An N.C. writer keeps a promise to Winston Churchill biographer William Manchester: He's writing the final installment in the late author's "Last Lion" trilogy.
By Pam Kelley
CHAROLETTE OBSERVER, Sunday, Nov. 07, 2010 - TRYON Paul Reid is a former Florida newspaper reporter who moved to the N.C. mountains a few years ago. He's also the most highly anticipated author you've never heard of.
Since 2004, Reid has been writing the third and final volume of "The Last Lion," the late William Manchester's majestic biography of British statesman Winston Churchill.
For legions of Churchill devotees and Manchester fans, the book can't be published soon enough. Readers regularly contact Reid, some from as far away as England and Pakistan, to ask about his progress.
Now he can give them good news. He's nearly finished. Most of the manuscript is in the hands of his editor at Little, Brown and Co. Reid plans to turn in the final pages by month's end.
There's no publication date yet. But typically, once the author delivers the book, it takes about a year to publication.
Reid took on the book at Manchester's request as his health was failing. He died in 2004 at age 82, just months after they decided to collaborate.
"I told Bill, and I meant it ... that I wouldn't let him down," Reid says. "If he wanted me to do this, I would do it. And it would be done well."
Reid, 61, seems at first glance an improbable choice to write an 800-plus page biography. He was neither a Churchill scholar nor a biographer. As a feature writer at the Palm Beach Post, his pieces seldom ran more than a few thousand words.
"We started hearing these stories about this guy, and nobody knew him," says Craig Horn of Weddington, chair of the Churchill Society of North Carolina. "He's certainly not known in Churchill circles."
Reid lacked Churchillian credentials, but Manchester, a former newspaperman himself, wanted a writer with a reporting background. And he trusted Reid.
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