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

The Last Lion: Winston Spencer Churchill, Vol. 3: Defender of the Realm, 1940–1965 Audiobook, by William Manchester Extended Sample Click for printable size audiobook cover
Author: Paul Reid, William Manchester Narrator: Paul Reid, Clive Chafer Publisher: Blackstone Publishing Format: Unabridged Audiobook Delivery: Instant Download Audio Length: Release Date: November 2012 ISBN: 9781483077840
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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

  • “Clive Chafer’s presentation is outstanding, with his mellow British accent remaining authentic and easy on the ear throughout. Pacing is everything in a book of this length, and Chafer’s perfect tempo moves the text briskly along while allowing listeners to absorb the riveting details. He employs the lightest touch with pace and tone to indicate shifts from narrative to quoted material. This pairing of gifted authors and expert narrator turns an initially intimidating audiobook into that perfect choice for a long winter’s listen. Winner of the AudioFile Earphones Award.”


  • “Churchill was the greatest man of the last century, and this is the greatest biography of him.”

    John Lescroart, New York Times bestselling author

  • “The final volume is…majestic and inspiring.”


  • “A must-read finale.”

    USA Today

  • “This book is superb. It has tremendous pace, rich detail, and immense drama.”

    Washington Post

  • “Brilliant and beautiful, evocative.”

    Boston Globe

  • “Masterful…[with] the detailed research, sharp analysis, and sparkling prose that readers of the first two volumes have come to expect.”

    Associated Press

  • “Masters the details and sweep of an extraordinary story.”

    Minneapolis Star-Tribune

  • “This is surely the best installment of the [series]…a winning, full-blooded biography.”


  • “Magnificently delineated…The story of Churchill and Britain in the Second World War…is vividly evoked by Manchester and Reid.”

    Winnipeg Free Press (Canada)

  • “The long-delayed majestic account of Winston Churchill’s last twenty-five years is worth the wait.”

    Publishers Weekly (starred review)

  • “Churchill is revealed, warts and all, as a complex man…The great majority of this volume is devoted to the war, which most will agree encompassed Churchill’s finest hours… Manchester’s magnum opus.”

    Library Journal (starred review)

  • “Discover the steadfast courage and military brilliance of Winston Churchill…when he alone faced the threat of Nazi Germany.”


  • One of the 2012 Kirkus Reviews’ Best Books: Biography
  • A New York Times bestseller
  • A Barnes & Noble Best Book of the Year in Nonfiction
  • 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
  • An iBooks bestseller in Biographies
  • A #1 bestseller

Listener Reviews

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  • 0 out of 50 out of 50 out of 50 out of 50 out of 5 Franklin | 7/26/2017

    " Great read going into the mind of Winston! Also a good look at the history of the world during that period. Much of what we deal with today was based on events during that time frame. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 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 Jonathan | 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 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 Ethan | 12/30/2013

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

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 David | 11/18/2013

    " I had waited close to 15 years for this final volume to be published. It did not disappoint. I highly recommend the entire last Last Lion series as an invaluable into one of histories greatest leaders and for a better understanding of the history that shapes the world we live in today. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Thom | 11/17/2013

    " Having read Manchester's first two volumes twice, I was excited yet dubious about this last installation of Churchill's life. In Reid Manchester chose the right person to pick up where he was, unfortunately, forced to leave off. I thoroughly enjoyed it. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Brian | 10/12/2013

    " The biggest differences between the writers were that Reid was more critical of Churchill than Manchester was (although fairly in my eyes) and his writing style was not quite as engaging. But overall a good book and a worthy addition. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Ian | 9/25/2013

    " Good, but not great. While I enjoyed the book, I am reminded every so often of how the bulk was not written by Manchester, but by his literary replacement. If anything, this book makes me want to sit down and read a finished Manchester book. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Rod | 5/18/2013

    " An excellent book. Of course very comprehensive and detailed. Probably suffered a bit by having a second author complete the book. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Jim | 3/22/2013

    " This very detailed book was 1,053 pages and took me two weeks to read. It had fascinating detail about WWII and the major players (WC, FDR, Stalin, et al) in it. I thoroughly enjoyed it, although after a while I was thinking that it was a mite too detailed! "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Jeff | 3/14/2013

    " Kudos to Paul Reid for completing Manchester's magisterial 3-part biogarphy. Highly recommended for those interested in Churchill, WWII, and the post-war geo-political landscape. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Barbara | 2/11/2013

    " A great deal of information is pulled together beautifully in this excellent read. I found a few things to quibble with . . . but I think this book is a wonderful achievement. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Roland | 2/2/2013

    " I can totally relate to Mr. Churchill and Mr. Reid makes turning a thousand pages effortless (so far). I just wish I had read about Churchill sooner. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Maureen | 11/15/2012

    " I find Churchill one of the most fascinating figures in history, and Manchester does a masterful job capturing this larger-than-life leader. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 David | 10/27/2012

    " I've been waiting a long time for this volume. Generally it was worth the wait. The war years took up most of this book. The last 20 years of WSC's deserved more treatment than received in this book. It felt rushed. "

About the Author

William Manchester (1922–2004) was an award-winning American author, biographer, historian, and a professor emeritus of history at Wesleyan University. He was awarded the National Humanities Medal and the Abraham Lincoln Literary Award. Among his many New York Times bestselling books are two which made the #1 spot on the list: The Death of a President and The Last Lion: Alone.

About the Narrators

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.

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