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Download The Last Lion: Winston Spencer Churchill, Vol. 3: Defender of the Realm, 1940–1965 Audiobook

Extended Audio Sample The Last Lion: Winston Spencer Churchill, Vol. 3: Defender of the Realm, 1940–1965, by Paul Reid, William Manchester Click for printable size audiobook cover
4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 4.00 (437 ratings) (rate this audio book) Author: Paul Reid, William Manchester Narrator: Clive Chafer, Paul Reid Publisher: Blackstone Audio Format: Unabridged Audiobook Delivery: Instant Download Audio Length: Release Date:
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Admirers of the first two volumes of the Winston Churchill biography "The Last Lion: Winston Spencer Churchill" wrote off their chances of ever seeing the third and final book when the author died in 2004. The third volume, however, was completed by journalist Paul Reid and released in 2012.

Covering a 25-year period from 1940 to 1965, Volume 3: Defender of the Realm begins as Churchill takes the office of Prime Minister. Unfortunately for Churchill, this came just as his small-but-powerful nation was being attacked by its European neighbor, Nazi Germany.

Defender of the Realm takes an in-depth look at Churchill's work during and after the war. From his organization of Britain's military response to the actions he took to bolster support from the United States and other allies, the book shows a man leading a country could have easily been torn apart by either war or politics.

Churchill's intellect, courage and will are evident in Defender of the Realm, but the book isn't entirely focused on the man. Churchill played such an active, hands-on role as both Prime Minister and Defense Minister of Britain during World War II that his life is deeply intertwined with the political side of Britain's involvement in the war. While it doesn't delve into military practices, the book looks at the political decisions and their ramifications.

William Manchester was a biographer and historian, writing 18 bestselling books and winning numerous awards. He also received the National Humanities Medal and the Abraham Lincoln Literary Award. After suffering two strokes, Manchester announced that Reid would pick up where he left off. Reid was a close friend of Manchesters, as well as a political writer for COX Newspapers. T his volume took more than 20 years to come to fruition, partially because Manchester only enlisted the help of Reid shortly before his death in 2004. Reid then had to review Manchester's notes from his previous research, complete his own research and finally write the book.

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

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

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Quotes & Awards

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

    Publishers Weekly (starred review)

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


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

    Library Journal (starred review)

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

    Kirkus Reviews (starred review)

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


  • One of the 2012 Kirkus Reviews’ Best Books: Biography
  • A New York Times Bestseller
  • A 2012 Barnes & Noble Best Book for Nonfiction
  • A Kirkus Reviews “New and Notable Title”, November 2012
  • A 2012 BookPage Top Pick
  • A 2012 Booklist Editors’ Choice Selection: Biography
  • A BookPage Book of the Day in December 2012
  • Winner of an AudioFile Earphones Award

Listener Opinions

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 by Rgroves | 2/15/2014

    " Imagine my anticipation when I learned that the third volume of manchester's opus would be completed (having devoured the first two when issued). Hard to believe it was over twenty years ago. While The fine tune of Manchester's prose that consumed me in vol 1 and 2 is not present, the historical events and churchill's tenacity remain compelling. Churchill is a hero of mine largely reinforced by my reading of the first two volumes. I must say that while volume 3 continued to detail churchill's tremendous influence on the ultimate outcome of WWII it also presented his mistakes and human flaws perhaps more clearly than manchester's eloquence tended to mask. An absolute must read for everyone who read vols 1&2 seeking their long awaited "closure" "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 by Jonathan Crawford | 1/24/2014

    " Reid had an almost impossible task and he pulled it off well. This book certainly had a different feel than the first two volumes, but it was still very enjoyable and well written. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 by Hal | 1/3/2014

    " I'll do a review later. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 by Ethan Russell") | 12/30/2013

    " I could quibble but it would be churlish. The book is monumental. "

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About the Narrator

Paul Reid is an award-winning journalist and a former feature writer for Cox Newspapers. In late 2003 his friend, William Manchester, in failing health, asked him to complete The Last Lion: Defender of the Realm. He lives in North Carolina.