A world lit only by fire: the medieval mind and the Renaissance

      William Manchester
A world lit only by fire: the medieval mind and the Renaissance

Amazon.com Review

It speaks to the failure of medieval Europe, writes popular historian William Manchester, that "in the year 1500, after a thousand years of neglect, the roads built by the Romans were still the best on the continent." European powers were so absorbed in destroying each other and in suppressing peasant revolts and religious reform that they never quite got around to realizing the possibilities of contemporary innovations in public health, civil engineering, and other peaceful pursuits. Instead, they waged war in faraway lands, created and lost fortunes, and squandered millions of lives. For all the wastefulness of medieval societies, however, Manchester notes, the era created the foundation for the extraordinary creative explosion of the Renaissance. Drawing on a cast of characters numbering in the hundreds, Manchester does a solid job of reconstructing the medieval world, although some scholars may disagree with his interpretations.

From Publishers Weekly

Using only secondary sources, Manchester plunges readers into the medieval mind-set in a captivating, marvelously vivid popular history that humanizes the tumultuous span from the Dark Ages to the dawn of the Renaissance. He delineates an age when invisible spirits infested the air, when tolerance was seen as treachery and "a mafia of profane popes desecrated Christianity." Besides re-creating the arduous lives of ordinary people, the Wesleyan professor of history peoples his tapestry with such figures as Leonardo, Machiavelli, Lucrezia Borgia, Erasmus, Luther, Henry VIII and Anne Boleyn. Manchester ( The Arms of Krupp ) devotes much attention to Magellan, whose globe-straddling voyage shattered Christendom's implicit belief in Europe as the center of the universe. His portrayal of the Middle Ages as a time when the strong and the shrewd flourished, while the imaginative, the cerebral and the unfortunate suffered, rings true. Illustrations.
Copyright 1992 Reed Business Information, Inc.

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    Visions of Glory, 1874-1932

      William Manchester
Visions of Glory, 1874-1932

William Manchester met Winston Churchill on January 24, 1953. Their encounter on the Queen Mary sparked an intense curiosity in Manchester that would eventually result in his classic three-volume magnum opus The Last Lion.

In this, the first volume, we follow Churchill from his birth to 1932, when he began to warn against the remilitarization of Germany. Born of a lovely, wanton American mother and a gifted but unstable son of a duke, his childhood was one of wretched neglect. He sought glory on the battlefields of Cuba, Sudan, India, South Africa and the trenches of France. In Parliament he was the prime force behind the creation of Iraq and Jordan, laid the groundwork for the birth of Israel, and negotiated the independence of the Irish Free State. Yet, as Chancellor of the Exchequer he plunged England into economic crisis, and his fruitless attempt to suppress Gandhi's quest for Indian independence brought political chaos to...

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    The Last Lion

      William Manchester
The Last Lion

Spanning the years of 1940-1965, 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 conjured up by William Manchester and Paul Reid is a man of indomitable courage, lightning fast intellect, and an irresistible will to action. THE LAST LION brilliantly recounts how Churchill organized his nation's military response and defense; compelled FDR into supporting 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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    Goodbye, Darkness

      William Manchester
Goodbye, Darkness

The nightmares began for William Manchester 23 years after WW II. In his dreams he lived with the recurring image of a battle-weary youth (himself), "angrily demanding to know what had happened to the three decades since he had laid down his arms." To find out, Manchester visited those places in the Pacific where as a young Marine he fought the Japanese, and in this book examines his experiences in the line with his fellow soldiers (his "brothers"). He gives us an honest and unabashedly emotional account of his part in the war in the Pacific. "The most moving memoir of combat on WW II that I have ever read. A testimony to the fortitude of man...a gripping, haunting, book." --William L. Shirer

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    The Death of a President

      William Manchester
The Death of a President

William Manchester's epic and definitive account of President John F. Kennedy's assassination — now restored to print in a new paperback edition.
As the world still reeled from the tragic and historic events of November 22, 1963, William Manchester set out, at the request of the Kennedy family, to create a detailed, authoritative record of the days immediately preceding and following President John F. Kennedy's death. Through hundreds of interviews, abundant travel and firsthand observation, and with unique access to the proceedings of the Warren Commission, Manchester conducted an exhaustive historical investigation, accumulating forty-five volumes of documents, exhibits, and transcribed tapes. His ultimate objective — to set down as a whole the national and personal tragedy that was JFK's assassination — is brilliantly achieved in this galvanizing narrative, a book universally acclaimed as a landmark work of modern history.

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    Alone, 1932-1940

      William Manchester
Alone, 1932-1940

Alone is the second volume of William Manchester's brilliant three-volume biography of Winston Churchill. In this volume, we witness the war within, before the colossal war to come. During this period, Churchill was tested as few men are: relentlessly pursued by creditors, disowned by his own party, vociferously dismissed by the press as a warmonger, and twice nearly lost his seat in Parliament. Yet despite his personal and political troubles, Churchill managed to assemble a vast, underground intelligence network-both within the British government and on the continent-which provided him with more complete and accurate information on Germany than the British government. Recognizing the horrifying truth, Churchill stood almost alone against Nazi aggression and the sordid British and French policy of appeasement.

Manchester's luminous portrait never loses sight of Churchill the man-a man with limitations, especially his callousness toward others (including his...

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    The Last Lion: Winston Spencer Churchill: Defender of the Realm, 1940-1965

      William Manchester
The Last Lion: Winston Spencer Churchill: Defender of the Realm, 1940-1965

Spanning the years of 1940-1965, 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 conjured up by William Manchester and Paul Reid is a man of indomitable courage, lightning fast intellect, and an irresistible will to action. THE LAST LION brilliantly recounts how Churchill organized his nation's military response and defense; compelled FDR into supporting 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.

From Booklist

Starred Review The second volume of the late Manchester’s Churchill biography (The Last Lion: Alone, 1988) left its audience in suspense with Churchill’s appointment as British prime minister in May 1940 and in anticipation of how Manchester would present Churchill’s and Britain’s finest hour in WWII. Foiled by illness, Manchester tapped Paul Reid, who has magnificently completed Manchester’s work. Opening with a character sketch of Churchill in his multifaceted guises of sentimentality, egotistical insensitivity, and brilliance, Reid dives into Churchill’s war leadership in 1940 that is the cynosure of his place in history. Reid’s got the research right, down to the day, down to the minute. He shows Churchill defying Hitler and appeasers––the French leadership and figures in the British government––who even in 1940 thought peace could be arranged with the triumphant Nazis. As Reid chronicles Churchill’s public speeches, communications, and strategy sessions, he affords regular glimpses at Churchill’s private aspects—his wittiness, sybaritic consumption of scotch and cigars, and moods bordering on depression. If reading Churchill’s life after 1945 entails an unavoidably anticlimactic quality, Reid nevertheless ably chronicles its main events of writing his WWII memoirs and assuming his second premiership of 1951–55. Manchester was one of the best Churchill biographers, and this capstone to his magnum opus ought not be missed. --Gilbert Taylor

Review

“Majestic . . . This book is superb. It has tremendous pace, rich detail and immense drama.”The Washington Post
 
“Masterful . . . The collaboration completes the Churchill portrait in a seamless manner, combining the detailed research, sharp analysis and sparkling prose that readers of the first two volumes have come to expect.”—Associated Press

“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)


“Breathtaking . . . brilliant and beautiful, evocative.”—The Boston Globe

“A must-read finale for those who loved Manchester’s first two books.”—USA Today

“The final volume is . . . majestic and inspiring.”—*People*

“One of the most thorough treatments of Churchill so far produced.”Library Journal (starred review)

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