Though some well-known writers were considered, the job ended up with a Florida newspaperman named Paul Reid. But then Manchester died in 2004, shortly after they became partners, leaving Reid on his own. He had never written a book before. He could not decipher Manchester’s notes.
Reid persevered, guided by a skilled editor named Bill Phillips. The project took seven years. Reid went through his advance, his savings and his and his wife’s 401(k) accounts. He kept going because he knew if he didn't, it wouldn’t get done. Happy ending: The third volume of ‘‘The Last Lion,’’ subtitled ‘‘Defender of the Realm, 1940-1965,’’ is done, it is arriving in bookstores and it’s getting strong early reviews.
Good for you, Mr. Reid.