself, modifying a phrase of J.H. Plumb, described Churchill as "a historian-statesman and a statesman-historian" (p. 102).

John Lukacs is himself a great writer and interpreter of history. And though I've read lots of things about Churchill over the years, few historians have impressed me as he has with their ability to synthesize and interpret. By all means, still read the longer biographies -- Gilbert, naturally, as well as Best and Jenkins more recently. But let Lukacs help you sort out what it all means. Among other things, you may well find yourself agreeing with him that Churchill "was not The Last Lion" (p. 17).

Lukacs' description of Churchill as a patriot but not a nationalist (as contrasted with Hitler, who was a nationalist but not a patriot) is also a revealing one -- especially in an era when the two are too easily confused.

Hundreds or thousands of volumes have been written on Churchill as statesman and war leader. But only one (Maurice Ashley's "Churchill as Historian," 1968), plus a few journal articles, have viewed him as a student and writer of history and tried to assess how that affected his other spheres of life. Lukacs views it as central, giving Churchill, as it did, a philosophy of history (p. 123) as well as a world view that allowed him to place events and ideas in their larger historical context (Lukacs sees this as the essential difference between Churchill and Eisenhower).

Given the resurgence of interest in Churchill -- which never entirely wanes, of course -- post-9/11, several of Lukacs' insights and conclusions may come as a surprise, or be considered "controversial": notably, that Churchill's famous "Iron Curtain" speech in Fulton was less about the dangers posed by communism *per se* than about those inherent in a divided Europe; that Churchill's glory was not that he won a great victory, but rather that he prevented a great defeat; and that in his dealings with Stalin during and after the war, he tried "to save what was possible" (p. 182). This last point Lukacs deploys (in an excellent chapter on Churchill's failures and his critics) against those who hold Churchill to blame for the "loss" of Eastern Europe to communism (through the Machiavellian "percentages deal," for example). Lukacs argues that Churchill recognized there were only two real options: All of Europe dominated by Hitler, or half of Europe dominated by Stalin. There was, Lukacs says, no third way.

Duff Cooper, a Churchillian, once wrote that one of the problems with democracies is that too few democratic leaders have read any history. Lukacs shows how Churchill's own reading and writing prepared him for the challenges of his century. Readers of this book, in turn, emerge with a clearer view, not only of those challenges, but also of The Man of the Century himself. Very highly recommended. ... Read more


16. Winston Churchill (A&E Biography)
by James C. Humes
list price: $23.00
our price: $15.64
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0789493187
Catlog: Book (2003-04-01)
Publisher: Dorling Kindersley Publishing
Sales Rank: 95683
Average Customer Review: 5 out of 5 stars
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Book Description

James Hume -- who knew Churchill personally -- brilliantly captures the extraordinary life of this gifted, complex, and often troubled leader.

A groundbreaking series of illustrated biographies, A & E Biographies combines the smart, concise approach of the hugely popular A&E Biography television series with the illuminating visual approach of DK Publishing to present the lives of history's most colorful figures.

Television's longest running, single-topic documentary series Biography on A&E Network is not only one of the most successful shows -- it is one of the most popular. Biography has profiled more than 900 people in its fifteen years. ... Read more

Reviews (1)

5-0 out of 5 stars A BIOGRAPHY AS APPEALING AS ITS SUBJECT AND TV SHOW!
Like the TV series on which they are based, the series of
"Biography" books are accessible approaches to the men and
women on whom they focus. (They are also a great marketing idea.
Give that boy/girl a raise!) Each volume is written by a
well-known and/or respected author; "Winston Churchill" was penned by James Humes, whose past achievements include two other tomes on Sir Winston. The books are pithy and pleasing, highlighting and spotlighting (in concise detail) its subject, and not shrinking away from controversy or scandal. The photos are terrific; the layouts are done in that appealing, yet not over-the-top, DK style. Think of these books as printed soundbytes that are as interesting and insightful and welcome as their small-screen counterparts. ... Read more


17. Dizzy: The Life and Nature of Benjamin Disraeli : Earl of Beaconsfield
by Hesketh Pearson
list price: $59.75
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0837177294
Catlog: Book (1974-12-20)
Publisher: Greenwood Press Reprint
Sales Rank: 1300024
Average Customer Review: 5 out of 5 stars
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Reviews (1)

5-0 out of 5 stars An Interesting Tale about An Interesting Fellow
This is an excellent biography of Benjamin D'Israeli. Pearson has nicely captured D'Israeli's life. He allows you to get to know D'Israeli during his many pursuits and love of travel. However, D'Israeli's written and political accomplishments are more so mentioned than that of his personal or private life. As a biography of a politician one may expect it to be very dry, but this is one biography that is not. If anyone is interested in D'Israeli and wants to be bombarded with dates and figures of his life than this is not the book to get, but if one is looking for a good read with a feeling of satisfaction at the end this is it.

Happy Reading ... Read more


18. Gladstone: 1809-1865 (Gladstone)
by Richard Shannon
list price: $55.00
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0807815918
Catlog: Book (1984-04-01)
Publisher: Univ of North Carolina Pr
Sales Rank: 1942244
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19. Memoirs of the Second World War
by Winston S. Churchill
list price: $24.95
our price: $16.47
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0395599687
Catlog: Book (1991-09-17)
Publisher: Mariner Books
Sales Rank: 176450
Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars
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Book Description

In honor of the sixtieth anniversary of the end of World War II, Nobel Prize
winner Winston Churchill"s essential, abridged memoirs of that time are
reintroduced with an updated cover and a new low price.The quintessence of the war as seen by it's greatest player, in a one-volume abridged edition that captures all the drama of the original volumes.
... Read more

Reviews (6)

5-0 out of 5 stars Churchill's "Case"
He said of this work, "This is not history, this is my case." That is, it's his viewpoint on events, and to some degree, his justification for the actions he took during the war. He was too modest. This is also great history from the pen of a man who was not only a great statesman and war leader, but a gifted writer. To read it is a pleasure--and a bit sad since it underlines the decline in letters since Churchill's generation. Only his speeches are more inspiring. For the few remaining purists among us, I would recommend the full six volume set, but much is captured in this condensed version. Get it and learn not only history, but the proper use of English.

5-0 out of 5 stars Must Reading For World War Two Buffs
Winston Churchill's 'Memoirs of the Second World War,' is one of the most illuminating works on the subject ever written. Churchill tells the story of the war from the massive rearmament of Germany in the thirties to the final victory over the forces of fascism. As a general history of the war it is understandably one-sided, but as a wartime memoir it succeeds on many levels. The feelings of the British Prime Minister on the strategies, soldiers, enemies, and allies of the war are brought to the foreground with an amazing command of language. Churchill justifies many of the more controversial decsions of the war including his stand on British rearmament before the war, the terror bombing of German cities, the 'unconditional surrender' policy of the allies, and the use of the Atomic bomb. This is a finely crafted work that is a tribute to a man who could make history as well as write it.

4-0 out of 5 stars A Unique Perspective of WWII
Oftentimes in recorded history a leader emerges as literally the "right man at the right time", a godsend for a country desperately in need of leadership after being led to the brink of disaster. Churchill was such a leader, and Britain desperately needed him in 1939 as Hitler's armies blitzed into Poland while Chamberlain stood by powerless to stop him.

This abridged memoir of the conflict by Churchill, one of the most dynamic personalities of the last century, is a fascinating profile of leadership, offering a unique glimpse into the problems faced by the Allies as the war destroyed the shaky peace of Versailles.

Here is Churchill in all his bravado, bemoaning Britain's woefull lack of preparation, and discussing in shocking detail the problems faced by the Allies as Britain joined the conflict and tried without success to keep the Nazis out of France. You are there as Churchill finds out, to his amazement, that the French have no reserves after the Maginot Line is pierced and the Germans head, unopposed, toward Paris. You understand the tremendous burden faced by Britain as Churchill explains the efficiency of the german war machine, churning out tanks and u-boats on a daily basis at the outbreak of the war while pacifist Britain's military industry had literally ground to a halt.

This is not a battle by battle narrative of every major conflict, and the Pacific theater is in particular given short attention as Britain played a relatively minor role there. Readers interested in the specifics of troop movements, maps, etc. should look elsewhere. However Churchill provides fascinating glimpses into the leaders of the Allied powers, recounting Stalin's relentless demand that Britain and the U.S. open a second front to divert attention away from Hitler's armies. And every American's heart will swell as Churchill expresses the pride and confidence he felt as the Americans entered the war: "Hitler's fate was sealed. Mussolini's fate was sealed. As for the Japanese, they would be ground to powder. All the rest was merely the proper application of overwhelming force." Churchill's words here, and the exerpts of his speeches to Parliament, are as stirring now as they were 58 years ago when he pumped courage into the British as they endured countless bombing raids.

The book has its lapses. It seems like Churchill at times seems a little too interested in presenting his arguments for or against certain operations, (and of course as the author he is usually right), and the abridgement here seems to devote more attention to relatively minor battles like Tobruk than to the Normandy invasion and the liberation of France. However any history buff will want to consider this book required reading for a fuller understanding of WWII.

3-0 out of 5 stars TOO MUCH DETAIL OMITTED
I was disappointed with this abridged history since I had already read the six volume set and loved it for all its rich detail and atmosphere.

This one-volume abridged edition left me a little flat. So much had been taken out to make it concise and easy to read that it lost a lot of voice and it especially is lacking the Churchill flavor of action and detail that makes the six volume set exciting and monumental.

5-0 out of 5 stars Captures the whole of WWII in a personal immediate narrative
During this century, no event has had a greater impact on as many people, places, ideas, and institutions as WWII did in its tragic origins, heroic struggle, and bitersweet aftermath. With such an immense scope, nearly every history that attempts to capture the whole of the war becomes scholarly, unforgiving, and impersonal.

What Winston Churchill accomplishes, then, in bringing the reader to all the war's key moments with an unfailing sense of epic struggle and personal involvement is no less than spectacular. Few men have the chance to play such an important role in defining world history. Even fewer have the poetic voice to properly honor the youthful sacrafices that made the war a triumph for peace-loving peoples everywhere.

This book is a true treasure. ... Read more


20. Tony Blair: Prime Minister
by John Rentoul
list price: $19.99
our price: $13.59
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0751530824
Catlog: Book (2001-10-01)
Publisher: Little Brown UK Ltd
Sales Rank: 215609
Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars
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Reviews (2)

5-0 out of 5 stars Tony Blair - A Reverent Prime Minister and Politician
On 4-th of july 1964,Tony was woken by his mother in the morning and as soon as he heard the first words coming out from his mother - he knew that something wasn't right and he was right
about that.
Tony's father had a stroke and it wasn't sure whether he's gonna make it or not.
This day was the day when Tony's childhood ended,a day when his political ambition began, a life which taught him the value of the family and real friends who walked with his family in the worst moments of their lives.

Tony,a child of strict parents about manners :
Was always polite,kind,helpful towards other people and he enjoyed the attention so much so when he is only 16 years old he formed a group named The Pseuds - to act.

Soon, as a 'gifted guitarist' he starts meeting people of the same interest and talked about getting into the music world.
He loved The Rolling Stones and they were going to be the next Led Zeppelin or Free (Tony's most favorite bands).
So...the band "Ugly Rumours" is formed and THE LEAD SINGER-with
a fantastic voice is someone such as : the future prime minister of Great Britain - TONY BLAIR.

...John Rentoul's biography of Tony Blair-(was made to read easy as novel, even though it was Tony's life to make that possible). It is a well-researched book and tells just about everything you'd want to know about Tony Blair.

4-0 out of 5 stars TONY BLAIR Prime Minister by John Rentoul
With the advent of what may become the second Gulf War, Tony Blair-Prime Minister is a comprehensive biography of the leader of America's closest ally. Prime Minister Tony Blair is an unlikely choice to be the foreign leader closest to President George W. Bush. British Journalist, John Rentoul has written about the rise and times of Tony Blair from his roots in a middle class British family to that of a rising socialist politician who became leader of the "New" Labor Party and Prime Minister of Great Britian.

Rentoul traces Blair's family and their political leanings. Blair's father Leo Blair was born to a pair of actors and given to a James and Mary Blair in Glasgow. Leo Blair as a teenager was a member of the Scottish Young Communist League and had ambitions to become a Communist Member of Parliment. However, after service in World War II as a member of the Royal Signal Corps, Leo Blair underwent a political conversion. Upon leaving the military he became a member of the Conservative Party. Leo Blair married Blair's mother Hazel from a strongly Protestant family from County Donegal while working at the Ministry of National Insurance in Glasgow. Leo Blair studied law eventually becoming a lecturer in Administrative Law at the University of Adelaide in Australia and eventually the University of Durham in Durham. Leo Blair eventually became a practicing barrister and active in the local Conservative Party.
Tony Blair was the second of three children. He is described as being the child most like his father Leo.

In the opening chapter of the book it states "Tony Blair's political ambition began at age of eleven, when his father Leo's ended, on 4 July 1964. At the age of forty, at the height of his political powers and looking for a Conservative parlimentary seat, Leo Blair had a stroke."

However, the book indicates that many of Blair's acquaintances during his school and law school years were suprised when he decided to become active in politics. Blair was not a member of any political clubs while in school or in-between. Blair had been a singer and manager of a rock n roll band "The Ugly Rumors", had long hair and a van. Unlike his American political counter parts, he never experimented with drugs, smoked marijuana or was seen drunk. In response to the question of whether he ever smoked marijuana, he said no, but if he had "he would have inhaled" in a jab at his friend President Bill Clinton.
One of the suprising discoveries found in the book about Tony Blair is his Christian Socialism. Unlike many American politicians not much mention has been made of the fact he has been a confirmed Christian since his Oxford days. Moreover, he is the only British Prime Minister since Gladstone known to regularly read the Bible.
Tony Blair and his wife Cherie Blair are as political a couple as the Clintons. Both have worked in local politics and both have run for seats in Parliment. When Blair ran his first successful race for his current seat from the Sedgefield Riding, Cherie was seeking a seat in a "marginal" Labor district or riding. However, after Blair won his first election, Cherie decided to forego elective office as one politician was enough in the family. Since Blair's election in Parliment in 1983, the Blairs have had three children and Cherie has continued her career as a successful barrister.
Over half the book covers Blair's career as leader of the Labor Party and Prime Minister. When he became Prime Minister at age 42, only tweleve years in Parliment, he became the youngest Prime Minister since Lord Liverpool who became Prime Minister in 1812.
The book is well documented with footnotes after every chapter. Because of its "scholarliness" it may tend to drag at times in the chapters which deal with his years as Prime Minister from May 2, 1997 through the time the book was written in January 2001. As such it chronicles in detail Tony Blair's first term.
In it, the achievements of the first term include the Balkans, Northern Ireland,as well as helping provide a better standard of living for all of Britian.
Blair is described as a "hands-on" Prime Minister, informal but energized and possibly hyper-working on the phone from planes, on vacation and on the weekend.
With as much detail provided of all aspects of Blair's life, TONY BLAIR-Prime Minister gives the reader and the world great insight into Blair's actions now in his second term as Prime Minister. ... Read more


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