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The Churchills: A Family at the Heart of History - from the Duke of Marlborough to Winston Churchill by [Lovell, Mary S.]
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The Churchills: A Family at the Heart of History - from the Duke of Marlborough to Winston Churchill Kindle Edition

4.3 out of 5 stars 30 customer reviews

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Length: 640 pages Word Wise: Enabled Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled
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Product Description

Review

Meticulously detailed . . . eminently readable. --Walter Olson

Book Description

*The story of one of the most famous of all British families - the Churchills

Product details

  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • File Size: 11214 KB
  • Print Length: 640 pages
  • Publisher: Abacus (7 April 2011)
  • Sold by: Amazon Media EU S.à r.l.
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0316732826
  • ISBN-13: 978-0316732826
  • ASIN: B004R9Q1TO
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Enabled
  • Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars 30 customer reviews
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #245,575 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

4.3 out of 5 stars
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By S Riaz HALL OF FAMETOP 50 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on 14 April 2011
Format: Kindle Edition
Having enjoyed Mary S Lovell's previous books, I was looking forward to this biography of The Churchills, and it has exceeded my expectations. In the preface, the author says she may be taken to task for adopting a 'gossipy' approach to her subjects. She also says that she began this project with the idea of writing about the entire Churchill family, but the scope was too much for one volume. Seeing that there are many biographies about individual people in this book, not least about its most famous member, Winston Churchill, that is a justifiable worry. However, Lovell has managed to produce a book that is sublime -interesting, informative and, yes, gossipy, in the most enjoyable way.

The beginning of the book looks at the early family history of the Spencers and Churchills and the building of Blenheim. However, the story really starts in earnest with the marriage of Winston's parents, Jennie Jerome and Randolph Churchill. Also, of great importance in the book is Randolph's eldest brother, whose son (known as Sunny, but who did not quite manage to live up to his nickname) inherited Blenheim. Desperate for money, Sunny entered into a loveless marriage with Consuelo Vanderbilt, an American heiress who he said was a 'link in the chain' to support his family home. She was only in her teens when forced to marry him, and it was noticed that she had been sobbing before the wedding. Things did not really improve afterwards either, but Winston was close to his first cousin and also very fond of Consuelo.

Winston Churchill towers over this book, and it is difficult to imagine such a young man having such self belief and strength. Despite a real lack of parental input and love in his early life, he was always loyal to his parents and completely supportive of them.
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Format: Hardcover
I enjoyed this new book about the Churchill family. I have read many books about the first Duke of Marlborough and his wife Sarah and also specifically about Sir Winston Churchill, so not much in this book was new; however it made interesting reading and you really needed the family trees to keep track of the marriages, divorces, wives and children of the various family members. The only downside of this book was the fact that a couple of chapters were devoted to the first Duke and then it skipped to the 9th and subsequent dukes leaving the few in the middle unaccounted for. A VERY large part of the book was devoted to Winston Churchill, his wartime activities, his father and his children - as these were not the only Churchills in the family I would have liked more information about the others. Even so, a very good easy read and very happy to have bought and read it.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
The cover on this book reads, 'An unputdownable family saga which it would be hard to invent if it wasn't true'. Vraiment, I had to keep on reading it, to the exclusion of other books, I usually read 2 or 3 coevally.
Engagingly written (by an authoress belonging to my generation and who grew up about 12 miles distance from me), I especially appreciated the many footnote explanations which are very helpful, and convey extra meaning and insight to the narrative. Mary Lovell obviously has a great regard for Sir Winston in particular, it shines through her text, but this is not a hagiography, she paints him warts and all.
I cannot recommend this book too highly. I will purchase her biography of the Mitford Girls (one of whom I once met). If it proves half as interesting as this present book, it will be a corker.
One of the best modern biographies I have read for some time. Anyone with an interest in late Victorian, Edwardian, or British Empire history should own a copy of this book.
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Format: Hardcover
Mary Lovell takes a reasoned approach to the Churchill family in her new biography, "The Churchills: In Love and War". She begins by writing that she has taken a personal rather than a strictly accomplishment look at the family. This is clear in her book, but she does put everything in context.

While Lovell begins her book with John and Sarah Churchill, builders of Blenheim Palace, most of this very large and readable book is about the generation of Winston's father, Randolf, and his older brother. Their marriages and wives are covered, in the context of Britain (and America) of the time. Both Randolf and his cousin, Charles, 9th Duke of Marlborough, married American "Dollar Princesses", those wealthy American women whose marriages to cash-poor and title-heavy Brits became common in the second half of the 19th century. It was a good deal on both sides economically, but the marriages made were often unhappy and of short duration. In fact, many of the marriages in the Churchill family were not successes; the one good, long-lasting one was between Winston and Clementine Hozier. They were wed 60 years or so and had five children, four of whom lived to adulthood. But of those four, three had relatively unhappy lives and marriages and died relatively young.

But Lovell writes about more than the marriages of the Churchills in the last two hundred years. She gives a good deal of space to non-Winston members of the Churchill family and writes about their position in history and society. She has good footnotes about people or events she mentions that might not be universally known by her readers.

The only topic I think she gives short shrift to is Winston's "Black Dog" of depression.
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