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Humid Fidelity

Peter Bradshaw: The letters of Winston and Clementine Churchill, 16 September 1999

Speaking for Themselves: The Personal Letters of Winston and Clementine Churchill 
edited by Mary Soames.
Black Swan, 702 pp., £15, August 1999, 0 552 99750 1
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... appearance in each place and be cheered to the echo. A warm tone of ovation sounds throughout Mary Soames’s stately, proprietorial edition of her parents’ correspondence – the authoritative ties of blood are stressed emphatically on the cover. It is a remarkable manuscript archive, used extensively by Gilbert, but only now available to us in ...

Churchill’s Faces

Rosemary Hill, 30 March 2017

... his wife Clementine was the iconoclast. In January 1978, a month after her death, their daughter Mary Soames wrote to Graham Sutherland to confirm what had been long suspected: that her mother had had Sutherland’s portrait of Churchill destroyed. Commissioned by the joint Houses of Parliament to mark his eightieth birthday, it had been intended to ...

Enjoying every moment

David Reynolds: Ole Man Churchill, 7 August 2003

by John Keegan.
Weidenfeld, 181 pp., £14.99, November 2002, 0 297 60776 6
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Man of the Century: Winston Churchill and His Legend since 1945 
by John Ramsden.
HarperCollins, 652 pp., £9.99, September 2003, 0 00 653099 0
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Clementine Churchill: The Revised and Updated Biography 
by Mary Soames.
Doubleday, 621 pp., £25, September 2002, 0 385 60446 7
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Churchill at War 1940-45 
by Lord Moran.
Constable, 383 pp., £9.99, October 2002, 1 84119 608 8
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Churchill’s Cold War: The Politics of Personal Diplomacy 
by Klaus Larres.
Yale, 583 pp., £25, June 2002, 0 300 09438 8
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... vigilant guardian of Churchill’s reputation was his wife, Clementine. Their youngest daughter, Mary Soames, published an official biography of her mother in 1979, which was justly praised for its blend of empathy and detachment and has now been updated with new material and many additional photographs. In her youth, Clementine was an accomplished ...

Ooh the rubble

Rosemary Hill: Churchill’s Cook, 16 July 2020

Victory in the Kitchen: The Life of Churchill’s Cook 
by Annie Gray.
Profile, 390 pp., £16.99, February, 978 1 78816 044 5
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... Landemare’s father, Mark Young, was coachman to the Liberal MP Cyril Flower. Her mother, Mary, had been in service until her marriage, and the family belonged to what Gray calls ‘the affluent working class’. Between Aldbury, the picturesque but poor village where Landemare was born in 1882, the local market town of Tring and the backwater of ...

Ruthless Young Man

Michael Brock, 14 September 1989

Churchill: 1874-1922 
by Frederick Earl of Birkenhead, edited by Sir John Colville.
Harrap, 552 pp., £19.95, August 1989, 0 245 54779 7
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... Bonham Carter’s Winston Churchill as I knew him, and the vividness of Clementine Churchill by Mary Soames. It is an agreeable record by an experienced biographer. ‘The ambitious, selfish, and often ruthless young man’, in Sir John Colville’s phrase, is said to be delineated more clearly here than in earlier accounts. The claim may be ...

Churchill by moonlight

Paul Addison, 7 November 1985

The Fringes of Power: Downing Street Diaries 1939-1955 
by John Colville.
Hodder, 796 pp., £14.95, September 1985, 0 340 38296 1
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... sides of the family, he inherited the Court connections of his mother, a lady-in-waiting to Queen Mary. At the age of 12 he was a Page of Honour to George V and in the late 1940s Private Secretary to Princess Elizabeth. From Harrow, and Trinity College, Cambridge, he entered the diplomatic service the year before Munich, and thoroughly approved ...

The Trouble with HRH

Christopher Hitchens, 5 June 1997

Princess Margaret: A Biography 
by Theo Aronson.
O’Mara, 336 pp., £16.99, February 1997, 1 85479 248 2
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... outside. Martin Amis remembers her showing up at the end of a dinner, on the arm of Nicholas Soames, and seating herself at the piano to sing ‘My Old Man’s a Dustman’ (to which, of course, the only answer was ‘no he ain’t’). Two members of the New Left Review editorial board, known to me, were confronted by her at some do or another. It was ...


Paul Addison, 7 July 1988

Never despair: Winston Churchill 1945-1965 
by Martin Gilbert.
Heinemann, 1438 pp., £25, May 1988, 9780434291823
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... high-wire as an actress, and Diana committed suicide in the last year of Churchill’s life. Only Mary, with her husband Christopher Soames, provided a sheet-anchor of stability. Where Churchill’s public life is concerned, the principal theme of the book is his contribution to the politics of the Cold War. In this respect ...

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