The Churchills : A Family at the Heart of History - from the Duke of Marlborough to Winston Churchill, Paperback

The Churchills : A Family at the Heart of History - from the Duke of Marlborough to Winston Churchill Paperback

4 out of 5 (2 ratings)


There never was a Churchill from John of Marlborough down who had either morals or principles', so said Gladstone.

From the First Duke of Marlborough - soldier of genius, restless empire-builder and cuckolder of Charles II - onwards, the Churchills have been politicians, gamblers and profligates, heroes and womanisers. The Churchills is a richly layered portrait of an extraordinary set of men and women - grandly ambitious, regularly impecunious, impulsive, arrogant and brave. And towering above the Churchill clan is the figure of Winston - his failures and his triumphs shown in a new and revealing context - ultimately our 'greatest Briton'.




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Review by

I enjoyed reading this book a lot, there is a good flow in the writing and the stories and personalities are fascinating. Everybody knows Winston Churchill, but there were many things about his family and life I had no idea about, and I think it is also a good description of the life style of the upperclasses in the Victorian and Edwardian era. In other words, the topic is interesting and you want to keep on reading, and the writing is good. It is clear that Mary S.Lovell loves her topic, and the passion shows, but there is also a negative aspect to it, where sometimes she mentions incidents without them in anyway adding on to the narrative. She is also slightly pre-occupied with her own interest, and spends quite a lot of time on the Midfords, and fascinating though they were, maybe there were people that played a bigger role in the Churchill family? I also would have liked better footnotes, now we know the sources, but I would have liked to know much more. Thank god for the internet:). But, overall, this was a book that made me look forward reading it, that I thoroughly enjoyed and where I feel I learned a lot. And, as a result, I have about ten other books that I want to read, so what else can I ask for?

Review by

I've read several excellent biographies of Winston Churchill, but Mary S. Lovell has gone out on a limb here by attempting a biography of the Churchill family from the time of the 1st Duke of Marlborough without devoting too much space to the most famous Churchill of all. By and large she achieves her goal, although by the time she reaches the early 20th century it becomes almost impossible to write anything without the gargantuan shadow of WSC hovering over every aspect of his family's story. Never mind, what she produces is a highly readable expansive, gossipy tale of a middling aristocratic family of the Victorian/Edwardian/Georgian eras, with much attention paid to their romantic hits and misses, and also the fact that they could be exceedingly nasty to one another upon occasion. It's not what I'd call an outstanding work of family history, but it is warm, funny, entertaining and sentimental. All in all, a great read.

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