Roosevelt House hosted Tina Santi Flaherty-Winston Churchill Literary Series and welcomed Paul Reid, the co-author with the late William Manchester of The Last Lion: Winston Spencer Churchill: Defender of the Realm, 1940-1965, the third and final volume in Manchester’s legendary biography of Churchill. Reid offered his very special insights into Winston Churchill — and told the story of how he came to collaborate with his friend William Manchester, and write the final part of this monumental and definitive work.
In 1998, after completing much of the research for the final volume ofThe Last Lion, Manchester suffered two strokes that left him unable to write. In 2003, Manchester asked his friend Paul Reid to complete the book. Manchester died less than two months after passing the baton to Reid, who augmented Manchester’s voluminous notes with extensive research of his own. In his acclaimed Defender of the Realm, 1940-1965, Reid presents a revelatory and unparalleled portrait of life and times of Winston Spencer Churchill, a brilliant, flawed and dynamic leader.
William Manchester was a popular novelist, historian, and biographer who, according to the New York Times,“used his novelist’s eye to fashion meticulously researched portraits of power,” William Manchester (1922-2004) was the author of The Arms of Krupp, American Caesar, a biography of Gen. Douglas MacArthur, The Death of a President, about the assassination of John F. Kennedy, Goodbye Darkness, a memoir of his World War II experiences as a Marine in the Pacific, A World Lit Only by Fire, about the Middle Ages, and the first two volumes of his Winston Churchill trilogy, The Last Lion, the third volume of which was completed by Paul Reid and published in 2012. Manchester, adjunct professor of history and writer-in-residence at Wesleyan University. After serving in the Marines during World War II, he graduated first in his class from the University of Massachusetts, and received a master’s degree from the University of Missouri. Manchester’s thesis was on H. L. Mencken, and it became the basis of his first biography, Disturber of the Peace, published while he was a local reporter and foreign correspondent for the Baltimore Sun. Manchester won many awards and prizes, including the Prix Dag Hammarskjöld du mérite littéraire and the National Humanities Medal for his distinguished career.
After stints in the late 1960s and early 1970s as a worker in a cat-food factory, blue-grass guitarist, cab driver, bartender, and counselor at a home for emotionally disturbed children, Paul Reid and his brother bought a small steam-valve manufacturing business in Newtonville, Mass. In the early 1990s, after selling his share of the company, Reid began writing political commentary for local Massachusetts newspapers, which led to a regular op-ed column at the Boston Globe. As a free-lance writer he covered the Yugoslav civil war, narco-terrorism in Colombia, and the Troubles in Northern Ireland. He graduated from Harvard University Extension School in 1990 with a bachelor of Liberal Arts cum laude. In 1996 Reid joined The Palm Beach Post, a Cox newspaper, as a features writer. Reid was named 1998 Cox Newspapers writer of the year and won the 1998 Paul Hansell award, given by the Florida Society of Newspaper Editors, for reporting and writing. In 2003 he was embedded with United States Marines at the start of the Iraq War. In 2004 he left the Post to complete The Last Lion: Defender of the Realm. He lives in western North Carolina.