Wednesday, June 02, 2004
It contains a stirring eulogy to William Manchester, one of the great narrative historians of the last half of the Twentieth Century. Money quote:
When William Manchester was a young man, he sat at the bedside of H.L. Mencken and read to the dying man every day for the last year of his life. It is too much to hope that some youthful titan comforted Manchester in his sunset; it is probably enough to know, as Longfellow said, "Great men stand like solitary towers in the city of God." If so, we may permit ourselves a hopeful scene: Elysian fields, and in them a young Marine and his wife in the company of the Last Lion. They are lost in conversations of war and remembrance. And they stand like towers.
It is my loss that I have yet to tackle Manchester's homage to Churchill, The Last Lion. Having read American Caesar, I understand that Manchester was one of our most formidable narrative historians. We are the less for his passing. Save Tacitus, of course, who gave a good account of himself today.