The Churchills, By Mary S Lovell
The truth is in the tittle-tattle
Sunday 15 April 2012
Any history of the Churchills will be dominated by its most famous son and his achievements, but Mary S Lovell does a superb job of shining a light on other members of this aristocratic and political family – especially the women, from bold, ambitious Sarah Churchill, the power behind the throne of Queen Anne, onwards.
The women are an excellent choice for Lovell's focus. American heiress Jennie Jerome married Lord Randolph Churchill in 1874 – their son and eldest child, Winston, was born just over seven months later. "Was Jennie pregnant before they married?" Lovell asks, unapologetic about gossip. ("In my experience the world has always thrived on gossip and [it] can have a place even in serious biography," she maintains in her preface.) And there's plenty to gossip about. Pre-existing biographies of Sarah and Jennie mean Lovell has little new to offer here, but she highlights lesser-known women such as the two unhappy wives of Winston's uncle, Charles, Consuelo Vanderbilt and Gladys Deacon.
The Churchills' marriage doesn't escape scrutiny, and Lovell records Clementine Churchill's hospitalisation and electrotherapy after a breakdown in 1963, while attesting to their enduring love for one another. The many marriages, the scandals, the lovers and the tragedies only make this extraordinary family seem more real and more human to us. Gossip, in this case, does them a service.
Watch the new House of Cards series three trailerTV
Oscars 2015It was the first time Barney has compered the Academy Awards
Oscars 2015 From Meryl Streep whooping Patricia Arquette's equality speech to Chris Pine in tears
Oscars 2015 Mexican filmmaker uses speech to urge 'respect' for immigrants
TV ReviewThe intrigue deepens as we delve further but don't expect any answers just yet
Razzies 2015 Golden Raspberry Awards 'honours' Cameron Diaz and Kirk Cameron
Arts & Ents blogs
- 1 Home Office says Nigerian asylum-seeker can’t be a lesbian as she’s got children
- 2 What happens to your body when you give up sugar?
- 3 Drugs Live cannabis trial: Hash is less harmful than any other drug, expert claims
- 4 Turkish Airlines flight TK 726 crash-lands on Nepal runway amid dense fog
- 5 Apple and Google users being spied on for a decade because of 'Freak' security flaw
Kurt Cobain's life and death: Montage of Heck film uses unseen footage to tell Nirvana frontman's story
Mal Peet dead at 67: Tributes to children's author who was 'universally adored'
Fifty Shades of Grey movie shows first sex scene 'after 40 minutes'
Drugs Live: Twitter responds to Jon Snow and Jennie Bond smoking cannabis
Jimmy McGovern's new TV series 'Banished': Why Australia's past has such resonance today
'Jihadi John': CAGE representative storms off Sky News accusing Kay Burley of Islamophobia
Durham Free School: 'Creationism taught at' free school facing closure
Nearly 100,000 of Britain's poorest children go hungry after parents' benefits are cut
Ukip would cut billions from Scottish budget to fund English tax cuts
End of the licence fee: BBC to back radical overhaul of how it is funded
Ukraine crisis: Top Chinese diplomat backs Putin and says West should 'abandon zero-sum mentality'