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First Lady The Life and Wars of Clementine Churchill by Sonia Purnell
  

First Lady The Life and Wars of Clementine Churchill

Biography / Autobiography   Books of the Month   History   The Real World   
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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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Speaking for Themselves: The Private Letters of Sir Winston and Lady Churchill, Mary Soames (Editor

Clementine Churchill, Mary Soames


The Good Book Guide logo The Good Book Guide Review. 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.
~ Amanda Hodges

Win a signed copy by Dame Vera Lynn

Three very lucky winners will each receive a signed copy by Dame Vera Lynn and her daughter Virginia of Dame Vera Lynn's memoir - Keep Smiling Through; My Wartime Story - written with her daughter Virginia Lewis-Jones, together with a DVD of the birthday concert held in her honour to celebrate her 100th birthday earlier this year.

To have a chance of winning this fantastic prize, click the button below. Please note that this draw is open only for UK residents and is free to enter, multiple entries from the same email address will only be counted once.

The draw closes on 15 December 2017. The winners will be notified by 15th December 2017, and you should get your prize in time for Christmas.

Good luck!

Enter prize draw Draw closes: 15/12/2017

Synopsis

First Lady The Life and Wars of Clementine Churchill by Sonia Purnell

'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.

Reviews

'Compellingly readable... the heroic saga of a warrior queen who wanted power but only got it by playing subtle diplomatic games as her husband's e

minence grise during two world wars.'


`

Well researched and fluently written. Eminently readable.


'It seems remarkable that no one has given this remarkable woman proper biographical treatment before.

One of the great political partnerships ... sensitively explored by Sonia Purnell.'


'Eye opening biography. First Lady is a bold biography of a bold woman; at last Purnell has put Clementine Churchill at the centre of her own extraordinary story, rather than in the shadow of her husband's.'


'From the influence she wielded to the secrets she kept, a new book looks at the extraordinary role of Winston Churchill's wife Clementine who proved that behind every great man is a great woman. Giving Winston confidence and conviction was a key element of her support. The safety and security that Clementine provided - as an emotional blanket and political sounding board - was vital in allowing Churchill to be the dominant politician of his age. Churchill's chief of staff, General Pug Ismay said later: Without her... the history of Winston Churchill and of the world would have been a very different story. '


'Both scrupulous and fair-minded, Sonia Purnell has done her subject proud in this eye-opening and engrossing account of the strong-willed and ambitious woman without whom - so Purnell argues with authority - Winston Churchill's political career would have been a washout. It is clear from this admirable account that Churchill would never have risen to greatness without Clementine.'


'Sonia Purnell has written a highly readable, well researched, and insightful biography.

This is an immensely enjoyable and deeply researched account.'


`

An intriguing study of a character both deeply flawed and, in her way, magnificent.


'Outstanding.'


`

A unique take on Mrs Churchill
s time as Britain

s
`

First Lady


.

`

Purnell is an exhaustive researcher and eloquent storyteller. This biography is partly a history of domesticity, and this is its great strength. Winston clearly loved his wife. More to the point, he needed her. Purnell shows convincingly how much `

great men

rely on the everyday emotional labour of the women closest to them. Purnell wants to say much more than this, however: she wants Clementine to be recognised as a
`

great woman


. More interesting, though, is what this look at Britain

s
`

first lady


tells us about the role of leaders
wives in the UK compared to in the US

.
This exemplary biography illustrates how Clementine

s intelligence, hard work, and perseverance in often difficult circumstances made her every bit a match for her remarkable, intimidating husband, and a fascinating figure in her own right.

Purnell has delivered an astute, pacey account of a woman who hardly ever emerged from the shadows. It is a sharp analysis of what it meant to be a politician
's wife. . . [and] shows how much we can learn about Winston Churchill from his wife and marriage.

Engrossing. . . Clementine Churchill became her husband


s essential confidante and adviser, vetting his speeches, smoothing over his faux pas, dealing with his constituents
. . . Purnell

s book is the first formal biography of a woman who has heretofore been relegated to the sidelines.

This exemplary biography illustrates how Clementine
's intelligence, hard work, and perseverance in often difficult circumstances made her every bit a match for her remarkable, intimidating husband, and a fascinating figure in her own right.

Purnell has delivered an astute, pacey account of a woman who hardly ever emerged from the shadows. It is a sharp analysis of what it meant to be a politician's wife. . . [and] shows how much we can learn about Winston Churchill from his wife and marriage.

Engrossing. . . Clementine Churchill became her husband's essential confidante and adviser, vetting his speeches, smoothing over his faux pas, dealing with his constituents. . . Purnell's book is the first formal biography of a woman who has heretofore been relegated to the sidelines.


About the Author

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 Prize. She now writes and broadcasts as a freelancer and lives in London with her husband and two sons.

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Book Info

Publication date

14th May 2015

Author

Sonia Purnell

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Publisher

Aurum Press Ltd

Format

Hardback
400 pages

Categories

Biography / Autobiography
Books of the Month
History
The Real World

Biography: historical, political & military
Politics & government
Military history

ISBN

9781781313060

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