(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.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.
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.