The first Duke of Marlborough (1650-1722) was a soldier of such genius that a lavish palace, Blenheim, was built to honor his triumphs. Succeeding generations of Churchills sometimes achieved distinction but also included profligates and womanizers, and were saddled with the ruinous upkeep of Blenheim. The family fortunes were revived in the 19th century by the huge dowries of New York society beauties Jennie Jerome (Winston's mother) and Consuelo Vanderbilt (wife to Winston's cousin).
Mary S. Lovell brilliantly recounts the triumphant political and military campaigns, the construction of great houses, the domestic tragedies, and the happy marriage of Winston to Clementine Hosier, set against the disastrous unions of most of his family, which ended in venereal disease, papal annulment, clinical depression, and adultery.
The Churchills were an extraordinary family: ambitious, impecunious, impulsive, brave, and arrogant. Winston - recently voted "The Greatest Briton" - dominates them all. His failures and triumphs are revealed in the context of a poignant and sometimes tragic private life.
"Lovell's writing style will keep readers wanting more." (Library Journal)
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Grand! In it's own wonderful way.
Interesting information for Churchill aficionados
If you are interested in the personal lives of famous people this book is for you. It contains information which is not in most history books and fills out the personality profiles of Winston and Clementine Churchill. I found the information about their children and the relationships between these famous parents and their offspring most interesting. It also provides a good look at the life of privilege which the upper class in England experienced during the late 19th and early 20th century.
I especially liked the portrayal of Randolph Churchill. It pulled no punches.
I liked breaking it up and enjoying each generation in turn over time.
- Donald Theiler