William Manchester

Given NameWilliam
Born1 Apr 1922
Died1 Jun 2004
CountryUnited States


ww2dbaseWilliam Raymond Manchester was born in Attleboro, Massachusetts, United States to William Raymond Manchester and Sallie Thompson Manchester. In his youth, he was often sick, which kept him in the home with books, mainly poetry, as his companions. His father served in the United States Marine Corps during WW1, which was among the reasons he enlisted in the Marine Corps after the Pearl Harbor attack brought the United States into WW2. He was sent to the Pacific Ocean, serving at Guadalcanal after the island was largely secured and then participated in the Okinawa Campaign. During the latter action, he was severely wounded by an exploding rocket. Returning to the United States in 1945 at the rank of sergeant, he worked as a copyboy for the newspaper Daily Oklahoman news, and then returned to college to complete the studies he began before he fought in the war. In 1946, he received a bachelor's degree from University of Massachusetts and in 1947 a master's degree from the University of Missouri. In 1947, he began working for the Baltimore Sun. In 1951, he published his first book, which was a biography of journalist H. L. Mencken. In 1948, he married Julia Marshall Manchester, who passed away in 1998; they had three children. In 1955, he became an editor for Wesleyan University, where he would remain for the rest of his writing career; later in life, he took on an additional role of an adjust professor of history at Wesleyan as well.

ww2dbaseDuring the course of his career, Manchester published numerous books, 18 of which were best sellers that were translated into 20 languages. Among his most popular were on John F. Kennedy, whom he met while recovering from injuries sustained at Okinawa; those works elevated his status as a writer. Several of his other works dealt with WW2 topics; some of them include:

ww2dbaseManchester was nominated for a National Book Award for American Caesar, a biography of Douglas MacArthur.

ww2dbaseGoodbye, Darkness was his own memoir on the Pacific War, supported by some collective experience of all Americans who served. In this book, he touched upon concepts such as survivor's guilt, the unjust reference of Japanese fighters as fanatic instead of brave, and homosexuality in the United States military, topics which only few authors dive deeply into. "It belongs with the best war memoirs ever written", so claimed the Los Angeles Times.

ww2dbaseThe Last Lion was planned to be a three-volume biography of Winston Churchill, but after suffering two strokes in the late 1990s, Manchester announced that the third would not be completed. "Language for me came as easily as breathing for 50 years, and I can't do it anymore," he told the New York Times in 2001. "The feeling is indescribable." Manchester passed away in 2004 in his home at Middletown, Connecticut, United States. The work-in-progress for the third volume of The Last Lion is to be completed by writer Paul Reid.

ww2dbaseIn his 2 Jun 2004 article in the newspaper Washington Post, Adam Bernstein called Manchester "one of the most productive and scrupulous writers of best-selling tomes about outsized modern historical figures and contemporary culture."

ww2dbaseSources: the Washington Post, Wikipedia.

Last Major Revision: Sep 2007

William Manchester Timeline

1 Apr 1922 William Manchester was born.
1 Jun 2004 William Manchester passed away.

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More on William Manchester
Event(s) Participated:
» Okinawa Campaign

Related Books:
» American Caesar: Douglas MacArthur 1880-1964
» Goodbye, Darkness: A Memoir of the Pacific War
» Goodbye, Darkness: A Memoir of the Pacific War
» The Arms of Krupp
» The Last Lion: Alone, 1932-1940
» The Last Lion: Defender of the Realm, 1940-1965

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