Coming Up Trumps: A Memoir Hardcover – Unabridged, 24 Apr 2014
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The Top 10 Sunday Times bestseller --This text refers to the Paperback edition.
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.
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Top Customer Reviews
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.
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.
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.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Jean Trumpington has led an interesting life and shares some of it with us here. Straight-talking, self-deprecating and witty, this book is a lovely read. Read morePublished 13 days ago by Jane C
Bought as a present for my Mother In Law and was well received. Got lots of Brownie points now!Published 3 months ago by Batty Bat
This book gives the reader a glimpse into another world though it is but a glimpse, not a meditative stare. Read morePublished 5 months ago by Noel
An honest book but disappointing that much was achieved by luck and contacts rather than by intelligence and endeavourPublished 6 months ago by kmac
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