Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “Jennie: The Life of Lady Randolph Churchill, Vol 1: The Romantic Years 1854-95” as Want to Read:
Jennie: The Life of Lady Randolph Churchill, Vol 1: The Romantic Years 1854-95
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

Jennie: The Life of Lady Randolph Churchill, Vol 1: The Romantic Years 1854-95

3.94  ·  Rating details ·  224 Ratings  ·  30 Reviews
If she had simply been the mother of Winston Churchill, her place in history would have been assured. But the Brooklyn-born Jennie was also the most fascinating and desirable woman of her age, the toast and the scandal of two continents throughout her long life.

Volume I, THE ROMANTIC YEARS, follows Jennie as she leaves her wealthy American home to marry Lord Randolph Chur

Published 1969 by Prentice Hall
More Details... edit details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about Jennie, please sign up.

Be the first to ask a question about Jennie

Community Reviews

(showing 1-30)
Rating details
Sort: Default
James Burns
Apr 17, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I am glad I just happened across this book, and decided to read it , I knew almost nothing about Winston Churchill's Mother, except that she was an American. She was Beautiful, Intelligent, ambitious and was very popular with European Society and European Royalty. she was politically Driven, She campaigned and wrote a majority of her husbands speeches. Her goal was to further her husbands political career, was for him to be Prime Minister of Great Britain. She raised her kids, using a nanny for ...more
Nov 29, 2007 rated it did not like it
Recommends it for: Nobody
Jennie Jerome Churchill was a fascinating woman, but you'd never know it from reading this sleeping pill of a book. I didn't even bother with its sequel, and I'm looking forward to reading Anne Sebba's new biography of Mrs. Churchill and getting far more out of it.
Aug 31, 2015 rated it it was ok
This book fits in among many other books I've read in the past few years concerning other personalities from this era, from Consuelo Vanderbilt to Lady Almina of Highclere. There isn't a whole lot known about her childhood, and there's as much in it about Randolph Churchill and his political life as there is about Jennie. There are many quotes from his speeches and others concerning the pertinent issues of the day, and then the author mentions almost as an aside that Jennie during this time was ...more
Mar 30, 2009 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: Curious about Victorian England and morality
This is the biography that started me on a lifetime love of snooping around in dead (mostly) people's lives. The year before I read this, willingly and without its' being assigned reading, I found a remaindered book of Victorian photographs that fascinated me. Of course, only the "best" people were in it, and I was intrigued to see that Winston Churchill had a mother at all, and that she was a beauty. How could this be?
When I found this book, I was thrilled to read of her exploits, her disappo
Mar 21, 2011 rated it liked it
I don't often read non-fiction because the level of detail can be overwhelming and the writing poor. But this book, about Winston Churchill's scandalous and ambitious American mother, was very interesting and easy to read. Despite covering many long-forgotten political figures and fights, the account of late-Victorian times and Jennie's life in particular stood on their own. She was a fascinating person, then and now. I also appreciated peeks into the stormy, syphilitic temperament of Winston's ...more
H. P. Reed
Jul 28, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Reading this again was a treat. Ralph Martin reports rather than editorializes and his research is impeccable. His writing is casual without being slang ridden. I await American Jennie: The Remarkable Life of Lady Randolph Churchill with impatience - it's been "in transit" to my local library for over a week - but I can't believe that it will surpass this elegant biography.
Jul 12, 2012 rated it liked it
Shelves: 2012-booklist
Jennie Jerome was an American heiress who married Lord Randolph Churchill and was the mother of Winston Churchill. It is said that Edith Wharton's novel, The Buccaneers, is drawn in part from Jennie's life. This book is about 40 years old, and is very sympathetically written. I wonder if another author or more recent research may have produced an entirely different book. What is interesting is her sphere of influence, both in England and Europe, and a look at life among the rich and famous in th ...more
Susan O
Jan 19, 2016 rated it really liked it
Volume 1 of 2, this book covers the life of Jennie Randolph during the years 1854 - 1895, from her birth through the death of her husband. Prior to reading this, I knew nothing about her life except that she was beautiful, had many affairs, was an American who married into the British aristocracy, and was the mother of Winston Churchill. She was so much more than that. As with her future daughter-in-law, Clementine, she contributed greatly to her husband's political career breaking new ground fo ...more
Jul 26, 2015 rated it it was ok
Jennie Randolph Churchill was reported to have 200 lovers! She was erudite, intriguing, glamorous and courted by princes even while she was married. Unfortunately, this book fails to capitalize on the passion and ambition of this fascinating woman. At least I did learn that she wasn't a completely cold and rejecting mother. She had her motherly moments and like a proper lady, she hired kind nannies for her kids.
Aug 10, 2016 rated it really liked it
While I definitely found this book fascinating, I would have liked more personal detail about Lady Randolph Churchill and less about her husband. The fact that he was slowly dying of syphilis was the main thing I came away with.
I am inspired to read more about Winston Churchill.
May 15, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This book was obviously incredibly well researched and thought out. I felt like it relied a bit too heavily on family histories prior to Jennie herself but, all in all, it was very informative and easy to read for such an academic biography.
Kathryn Yaste
I was only 15 or so when I read it, but I seem to remember enjoying it. However, I had forgotten about reading it until yesterday, when something on TV reminded me of it. So I guess you couldn't say that it affected me very deeply.
Jan 30, 2012 rated it it was amazing
I read this book many years ago and look forward to reading it again. A wonderful historical novel that lends a better understanding of the political and social nuances in the Golden Age (Vol 1) and the formative years of Winston Churchill, Jennie's son (Vol.2.)
Shirley Brown
Mar 09, 2011 rated it really liked it
Mar 08, 2008 rated it really liked it
As much as I was repulsed by the extravagant indulgences described, I couldn't help but be drawn into this bit of history. It made me want to learn more about the history of the monarchy within Great Britain.
Michael Gilbert
Jul 18, 2012 rated it it was amazing
I never expected the biography of a victorian trohpy wife to be so compelling. Jenny Jerome, the american mother of Winston Churchill was one of the strongest women of her time.
Jul 10, 2012 rated it it was amazing
I read both volumes years ago. I seem to recall preferring the first to the second. Both are definitely worth reading. Interesting people, excellent writer.
Sandra Brown
Oct 01, 2012 rated it liked it
Great storytelling,fascinating ambitious woman.
Jennifer B.
Jan 08, 2016 rated it really liked it
Interesting. What a modern woman she was for her time. And the details of life in the Victorian age are most fascinating. Looking forward to the sequel.
Jan 01, 2016 added it
very interesting. much about her husband, but important to understanding her. good stuff about Winston. need to read vol. 2 sometime. vol. 1 is to Randolph's (husband's death)
Jan 25, 2010 rated it really liked it
I enjoyed this book very much. Jennie, the mother of Winston Churchill, was a very interesting woman and before her time. I am anxious to read vol. 2.
Nov 06, 2012 rated it liked it
This book was published in 1969, I think. It would be interesting to read a more contemporary biography of Lady Randolph Churchill.
Jul 24, 2011 added it
Slow moving, written more like a textbook. Interesting, but not sure I'm going to move on to Volume 2.
Jan 30, 2011 added it
One of the best reads ever! I followed it with Jennie Vol 11
Paige Bentz
Jan 03, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Completely enthralling story of this amazing ladies life. And a fabulous insight into the life of young Winston Churchill. Please do read both volumes.....Just fascinating.
Judy B
Jan 23, 2015 added it
This book was an interesting read similar to another american, Lady Astor, except that Randolph's life and illness becomes the story. Very good backgrd on Winston's mother.
Jan 06, 2015 rated it it was ok
It is not nearly as dully written as some other reviewers are making out. It's certainly not written as fiction or fluff. It is more of a historical record than that.
Jul 07, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Really interesting look at the life of Winston Churchill's mother. She was truly a fascinating woman.
Mar 11, 2011 rated it it was amazing
This portion of the biography is well and clearly written. It discusses the life of an extraordinary woman with evenness and insight.
rated it it was amazing
Nov 19, 2015
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 next »
There are no discussion topics on this book yet. Be the first to start one »
  • Edith Kermit Roosevelt: Portrait of a First Lady
  • Majesty: Queen Elizabeth II and the House of Windsor
  • Five Sisters: The Langhornes of Virginia
  • Nellie Bly: Daredevil, Reporter, Feminist
  • The Lion and the Unicorn: Gladstone vs. Disraeli
  • The Lonely Empress: Elizabeth of Austria
  • Victoria an intimate biography
  • Queen Victoria
  • The Sisters: Babe Mortimer Paley, Betsy Roosevelt Whitney, Minnie Astor Fosburgh: The Lives and Times of the Fabulous Cushing Sisters
  • Clementine: The Life of Mrs. Winston Churchill
  • The Viceroy's Daughters: The Lives of the Curzon Sisters
  • Richard III and the Princes in the Tower
  • La Vida: A Puerto Rican Family in the Culture of Poverty-San Juan and New York
  • The Obstacle Race: The Fortunes of Women Painters and Their Work
  • Great Catherine: The Life of Catherine the Great, Empress of Russia
  • P. G. Wodehouse: A Biography
  • 1603: The Death of Queen Elizabeth I, the Return of the Black Plague, the Rise of Shakespeare, Piracy, Witchcraft, and the Birth of the Stuart Era
  • Throes of Democracy: The American Civil War Era 1829-1877
Ralph G. Martin was an American journalist who authored or co-authored about thirty books, including popular biographies of recent historical figures, among which, Jennie, a two-volume (1969 and 1971) study of Winston Churchill's American mother, Lady Randolph Churchill, became the most prominent bestseller. Other successful tomes focused on British royal romance (Edward VIII and Wallis Simpson in ...more
More about Ralph G. Martin...