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 opusThe 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 Britain.
Throughout, Churchill learned the lessons that would prepare him for the storm to come, and as the 1930’s began, he readied himself for the coming battle against Nazism–an evil the world had never before seen.