The first ever collection of the letters between Churchill and his mother sheds revelatory light on the future wartime premier.
Winston Churchill adored his mother Jennie, Lady Randolph Churchill. Between 1881, when Churchill was six, and 1921, the year of Jennie's death, mother and son were prolific letter-writers. In Darling Winston , David Lough has compiled the first-ever edited selection of their voluminous and entertaining forty-year correspondence. Churchill's life across this period follows a trajectory of adventure and political ambition – army service in India, escape from a Boer POW camp, swift ascent from Conservative MP for Oldham to Liberal First Lord of the Admiralty, resignation in the wake of the debacle of Gallipoli, and eventual return to the cabinet in 1917.
His mother's life, by contrast, follows a downward spiral: her second marriage founders and she becomes a lonely figure, moving forlornly around the country homes of her wealthy friends. As Winston joins Asquith's cabinet and meets his wife-to-be, Clementine, Jennie is getting divorced and making faltering attempts to embark on a literary career. Darling Winston reflects Churchill's emotional, intellectual and political development as confided to Jennie as his mentor; but it also charts a mother-son relationship characterized at the outset by Winston's dependence on Jennie, which is dramatically reversed as her life crumbles towards its end.
Brimming with gossip, name-dropping and chutzpah, and populated by a cast of the great and the good of late Victorian and Edwardian England, Darling Winston enriches our understanding of the political apprenticeship of Britain's most celebrated statesmen, and offers poignant insights into his relationship with the woman whose worldly advice and loving encouragement first set him on the path to power.
About the Author
David Lough studied history at Oxford under Richard Cobb and Theodore Zeldin, gaining a First. After a career in financial markets, he founded a business that advises families on investments, tax affairs and inheritance planning.
'A significant addition to the Churchill canon' Oxford Times.
'Fascinating correspondence' Daily Telegraph.
'This collection of letters is fascinating ... they shine a piercing light on the man, informed as they inevitably are by benefit of hindsight. And there is no better guide than David Lough, who provides linking commentaries and context to the hundreds of letters, so that the whole volume acts as a king of hybrid biography/autobiography of the first half of Churchill's life ... This superb exchange of letters allows us some real understanding of this unique relationship' New Statesman.
'By producing a book containing their correspondence stretching over 40 years until Jennie's death in 1921, Lough paints a more rounded picture of a loving mother-son relationship and what he describes as the curious mind of Winston Churchill' Sunday Independent (Dublin).
'This entertaining and illuminating collection, which could be read at a gallop or at leisure. As a whole, it is a deeply moving account ... These letters [are] edited and annotated with an admirable light touch by David Lough' Literary Review.
'Rifle through 40 years of intimate letters between Churchill and his mother, the American-born British socialite Lady Randolph Churchill' Britain.
'The great joy of this book is to track [Churchill's] transition at about 22 from an aimless and untalented youth to a mature man' Church Times, Books of the Year.
'Anyone who has been a parent, or, indeed, a wayward child, will relish the charming normality of Jennie Churchill's cajoling of her son Winston during his school and early Army days in this revealing collection of letters between her and Winston ... This sparkling volume will be devoured by all who revere Churchill' Daily Mail.
'Part letters and part biography, it's a fascinating portrait' Evergreen.
'A fascinating collection between Winston Churchill and his mother Jennie. From school he dispatches plaintive requests for money and attention; later he sends stories of his travels and political triumphs and chides her for her new romances' Daily Telegraph.