May 2015 Non-Fiction Book of the Month.
Reading Sonia Purnell's study of Clementine Churchill's life one is made aware of quite how far Clementine Churchill has dropped out of public awareness. Wrongly as we quickly learn as she was Winston Churchill's helpmeet and supporter, advising and helping, she was a superb hostess, a tireless worker for charity and good causes, a woman remembered and respective by nearly everyone she met. Her rackety upbringing will be a revelation for anyone new to the Churchill story as will the story of her marriage to Winston, her rivals in love and her own doubts for her future happiness. Churchill was quoted as saying he couldn't have won the Second World War without her and in First Lady we learn how this true marriage of love and mind came about and carried through to the end. ~ Sue Baker
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Clementine Churchill, Mary Soames
'My Beloved, I send this token, but how little can it express my gratitude to you for making my life and any work I have done possible, and for giving me so much happiness in a world of accident and storm.' Winston Churchill Without Winston Churchill's inspiring leadership Britain could not have survived its darkest hour and repelled the Nazi menace. Without his wife Clementine, however, he might never have become Prime Minister. By his own admission, the Second World War would have been 'impossible without her'. Clementine was Winston's emotional rock and his most trusted confidante; not only was she involved in some of the most crucial decisions of war, but she exerted an influence over her husband and the Government that would appear scandalous to modern eyes. Yet her ability to charm Britain's allies and her humanitarian efforts on the Home Front earned her deep respect, both behind closed doors in Whitehall and among the population at large. That Clementine should become Britain's 'First Lady' was by no means pre-ordained. Born into impecunious aristocracy, her childhood was far from gilded. Her mother was a serial adulteress and gambler, who spent many years uprooting her children to escape the clutches of their erstwhile father, and by the time Clementine entered polite society she had become the target of cruel snobbery and rumours about her parentage. In Winston, however, she discovered a partner as emotionally insecure as herself, and in his career she found her mission. Her dedication to his cause may have had tragic consequences for their children, but theirs was a marriage that changed the course of history. Now, acclaimed biographer Sonia Purnell explores the peculiar dynamics of this fascinating union. From the personal and political upheavals of the Great War, through the Churchills' 'wilderness years' in the 1930s, to Clementine's desperate efforts to preserve her husband's health during the struggle against Hitler, Sonia presents the inspiring but often ignored story of one of the most important women in modern history.
Long overdue, a full biography of Clementine Churchill is published to coincide with the 70th anniversary of VE day. Given rare access to archive material and family reminiscence, Purnell has created a truly riveting portrait of an extraordinary woman. Winston once feted Clementine ‘for making my life and work possible and for giving me so much happiness in a world of accident and storm,’ and few may realise that this was not just sentiment talking but actual fact. For years, the Churchills worked with just one goal, to get Winston elected as Prime Minister. As Purnell’s incisive research makes abundantly clear, without Clementine at his side Winston may not have achieved either this aim or maintained his equilibrium during the Second World War. Determined to maintain her own identity, the famously private Clementine was Winston’s emotional bedrock and his most trusted confidante, involved in many crucial decisions and well-respected for her humanitarian work. Purnell’s judicious and sympathetic biography restores Clementine to the limelight she manifestly deserves.
Publication date: 14/05/2015
Publisher: Aurum Press Ltd
|Publication date:||14th May 2015|
|Publisher:||Aurum Press Ltd|
|Genres:||Biography / Autobiography, Books of the Month, History, The Real World,|
|Categories:||Biography: historical, political & military, Politics & government, Military history,|
Sonia Purnell started work at The Economist Intelligence Unit, edited a weekly financial magazine when only twenty-five, and then went on to a senior position on the Daily Telegraph's City pages before reporting on the EU from Brussels. On her return to London she assumed the position of Whitehall Correspondent, before moving to the Daily Mail, where she was Whitehall Editor. Her first book, Just Boris: A Tale of Blond Ambition, was a candid and widely acclaimed portrait of London Mayor Boris Johnson, informed by her time working alongside him in Brussels. Just Boris was long listed for the Orwell ...More About Sonia Purnell