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William Manchester

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Jan 14, 2022

William Raymond Manchester (April 1, 1922 – June 1, 2004)[2] was an American author, biographer, and historian. He was the author of 18 books which have been translated into over 20 languages.[3] He was awarded the National Humanities Medal and the Abraham Lincoln Literary Award.

American author, journalist and historian
For other people named William Manchester, see William Manchester (disambiguation).

William Manchester

Manchester in c.1967
Born William Raymond Manchester
(1922-04-01)April 1, 1922
Attleboro, Massachusetts, U.S.
Died June 1, 2004(2004-06-01) (aged 82)
Middletown, Connecticut
Resting place Indian Hill Cemetery, Middletown, Connecticut[1]
Occupation
  • Historian
  • biographer
  • professor
Nationality American
Notable works American Caesar: Douglas MacArthur 1880–1964
The Death of a President
The Last Lion: Winston Spencer Churchill
Signature

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Manchester was born in Attleboro, Massachusetts,[4] and grew up in Springfield, Massachusetts.[2] His father served in the U.S. Marine Corps during World War I. After his father’s death, and the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor, William Manchester likewise enlisted in the Marine Corps. However, he was ordered back to college until called up. Initially he joined the Officer Candidate School but was dropped before receiving a commission. After being warranted to the rank of corporal, he was sent to Guadalcanal in 1944 for further training. Although he had expected to serve in Europe, Manchester ultimately found himself in the Pacific Theater. He served in the Pacific War’s final campaign on the island of Okinawa, was severely wounded on June 5, 1945, and was promoted to sergeant[5] in July and awarded the Purple Heart. Manchester’s wartime experiences formed the basis for his very personal account of the Pacific Theater, Goodbye, Darkness: A Memoir of the Pacific War. In this memoir, Manchester uses personal anecdotes from his service on Okinawa in his descriptions of battles on Guadalcanal, Tarawa and Saipan. He stated this in the end notes, as well as clearly denying any attempt at a chronological account. Manchester’s portrayal of his section in combat on Guadalcanal is a literary device. Manchester falsifies much of his wartime service and injuries. Later examination of his personal papers, his wartime record and his personal x-rays prove that much of what he recounted were lies. [6]

Manchester also wrote of World War II in several other books, including the first and second volumes and, according to a description of the writing of the third volume by his co-author Paul Reid in the early pages of the volume, his notes and writing were also very important in the completion of that volume of the three-part biography, The Last Lion, of Winston Churchill. Manchester also wrote a biography of General Douglas MacArthur, American Caesar.

Manchester worked as a copyboy for the Daily Oklahoman in 1945 before returning to college. In 1946, he completed his B.A. from the Massachusetts State College, and in 1947 he earned his master’s degree from the University of Missouri.

Manchester married Julia Brown Marshall on March 27, 1948, and they had one son, music composer John[7] and two daughters.[8]

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