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Growing Up Churchill: A Daughter's Memoir of Peace and War
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Growing Up Churchill: A Daughter's Memoir of Peace and War

3.73 of 5 stars 3.73  ·  rating details  ·  214 ratings  ·  54 reviews
In this charming and intimate memoir, Winston Churchill’s youngest daughter shares stories from her remarkable life—and tells of the unbreakable bond she forged with her father through some of the most tumultuous years in British history.

Now approaching her ninetieth birthday, Mary Soames is the only surviving child of Winston and Clementine Churchill. Through a combina
hardback, 400 pages
Published April 24th 2012 by Random House Digital, Inc. (first published September 15th 2011)
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First off, let me state that this is an audiobook where I feel the narration is the icing on the cake. It is extremely good. The intonations, the happiness and the sadness expressed match the words to a tee. French pronunciation is perfect, as well as English and American dialects. I really, really enjoyed the narration. Superb! A delight to listen to. Mary’s memoir is chatty, confidential, so it is not hard to follow in this format.

This is a book about Mary Soames, the youngest child of Winston
This is the loveliest book! I will definitely buy it so I can keep my own copy forever. It was such a treat to read these reminiscences by Lady Soames, the daughter of the great Winston Churchill.

She begins with an account of her idyllic life at Chartwell in the beautiful countryside. Here she enjoyed life with a menagerie of animals, watching the antics of her siblings, and riding and even bricklaying with her father. She felt somewhat isolated from her siblings because she was the youngest and
In an age when so many memoirs by children of famous--or even not famous--parents are actually just tell-all indictments about dysfunctional parenting and miserable childhoods and are riddled with tales of stories ofabuse and rife with accusation, this memoir is none of the above, which is thoroughly refreshing. Mary Soames, nee Churchill, makes it clear from the very start of the book that she loved and respected her parents, regardless of their faults. Whatever dysfunction and/or disappointmen ...more
Quite enjoyable peek into personal life of the Churchill family from the perspective of the youngest Churchill daughter, Mary. Covers the period of time from her birth until her marriage (two years after the end of WW2).

My only quibble is how she refers to her parents: she jumps around from "Mummie and Papa" to "Winston" and "Clementine" pretty much randomly. She also removes herself from some situations with her siblings (older brother Randolph, older sisters Diana and Sarah) by saying things l
Martin Mostek
Well written authobiographic account of childhood and youth of Mary, youngest daughter of Winston and Clemmentine Churchill. From reading a lot about Chartwell, animals and other joys of childhood books steadily progresses (through years of Churchills "wildnerness")to outbreak of war, and all that war changed in life of family and personal story of Mary Churchill. After "doing her bit" in various ways she once hears about personell shortage in anti-aircraft batteries. So she and her close friend ...more
Josephine Ferraro
I recently read this book before going to London and visiting Churchill's WWII bunker at the Churchill War Museum and going to Chartwell, where he lived with his wife and children. Having read Mary Soames' book before going made these places come alive for me. She was an extraordinary woman who loved her father deeply and who was part of a fascinating time in history. I would highly recommend it for anyone who is interested in learning about Churchill and the British experience of WWII. I would ...more
Alan Shaw
This is a memoir / part-autobiography of Winston and Clementine Churchill’s youngest child Mary from her birth in 1922 to her marriage in 1947. The memoir focuses almost entirely on her father’s political career, with particular emphasis on his crucial and pivotal role as Prime Minister in WW2. This is viewed from first a domestic and later participatory perspective, after Mary joins the army and is occasionally summoned to travel with her father as an aide.

It is full of insights into the workin
Paula Agata
Great insight into "the corridors of power" as they say. Really interesting tale of the English Upper classes. Much of the focus is on her life during WWII and it begins to get a little tired in the end. That section just went on a little too long, I think. The memoir ends right after the war with only a little bit written about how she met her husband which seems like kind of an abrupt ending to me after the long description of her wartime life.
Overall a great read and might give you insight i
This was a very sweet book, and worthwhile reading. It chronicles the life of Mary Churchill Soames, the youngest of Winston and Clementine Churchill's 5 children. Mary Soames died in 2014 at the age of 91. She was 17 years old when WWII broke out in 1939 and an eyewitness to many of the epic events of WWII.

I read an interview that Mary Soames gave in 2012,

Her interview made me more interested in her as a person and also her relationship with her ver
Sep 23, 2012 Kereesa rated it 2 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: People interested in the historical aspects of Churchill's life
I have not read many memoirs. I have probably never really read many in my life, nor will I ever read many in my days to come. It's not a genre I know very well, or have much interest in most of the time. My boyfriend always says he bleeds milkshakes, and I think the same could be said for me and fantasy.

That's not to say I don't understand or get the point of a good bio/autobio/etc... I do, I just have a lack of interest most of the time, and honestly prefer something with a little more magic
This book was a birthday gift. It combines many of my favorite reading genres: history, biography, WWII, British life. The book combines current commentary from the author as well as many extracts from her personal diaries and letters. It begins even before her birth and introduces us to her family long before WWII. And we watch as she grows up into a teenager who enlists as an antiaircraft gunner in WWII while her father, Britain's Prime minister, runs the war. It ends with her marriage shortly ...more
If you are a student of British history or World War II, then Mary Soames memoir of her life through her mid-twenties is a worthwhile read. Soames is the youngest daughter of Winston and Clementine Churchill. She was the only one of their children still living "at home" when her father was named prime minister in 1940, charged with keeping Great Britain from falling under Hitler's sythe.

Despite being the child of artistocrats and despite the privileges that might have been bestowed on her as th
Probably I should have known from the sub-title that this book would be a memoir of the author herself, not of her father. But I didn't, and it took me a while to get over that disappointment when beginning to read the book. I have always been a big Winston Churchill fan, despite the fact that he was a conservative and I'm not and that he loved and tried to hang on to the British Empire and I'm not an admirer of imperialism. I didn't know enough about Mary Churchill to want to read a book about ...more
In this memoir, Mary Soames (Churchill's youngest daughter) recounts her experiences growing up and serving in WWII. She was obviously close to her famous father, and the book includes many touching stories. The book felt a little choppy to me, and in some cases, got a little too bogged down in details. However, this book has made me think more about reading some good biographies of both of Mary's parents. This must have been a fascinating family.
charming, and interesting for the Churchill aficianado. perhaps a bit boring for everyone else, but given the interest in the British upper-class (for instance, Downton Abbey) it gives insight into what it was like to grow up privileged but with a sense of duty to King and country.

she served several years in an anti-aircraft battalion, first doing the math and directing the guns based on the perceived direction of the incoming enemy, and later as commander of the women in the 'mixed' battalion c
Excellent account of the time up to her marriage, with special insights into the war years. One forgets how old Churchill was during the war and what it took physically for him to get through it, including all the hazardous overseas travel. I would now also like to read her bio of her mother.
Diana Duncan
I really enjoyed this book. It was quite interesting to read a more intimate view of Winston Churchill's war years through the perspective of a family member. I also had not known anything about the women who served in the army as battery team members and her tales of life in the army were also quite interesting. It was refreshing to read a memoir by someone who recognized that her parents were not perfect but had a great deal of respect for them and took responsibility for her own mistakes. The ...more
I loved this book!! A lovely insight into a famous family and a lifestyle we will never see again. Winston Churchill was a much adored and very affectionate "Papa" to his family. Despite the fact that the family was well off and influential, all the children did war work or enlisted. Mary was able to travel some with her father during the war as his ADC and she trained as a gunner. Absolutely no complaints about her parents being awful or dysfunctional as with some family biographies these days. ...more
Katrina Oliver
An insight into life in the upper classes and specifically that of Winston Churchill's family. An enjoyable and easy read covering the 1930s and 1940s.
Gabi Coatsworth
A fascinating slice of history from Mary Soames, Winston Churchill’s youngest daughter. It covers her childhood through the end of World War 2, and gives a different perspective on Churchill and the rest of the family. Her trips with Churchill to foreign countries during the war for conferences were fascinating. I hadn’t realized that he traveled so much. And her own experiences as a member of the ATS are also interesting. Based on her diaries and letters, I found this a very readable memoir, an ...more
Greg Bailey
An enjoyable memoir with keen insights about Winston Churchill and his times by one who was closest to him.
Soames is the youngest daughter of Winston Churchill, who came of age just as WWII was beginning and this book is her memoirs of those early years. It is a different take than we are used to seeing of Winston, and she is an excellent story teller. She had what was honestly just a fascinating life to hear about though. She is able to see the major political players of the time as people around her dinner table and thus brings a whole new dimension to those figures as well. I'm loving the insight ...more
I was first drawn to "A Daughter's Tale" in "BookPage." I was, also, amazed to find out Churchill's daughter, Mary Soames, was still alive. Unfortunately, I just learned (from BookTV) that she passed away recently. As the book review, by Roger Bishop, states: "This absorbing memoir gives us glimpses of Mary’s opinions about such public figures as Franklin Roosevelt and Charles de Gaulle. But she also tells us a lot about people who were important to her but are lost to history." Enjoy reading mo ...more
Rob & Liz
The inside of the Churchill household during the War Years
I greatly enjoyed this autobiography written by Winston Churchill's youngest child, Mary. In it, she writes about her early life growing up in the waning days of the British aristocracy. The most interesting passages in the book take place during the Second World War when Mary occasionally tagged along on her father's trips around the world. If you're like me, and fascinated by the life of Winston Churchill, you'll enjoy this unique perspective on the man and his family.
Rebecca Ross
Short and easy to read insider's view of Winston Churchill before and during World War II.
An interesting, engaging account of Mary Churchill Soames' life from birth through her marriage shortly after World War II. Soames gives her eyewitness account of the lives of her parents, British prime minister Winston Churchill and Clementine Churchill, throughout the war. Her wartime experiences ranged from operating a gun battery in London to accompanying her father on wartime trips to Canada, the United States, France, and Belgium.
Barbara VA
Wonderful book! The names and stories will keep you going from page 1 right through to the end, but do not try to finish in 1 sitting, it will be quite the dis-service, I need out historical library as well as the internet to keep me going with MORE from every chapter, on every figure. It is not that the book is confusing, it is not, I just wanted "the rest of the story" as Paul Harvey would quote every night.
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