Linda's Reviews > The Churchills: In Love and War

The Churchills by Mary S. Lovell
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's review
Feb 08, 2012

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Read in February, 2012

Even at 600+ pages this was an easy gossipy read that sped by. Mary S. Lovell has written of the big names and famous families before (The Mitford Sisters, Bess of Hardwick and Beryl Markham) so she knows the territory. Though she begins at the beginning with the first Churcills, the original Duke of Marlborough and his wife Sarah, most of the book concentrates on Winston Churchill and the generation above and below him. Given a thrice-married beauty for a mother (Jennie Jerome, one of the first American "dollar princesses"), an infamous aunt (Consuelo Vanderbilt who was locked in her room before her wedding to the 9th Duke), and Winston's long career that spanned the reign of Queen Victoria to her great-granddaughter the current Queen Elizabeth, it is rather a feat to create such a readable book. It's filled with politics, parties, and problem children, war, disgrace and redemption, and amazing amounts of bedroom-hopping (but not by Winnie and Clemmie). Because we are most familiar with Winston Churchill as the 66-year-old PM at the beginning of WWII, it is especially fascinating to discover the young, handsome, rising politician and see him as a husband and father (a sucess at the former though not the latter).

Tidbits I learned:
Churchill won the Nobel Prize for literature in 1953;
He was blamed for the disastrous Dardanelles campaign in WWI when he was First Lord of the Admiralty but the decision was not his alone; As a result he resigned his Cabinet post and fought in the trenches
He was a polo player and learned to fly a Farnam biplane in the early part of the 20th century;

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