- NAME: William Manchester
- OCCUPATION: Writer
- BIRTH DATE: April 01, 1922
- DEATH DATE: June 01, 2004
- Did You Know?: William Manchester was a prolific worker, famous for his 50-hour writing sessions.
- EDUCATION: University of Missouri-Columbia, University of Massachusetts
- PLACE OF BIRTH: Attleboro, Massachusetts
- PLACE OF DEATH: Middletown, Connecticut
- Maiden Name: William Raymond Manchester Jr.
- AKA: William Raymond Manchester
- AKA: William Raymond Manchester Jr.
Best Known For
William Manchester was a historian who notably wrote about American President John F. Kennedy and British Prime Minister Winston Churchill.
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Manchester ended up working with the Kennedy family to make some minor edits of the book. In the end, the tension surrounding the project proved publishing gold, with Death of a President going on to sell more than 1.3 million hardcover copies after its publication in the spring of 1967. Despite being dismissed by some critics as hagiography,
the book earned Manchester the coveted Dag Hammarskjold International Literary Prize. It was considered a landmark in reportage on the world-famous assassination, but has subsequently been superseded as new evidence has emerged.
A tireless writer and researcher, Manchester's post-Kennedy career proved incredibly fruitful. His later books included The Arms of Krupp, 1587-1958 (1968); American Caesar: Douglas MacArthur 1880-1964 (1978); and the first two volumes of The Last Lion: Winston Spencer Churchill biography: Visions of Glory, 1874-1932 (1983) and Alone, 1932-1940 (1988). In addition, he authored the 1,400-page The Glory and the Dream: A Narrative History of America, 1932-1972, which was published in 1974.
For Manchester, the interest in his subjects was born out of his own interest and fascination with power.
"Power is the one thing that has fascinated me ever since I was a kid in Springfield, Mass.," he once said. "What exactly is power? Where are its roots? How do some people get it and others miss it entirely? How do they hold it or lose it?"
A series of debilitating strokes eventually diminished Manchester's ability to work, and he was forced to pass the incomplete third volume of Churchill's biography, Defender of the Realm, 1940-1965, to another writer. Manchester died at his home in Middletown, Connecticut, on June 1, 2004.
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