William Manchester

William Manchester (1922–2004) was a journalist, Professor of History Emeritus at Wesleyan University, and the best-selling author of several noted histories, novels, and biographies. Notable works include The Last Lion, a biography of Winston Churchill spanning several volumes; American Caesar, on the life of Douglas MacArthur; The Arms of Krupp, A World Lit Only By Fire; and The Death of a President. His awards include the Dag Hammarskjold International Literary Prize, the National Humanities Medal, the Abraham Lincoln Literary Award, and the Peggy V. Helmerich Distinguished Author Award.

Featured Books By Author

One Brief Shining Moment

In his renowned biographies, Portrait of a President and The Death of a President, William Manchester intimately and meticulously detailed the life and death of President John F. Kennedy. One Brief Shining Moment is a celebration of that life, based on Manchester’s own recollections of his time with one of America’s most famous families.

John Kennedy first met William Manchester in 1946, beginning a friendship that would follow him to Washington and eventually the White House. But, beyond the closed doors of the Oval Office, Manchester enjoyed a close relationship with the Kennedys. Pulling from family gatherings in New England to trips along the campaign trail and informal private talks with JFK himself, this is William Manchester’s personal account of the man behind the legend, someone he truly admired, and was proud to call a friend.

One Brief Shining Moment provides a firsthand look at the thought process behind JFK’s most important decisions as president, his drive to move the country in a new direction, and the relationships he had with his family and friends. This is a book about a man, about a life, and about a triumphant moment in American history.

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Controversy

4.29

In the title essay Controversy, Manchester details his experience writing The Death of a President, the award-winning account of the assassination of President John F. Kennedy. It was indeed a controversy like few others, engaging one of the most prominent historians of the day against Jackie Kennedy, the most famous, yet private, widow in the world. This 76-page essay provides a compelling insider's account of the most high-profile publishing struggle of its day.

"A work of love, even passion.... Mr. Manchester's final telling of the death of Kennedy is most moving; it is also less controversial than one had been led to believe by those who read the original manuscript." --Gore Vidal

This sweeping collection further provides a penetrating look at the period between World War II and the Vietnam era. In an account that's both exacting in its accuracy and a pleasure to read, these essays cover the events that shaped world history during this period of time--from the Bay of Pigs fiasco to Watergate and Vietnam.

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The Glory and the Dream

4.42

Award-winning historian and biographer William Manchester, author of The Last Lion, an epic three-volume biography of Winston Churchill, brings us an evocative and powerful exploration of the American way of life from 1932 to 1972. Covering almost every facet of American culture during a very diverse and tumultuous period in history, Manchester's account is both dramatic and surprisingly intimate--with compelling details that could only be known by a dedicated historian who lived through and documented this fascinating time in history.

For several decades, William Manchester was the most popular and highly regarded historian and biographer of his time--and this book provides the reader with a powerful example of the reason for that reputation.

"There is no fiction that can compete with good, gossipy, anecdotal history--the inside story of who said or did what in moments of great tensions or crisis... I think you ought to read this history and weep, read it and laugh, read it and don't repeat it." --Anatole Broyard

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William Manchester