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Coming Up Trumps: A Memoir [Unabridged] [Hardcover]

Jean Trumpington
4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (153 customer reviews)
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Book Description

24 April 2014

In this characteristically trenchant memoir, the indomitable Jean Trumpington looks back on her long and remarkable life. The daughter of an officer in the Bengal Lancers and an American heiress, Jean Campbell-Harris was born into a world of considerable privilege, but the Wall Street Crash entirely wiped out her mother's fortune.

Leaving school at fifteen, without ever taking an exam, the young Jean Campbell-Harris was sent to Paris to study art and both French and German, but two years later, with the outbreak of the Second World War, she became a land girl - on a farm owned by Lloyd George, a family friend - however, she soon changed direction, joining naval intelligence at Bletchley Park, where she stayed for the rest of the war. After the war she worked first in Paris and then in New York, on Madison Avenue, with advertising's 'mad men'. It was in New York that she met her husband, the historian Alan Barker, and their marriage, in 1954, ushered in the happiest period of her life - bringing up her only son, Adam, and becoming a not entirely conventional headmaster's wife, before embarking on her distinguished political career, as a Cambridge City councillor, Mayor of Cambridge and, then, in 1980, a life peer.

Forthright, witty and deliciously opinionated, Coming Up Trumps is a wonderfully readable account of a life very well lived.


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Product details

  • Hardcover: 256 pages
  • Publisher: Macmillan; Unabridged edition (24 April 2014)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1447256778
  • ISBN-13: 978-1447256779
  • Product Dimensions: 22.6 x 14 x 2.8 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (153 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 7,699 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Product Description

Book Description

In this witty, candid and utterly fascinating memoir, Baroness Trumpington looks back on her long and remarkable life. The daughter of an officer in the Bengal Lancers and an American heiress, she was born in 1922 into a world of privilege and luxury. But her mother lost most of her inheritance in the Wall Street Crash and the family retrenched from Mayfair to Sandwich, in Kent, where her mother became a succesful society interior decorator.

Leaving school at fifteen, without ever taking an exam, the young Jean Campbell-Harris was sent to Paris to study art and both French and German, but two years later, with the outbreak of the Second World War, she became a land girl - on a farm owned by Lloyd George, a family friend. She loathed the outdoor life and soon changed direction, putting her German to good use by joining naval intelligence at Bletchley Park, where she stayed for the rest of the war.

After the war was over, she went to New York and worked on Madison Avenue as an advertising copywriter. It was in New York that she met her husband, Alan Barker, a history teacher. They returned to England and married in 1954, where Barker became first a master and then headmaster at the Leys School in Cambridge.

In this witty and winning memoir, Jean Trumpington recalls her early life, growing up in London and Kent in the 1920s and 30s, her wartime experiences, her life in the world of Madison Avenue's 'mad men' and - perhaps the happiest period of her life - her years as a headmaster's wife. The book ends with her embarking on what was to become a distinguished political career. It is vivid, forthright and funny, and will appeal to readers who enjoyed the Duchess of Devonshire's Wait for Me as well as to the many people who warmed to Lady Trumpington after her triumphant appearance on Have I Got News for You.

From the Inside Flap

In this witty and characteristically trenchant memoir, the indomitable Jean Trumpington looks back on her long and remarkable life. The daughter of an officer in the Bengal Lancers and an American heiress, Jean Campbell-Harris was born into a world of considerable privilege, but the Wall Street Crash entirely wiped out her mother's fortune.

Leaving school at fifteen, without ever taking an exam, the young Jean Campbell-Harris was sent to Paris to study art and both French and German, but two years later, with the outbreak of the Second World War, she became a land girl - on a farm owned by Lloyd George, a family friend - however, she soon changed direction, joining naval intelligence at Bletchley Park, where she stayed for the rest of the war. After the war she worked first in Paris and then in New York, on Madison Avenue, with advertising's 'mad men'. It was in New York that she met her husband, the historian Alan Barker, and their marriage, in 1954, ushered in the happiest period of her life - bringing up her only son, Adam, and becoming a not entirely conventional headmaster's wife, before embarking on her distinguished political career, as a Cambridge City councillor, Mayor of Cambridge and, then, in 1980, a life peer.

Vivid, forthright and often very funny, Coming Up Trumps is a wonderfully readable account of a life very well lived.


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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
18 of 18 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars She always came up trumps 21 May 2014
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
I would not normally bother to read about the upper class, but after reading a write up about her in a daily newspaper, I decided that I
should read more about her. They fell on hard times, but their idea of hard times is not our idea of hard times. No qualifications but siezed every opportunity that came her way. She had the right conections. I really loved her story. She comes across as a truly amazing
woman. I dont want to go into the story as it can be found elsewhere. All I will say is it was a fantastic read for me. Another book I found hard to put down.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Lady is a Trump. 27 Jun 2014
By Sue Kichenside TOP 500 REVIEWER
Format:Hardcover
According to LP Hartley, "The past is a foreign country; they do things differently there." For the English upper classes in the middle of the last century, the past wasn't so much a foreign country as a whole other planet. This memoir, spanning almost a century, makes the reader acutely aware of how much times have changed. And what an engaging read it is!

Baroness Trumpington writes with a simple honest charm, telling us about her privileged (though latterly impoverished) upbringing when children were brought up by their nannies and presented to their parents for a goodnight peck on the cheek. That was about it for physical or emotional contact - and even at the age of 91, she doesn't seem to have ever recovered from her mother's lack of warmth. But then, we never get over our parents, do we?

Nevertheless, the Baroness has enjoyed the most amazing life and loved virtually every minute of it. She herself is the first to admit that she's been remarkably lucky. But plucky too. And her courage combined with a sense of mischief, infectious good humour and a positive attitude to whatever life throws her way has brought her not only many friends but also countless work opportunities. She has seized every one of them. She talks a lot of sense and sounds the most tremendous fun.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Came up trumps for me ! 22 May 2014
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
What a great read. I saw the famous photo from the House of Lords and then saw Baroness Trumpington on HIGNFY. So when I saw the book I thought it might be amusing. I was not disappointed. She has led a very colourful life, met some amazing people, and never takes her life or herself too seriously. I recommend this book. I read it on the train to and from work in two days. The only problem was it made me smile and giggle on several occasions, which caused some concern among fellow commuters !
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An enjoyable romp through life 23 May 2014
By Michael
Format:Hardcover
Jean Trumpington's biography is a conversation piece about a way of life which has almost vanished. From the upper middle class ( I guess) she had all the necessary contacts to make the best of the opportunities which have come her way. Never rich but rich in her friendships. She comes across as a warm, likeable and honest person.
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13 of 14 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Reasons why we need more Jean Trumpingtons 8 May 2014
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
Such a wonderfully compelling read. Having witnessed and admired Jean Trumpington's forays on TV, I was fascinated to read more about her: in particular her eventful life and her thoughts and attitudes. Today's world could do with more of her kind in public life. This is one of the best, earnest and honest memoirs I have read in a long time. Thank you Baroness T.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A charming lady ! 1 Jun 2014
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
A fascinating book about a woman who has enjoyed a very interesting life! I thoroughly enjoyed every page & couldn't put it down ! If you like interesting people with a positive outlook on life you'll enjoy this book too . Well written & charming . I felt by the time I had completed this book that I would really enjoy a good old chinwag with this lovely lady !
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Win all, no trumps 4 Jun 2014
By Chris Pearson VINE VOICE
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
Trumpers is a good storyteller, with a good story to tell in this light and quick-read memoir.

Her energy for life shines through on every page, and her larger-than-life character is evident throughout.

Her style is matter-of-fact for the most part, although she speaks emotionally about her husband and family at times.

Coming from a well-connected family she rattles off her views and anecdotes about many- from Lloyd George to Enoch Powell, Robert Mugabe to Harold Macmillan, Jackie O to Mrs Thatcher and Rab Butler to Sam Cam and Jack Whitehall.

She tells of her family losing everything in the '29 crash, moving to the country and eventually returning to London. Trumpers starts work at Bletchley Park and moves to New York before marrying her husband, Barker. They settle in Cambridge and after her full-time role as an Headmaster's wife and local councillor in Cambridge, she is London-bound, admitted to The House of Lords, and subsequently working for a number of government departments in the Thatcher era.

It's a good read but more of her personal insights into many she met would have been nice. A really small point is her use of the word `deplaned' near the end of the book- I can't believe for a minute it's a word she would use!

So, if you're looking for depth and analysis of her life and times, don't start here.

But if you do want a candid memoir that is emphatically told, in an authentic voice, by a good raconteur, then look no further.
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10 of 11 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Nice easy read 18 May 2014
By ginama
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
This is just a romp of a read that doesn't tax the brain and is quite funny. Some of this story is rather sad should the reader stop to think, but without fuss, the ups and downs are all romped through.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
My wife enjoyed this book
Published 1 day ago by Michael Welch
5.0 out of 5 stars great
Fast posting and excellent quality
Published 1 day ago by Nicola Blundell
4.0 out of 5 stars Sounds as though she would be a brilliant dinner party guest
Entertaining read. Sounds as though she would be a brilliant dinner party guest. She sounds like my late godmother - nothing fazed her & up for anything (she once drove a bus in a... Read more
Published 4 days ago by Daryl Cowperthwaite
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Excellent read. Book in good condition
Published 8 days ago by Jacqui
5.0 out of 5 stars A great read just enough information to keep your attention and ...
A great read just enough information to keep your attention and can be read quite quickly. Jean Trumpington is a character its a pity there are not more like her in Parliament.
Published 9 days ago by Geoffrey Thomas
4.0 out of 5 stars Marriage and her children brought great happiness, then on a political...
Jean, in her book has come over as a stoically yet deeply caring woman.The description of a.sometimes unhappy childhood was at times rather moving,yet not canvassing any sympathy... Read more
Published 14 days ago by Christine Haslam
5.0 out of 5 stars Well worth a read
A really well written memoir. Jean Trumpington really does sound great fun!
Published 16 days ago by celia sherfield
4.0 out of 5 stars Four Stars
A good read - how the other half lives! not sure that I admire their lifestyle though
Published 18 days ago by chris bee
5.0 out of 5 stars A delightful read
You must read this book!

Baroness Trumpington has the most infectious enthusiasm for life: she's witty, mischievous, passionate and has led a fascinating (and indeed... Read more
Published 18 days ago by London girl
4.0 out of 5 stars Four Stars
An enjoyable book, but nothing more.
Published 22 days ago by M. Richardson
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