Thursday, May 17, 2007

The Churchill Series – May 17, 2007

(One of a series of weekday posts on the life of Winston S. Churchill.)

As almost all of you know, William Manchester, one of the most popular of Churchill’s many biogrphers, died while working on the third volume of The Last Lion, the first two volumes of which, Visions of Glory and Alone, topped best seller lists and remain in print.

But there will be a third volume after all. It’s working title is Defender of the Realm. Paul Reid, a friend of Manchester’s is working with Manchester’s notes and drafts to complete the book in time for release in 2008.

One of those asked to review proofs of Defender of the Realm reported to others via email receiving the following from Reid:

I have finished Parts One (1940) and Two (1941) and will be through Parts Three, Four and Five by mid-2007. Publication is set for sometime in 2008. Bill's notes and interviews run to thousands of pages, enough to fuel at least three more volumes.

My job, therefore, is to pace this final volume. About half of it will cover 1940 and 1941, about forty-percent the remainder of the war and about 10-15 percent the post-war years. Bill saw the post-war years (or at least the last decade) as a long "afterward". Having been guided by Bill the last year of his life, and having in hand the pages he wrote (to the fall of France) I think I have a good feeling for the pace he set and where he was going.

The pages Bill finished are, as was usual with William Manchester, marvelous, full of suspense and foreshadowing, a real tale beautifully told.

Among many things he made clear to me was his desire that this book be an enjoyable read for younger people, people under 40 years of age who did not grow up with stories of the War percolating through their household.
When I learn more about the 3rd volume, I’ll pass that on. I hope you all will do the same with anything you learn.

John

4 comments:

Ex-prosecutor said...

Than you for the update. I heard that volume 3 was in the works and am pleased to know it is coming along well.

I remember, some years ago, being at our local library, looking through the card catalog, which then consisted of cards in pull-out drawers. That for "Churchill," which is what I was looking up, was a drawer and a half. I cannot think of another person about whom so much has been written and who has been as prolific an author himself.

When I read some of the multi-syllabled nonsense of the group of '88, it reminds me of Churchill's genius in speaking and writing, achieved with short sentences and common, powerful words.

My last comment is that, should time travel be available, my trip back would be to one of the dinners at Churchill's house. They were described brilliantly in Manchester's volume two. I would, of course, not be dumb enough to attempt trading quips with Sir Winston.

Anonymous said...

Thanks for the Manchester update. The first two volumes of The Last Lion were among my favorite books... I am enthralled there will be a third, even if only partially written by Manchester. His spirit and vision however will hopefully still be there.

A question:

We will be traveling to the WWII cemeteries in Normandy this summer...are there any special Churchill tributes there? Did Churchill travel to Normandy? If so, what did he think about the cemeteries? And, are there any special tributes to Churchill in Paris? Any info, on these questions would be most welcome...Also, where did Churchill live in London when he was out of the PM's job? Thanks

Penny said...

Hello, all. I stumbled happily on this ongoing conversation. I am so glad to hear of the update on the unfinished Volume 3. Churchill has been my hero since 1954 when I was 10. I followed what was left of his career until 1965. I watched his funeral as if he had been a family member. So glad there are other people out there passionate about this great man.

Frank said...

Now that 2008 is history....any further news on the publication of "Defender of the Realm"?