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The Churchills: A Family at the Heart of History - from the Duke of Marlborough to Winston Churchill Kindle Edition
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Top Customer Reviews
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.Read more ›
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.
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.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Fascinating insight into the generations of Churchill's, very easy reading and led interestingly to further research of other individuals. Very well written historical literaturePublished 6 months ago by Amazon Customer
A truly very interesting book. Encouraged me to see Blenheim Palace and get more history and see some of the beautiful architecture and gardens. Read morePublished 14 months ago by Anne Halsted
Very informative, interesting book. Didn't want to put it down.Published 14 months ago by Marinastar
Very interesting, but now I need to see the Boris Johnson version. Many many years ago I was working as Social Secretary to Sarah Churchill and her then husband Anthony Beaucham... Read morePublished 16 months ago by jocelyn
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