Tag: Alfred Lurie

Churchill’s Biographers: Gilbert vs. Manchester

Churchill’s Biographers: Gilbert vs. Manchester

You Can’t Read One with­out the Other

A read­er asks for “a clear sum­ma­ry of Mar­tin Gilbert’s and William Manchester’s writ­ing styles, remind­ing me of the vast but com­ple­men­tary dif­fer­ence between Churchill’s two most famous biographers.

There are big dif­fer­ences between them, but both should be read for a full appre­ci­a­tion of Churchill. In 1986, as Man­ches­ter was com­plet­ing Vol­ume II of The Last Lion, he received an encour­ag­ing note from Gilbert: “Our work pro­ceeds on par­al­lel tracks.”

Man­ches­ter was a lit­er­ary styl­ist of the first mag­ni­tude, which is quick­ly appar­ent from the sonorous, emo­tive, rolling phras­es of The Last Lion, reflect­ing the skill that ear­li­er brought us Death of a Pres­i­dent and Amer­i­can Cae­sar, his mas­ter­piece on Dou­glas MacArthur.…

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