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The Splendid and the Vile

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The Splendid and the Vile - Erik Larson Summary

#1 NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER • The author of The Devil in the White City and Dead Wake delivers a fresh and compelling portrait of Winston Churchill and London during the Blitz “Churchill’s lessons of resilience and his style of steady-handed leadership are essential to the state of mind of American readers.”—Vanity Fair “A bravura performance by one of America’s greatest storytellers.”—NPR On Winston Churchill’s first day as prime minister, Adolf Hitler invaded Holland and Belgium. Poland and Czechoslovakia had already fallen, and the Dunkirk evacuation was just two weeks away. For the next twelve months, Hitler would wage a relentless bombing campaign, killing 45,000 Britons. It was up to Churchill to hold his country together and persuade President Franklin Roosevelt that Britain was a worthy ally—and willing to fight to the end. In The Splendid and the Vile, Erik Larson shows, in cinematic detail, how Churchill taught the British people “the art of being fearless.” It is a story of political brinkmanship, but it’s also an intimate domestic drama, set against the backdrop of Churchill’s prime-ministerial country home, Chequers; his wartime retreat, Ditchley, where he and his entourage go when the moon is brightest and the bombing threat is highest; and of course 10 Downing Street in London. Drawing on diaries, original archival documents, and once-secret intelligence reports—some released only recently—Larson provides a new lens on London’s darkest year through the day-to-day experience of Churchill and his family: his wife, Clementine; their youngest daughter, Mary, who chafes against her parents’ wartime protectiveness; their son, Randolph, and his beautiful, unhappy wife, Pamela; Pamela’s illicit lover, a dashing American emissary; and the advisers in Churchill’s “Secret Circle,” to whom he turns in the hardest moments. The Splendid and the Vile takes readers out of today’s political dysfunction and back to a time of true leadership, when, in the face of unrelenting horror, Churchill’s eloquence, courage, and perseverance bound a country, and a family, together.

Thunderstruck

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Thunderstruck - Erik Larson Summary

In 1910, Edwardian England was scandalized by a murder. It seems mild-mannered American Hawley Crippen had killed his wife, buried her remains in the cellar of their North London home and then gone on the run with his young mistress, his secretary Ethel Le Neve. A Scotland Yard inspector, already famous for his part in the Ripper investigation, discovered the murder and launched an international hunt for Crippen that climaxed in a trans-Atlantic chase between two ocean liners. The chase itself was novel, but what captured the imagination was the role played by a new and little understood technology: the wireless. Thanks to its inventor Marconi's obsessive fight to perfect his machine, the world was able to learn of events occurring in the middle of the Atlantic as they unfolded - something previously unthinkable. Commentators of the time all agreed that if not for Marconi, Crippen would have escaped. But Marconi had struggled to gain acceptance for his invention (some viewed it as a supernatural device, while distrust of foreigners remained prevalent in England and America). It was the Crippen case that helped convince the world of the potential of Marconi's miracle technology, so accelerating the revolution that eventually produced the modern means of communication we take for granted today. With its cast of captivating characters, Thunderstruck is Erik Larson doing what he does brilliantly well: bringing together seemingly disparate yet inextricably linked lives to paint a fascinating and exciting portrait of an extraordinary age of cultural, social and technological change while evoking the darker side of human nature.

Dead Wake

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Dead Wake - Erik Larson Summary

WINNER OF THE 2015 GOODREADS CHOICE AWARDS ‘BEST HISTORY AND BIOGRAPHY’ From the #1 New York Times bestselling author and master of narrative non-fiction comes the enthralling story of the sinking of the Lusitania, published to coincide with the 100th anniversary of the disaster On May 1 1915, a luxury ocean liner as richly appointed as an English country house sailed out of New York, bound for Liverpool, carrying a record number of children and infants. The passengers were anxious. Germany had declared the seas around Britain to be a war zone, and for months, its U-boats had brought terror to the North Atlantic. But the Lusitania was one of the era's great transatlantic 'Greyhounds' and her captain, William Thomas Turner, placed tremendous faith in the gentlemanly strictures of warfare that for a century had kept civilian ships safe from attack. He knew, moreover, that his ship — the fastest then in service — could outrun any threat. Germany, however, was determined to change the rules of the game, and Walther Schwieger, the captain of Unterseeboot-20, was happy to oblige. Meanwhile, an ultra-secret British intelligence unit tracked Schwieger's U-boat, but told no one. As U-20 and the Lusitania made their way toward Liverpool, an array of forces both grand and achingly small — hubris, a chance fog, a closely guarded secret, and more — all converged to produce one of the great disasters of history. It is a story that many of us think we know but don't, and Erik Larson tells it thrillingly, switching between hunter and hunted while painting a larger portrait of America at the height of the Progressive Era. Full of glamour, mystery, and real-life suspense, Dead Wake brings to life a cast of evocative characters, from famed Boston bookseller Charles Lauriat to pioneering female architect Theodate Pope Riddle to President Wilson, a man lost to grief, dreading the widening war but also captivated by the prospect of new love. Gripping and important, Dead Wake captures the sheer drama and emotional power of a disaster that helped place America on the road to war. PRAISE FOR ERIK LARSON ‘Larson is one of the modern masters of popular narrative nonfiction … a resourceful reporter and a subtle stylist who understands the tricky art of Edward Scissorhands-ing narrative strands into a pleasing story … An entertaining book about a great subject, and it will do much to make this seismic event resonate for new generations of readers.’ The New York Tmes ‘[Larson is] a superb storyteller and a relentless research hound’ Time

Isaac's Storm

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Isaac's Storm - Erik Larson Summary

At the dawn of the twentieth century, a great confidence suffused America. Isaac Cline was one of the era's new men, a scientist who believed he knew all there was to know about the motion of clouds and the behavior of storms. The idea that a hurricane could damage the city of Galveston, Texas, where he was based, was to him preposterous, "an absurd delusion." It was 1900, a year when America felt bigger and stronger than ever before. Nothing in nature could hobble the gleaming city of Galveston, then a magical place that seemed destined to become the New York of the Gulf. That August, a strange, prolonged heat wave gripped the nation and killed scores of people in New York and Chicago. Odd things seemed to happen everywhere: A plague of crickets engulfed Waco. The Bering Glacier began to shrink. Rain fell on Galveston with greater intensity than anyone could remember. Far away, in Africa, immense thunderstorms blossomed over the city of Dakar, and great currents of wind converged. A wave of atmospheric turbulence slipped from the coast of western Africa. Most such waves faded quickly. This one did not. In Cuba, America's overconfidence was made all too obvious by the Weather Bureau's obsession with controlling hurricane forecasts, even though Cuba's indigenous weathermen had pioneered hurricane science. As the bureau's forecasters assured the nation that all was calm in the Caribbean, Cuba's own weathermen fretted about ominous signs in the sky. A curious stillness gripped Antigua. Only a few unlucky sea captains discovered that the storm had achieved an intensity no man alive had ever experienced. In Galveston, reassured by Cline's belief that no hurricane could seriously damage the city, there was celebration. Children played in the rising water. Hundreds of people gathered at the beach to marvel at the fantastically tall waves and gorgeous pink sky, until the surf began ripping the city's beloved beachfront apart. Within the next few hours Galveston would endure a hurricane that to this day remains the nation's deadliest natural disaster. In Galveston alone at least 6,000 people, possibly as many as 10,000, would lose their lives, a number far greater than the combined death toll of the Johnstown Flood and 1906 San Francisco Earthquake. And Isaac Cline would experience his own unbearable loss. Meticulously researched and vividly written, Isaac's Storm is based on Cline's own letters, telegrams, and reports, the testimony of scores of survivors, and our latest understanding of the hows and whys of great storms. Ultimately, however, it is the story of what can happen when human arrogance meets nature's last great uncontrollable force. As such, Isaac's Storm carries a warning for our time. From the Hardcover edition.

Churchill

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Churchill - Andrew Roberts Summary

"In this landmark biography of Winston Churchill based on extensive new material, the true genius of the man, statesman and leader can finally be fully seen and understood--by the bestselling, award-winning author of Napoleon and The Storm of War. When we seek an example of great leaders with unalloyed courage, the person who comes to mind is Winston Churchill: the iconic, visionary war leader immune from the consensus of the day, who stood firmly for his beliefs when everyone doubted him. But how did young Winston become Churchill? What gave him the strength to take on the superior force of Nazi Germany when bombs rained on London and so many others had caved? In Churchill, Andrew Roberts gives readers the full and definitive Winston Churchill, from birth to lasting legacy, as personally revealing as it is compulsively readable. Roberts gained exclusive access to extensive new material: transcripts of War Cabinet meetings, diaries, letters and unpublished memoirs from Churchill's contemporaries. The Royal Family permitted Roberts--in a first for a Churchill biographer--to read the detailed notes taken by King George VI in his diary after his weekly meetings with Churchill during World War II. This treasure trove of access allows Roberts to understand the man in revelatory new ways, and to identify the hidden forces fueling Churchill's legendary drive"--

Hero of the Empire

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Hero of the Empire - Candice Millard Summary

A thrilling narrative of Winston Churchill's extraordinary and little-known exploits during the Boer War. Churchill arrived in South Africa in 1899, valet and crates of vintage wine in tow, there to cover the brutal colonial war the British were fighting with Boer rebels. But just two weeks after his arrival Churchill was taken prisoner ... The story of his escape is incredible enough, but then Churchill enlisted, returned to South Africa, fought in several battles, and ultimately liberated the men with whom he had been imprisoned. Hero of Empire is more than an adventure story, for the lessons Churchill took from the Boer War would profoundly affect twentieth-century history.

A Window Opens

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A Window Opens - Elisabeth Egan Summary

"From the beloved books editor at Glamour magazine comes a heartfelt and painfully funny debut about what happens when a wife and mother of three leaps at the chance to fulfill her professional destiny--only to learn every opportunity comes at a price. In A Window Opens, Elisabeth Egan brings us Alice Pearse, a compulsively honest, longing-to-have-it-all, sandwich generation heroine for our social-media-obsessed, lean in (or opt out) age. Like her fictional forebears Kate Reddy and Bridget Jones, Alice plays many roles (which she never refers to as "wearing many hats" and wishes you wouldn't, either). She is a mostly-happily married mother of three, an attentive daughter, an ambivalent dog-owner, a part-time editor, a loyal neighbor, and a Zen commuter. She is not: a cook, a craftswoman, a decorator, an active PTA member, a natural caretaker, or the breadwinner. But when her husband makes a radical career change, Alice is ready to lean in--and she knows exactly how lucky she is to land a job at Scroll, a hip young start-up which promises to be the future of reading, with its chain of chic literary lounges and dedication to beloved classics. The Holy Grail of working mothers--an intellectually satisfying job and a happy personal life--seems suddenly within reach. Despite the disapproval of her best friend, who owns the local bookstore, Alice is proud of her new "balancing act" (which is more like a three-ring circus) until her dad gets sick, her marriage flounders, her babysitter gets fed up, her kids start to grow up, and her work takes an unexpected turn. Fans of I Don't Know How She Does It, Where'd You Go Bernadette, and The Storied Life of A.J. Fikry will cheer as Alice realizes the question is not whether it's possible to have it all, but what does she--Alice Pearse--really want?"--

Lethal Passage

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Lethal Passage - Erik Larson Summary

Follows the journey of a handgun, from its manufacture through its violent odyssey into the hands of a disturbed teenager who uses it to kill a teacher, and raises painful questions about the legal and cultural realities of firearms. Reprint. 25,000 first printing.

Rising Out of Hatred

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Rising Out of Hatred - Eli Saslow Summary

From a Pulitzer Prize-winning reporter, the powerful story of how a prominent white supremacist changed his heart and mind Derek Black grew up at the epicenter of white nationalism. His father founded Stormfront, the largest racist community on the Internet. His godfather, David Duke, was a KKK Grand Wizard. By the time Derek turned nineteen, he had become an elected politician with his own daily radio show - already regarded as the "the leading light" of the burgeoning white nationalist movement. "We can infiltrate," Derek once told a crowd of white nationalists. "We can take the country back." Then he went to college. Derek had been home-schooled by his parents, steeped in the culture of white supremacy, and he had rarely encountered diverse perspectives or direct outrage against his beliefs. At New College of Florida, he continued to broadcast his radio show in secret each morning, living a double life until a classmate uncovered his identity and sent an email to the entire school. "Derek Black...white supremacist, radio host...New College student???" The ensuing uproar overtook one of the most liberal colleges in the country. Some students protested Derek's presence on campus, forcing him to reconcile for the first time with the ugliness his beliefs. Other students found the courage to reach out to him, including an Orthodox Jew who invited Derek to attend weekly Shabbat dinners. It was because of those dinners--and the wide-ranging relationships formed at that table--that Derek started to question the science, history and prejudices behind his worldview. As white nationalism infiltrated the political mainstream, Derek decided to confront the damage he had done. Rising Out of Hatred tells the story of how white-supremacist ideas migrated from the far-right fringe to the White House through the intensely personal saga of one man who eventually disavowed everything he was taught to believe, at tremendous personal cost. With great empathy and narrative verve, Eli Saslow asks what Derek's story can tell us about America's increasingly divided nature. This is a book to help us understand the American moment and to help us better understand one another.

How the Light Gets In

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How the Light Gets In - Jolina Petersheim Summary

“Compellingly woven by Jolina Petersheim’s capable pen, How the Light Gets In follows a trail of grief toward healing, leading to an impossible choice—what is best when every path will hurt someone?” —Lisa Wingate, New York Times bestselling author of Before We Were Yours From the highly acclaimed author of The Outcast and The Alliance comes an engrossing novel about marriage and motherhood, loss and moving on. When Ruth Neufeld’s husband and father-in-law are killed working for a relief organization overseas, she travels to Wisconsin with her young daughters and mother-in-law Mabel to bury her husband. She hopes the Mennonite community will be a quiet place to grieve and piece together next steps. Ruth and her family are welcomed by Elam, her husband’s cousin, who invites them to stay at his cranberry farm through the harvest. Sifting through fields of berries and memories of a marriage that was broken long before her husband died, Ruth finds solace in the beauty of the land and healing through hard work and budding friendship. She also encounters the possibility of new love with Elam, whose gentle encouragement awakens hopes and dreams she thought she’d lost forever. But an unexpected twist threatens to unseat the happy ending Ruth is about to write for herself. On the precipice of a fresh start and a new marriage, Ruth must make an impossible decision: which path to choose if her husband isn’t dead after all.

The Devil In The White City

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The Devil In The White City - Erik Larson Summary

The Chicago World's Fair of 1893 and its amazing 'White City' was one of the wonders of the world. This is the incredible story of its realization, and of the two men whose fates it linked: one was an architect, the other a serial killer. The architect was Daniel H. Burnham, the driving force behind the White City, the massive, visionary landscape of white buildings set in a wonderland of canals and gardens. The killer was H. H. Holmes, a handsome doctor with striking blue eyes. He used the attraction of the great fair - and his own devilish charms - to lure scores of young women to their deaths. While Burnham overcame politics, infighting, personality clashes and Chicago's infamous weather to transform the swamps of Jackson Park into the greatest show on Earth, Holmes built his own edifice just west of the fairground. He called it the World's Fair Hotel. In reality it was a torture palace, a gas chamber, a crematorium. These two disparate but driven men together with a remarkable supporting cast of colourful characters, including as Buffalo Bill, George Ferris, Thomas Edison and some of the 27 million others who converged on the dazzling spectacle of the White City, are brought to life in this mesmerizing, murderous tale of the legendary Fair that transformed America and set it on course for the twentieth century.

Spearhead

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Spearhead - Adam Makos Summary

THE NEW YORK TIMES, WALL STREET JOURNAL, LOS ANGELES TIMES, AND USA TODAY BESTSELLER "A band of brothers in an American tank . . . Makos drops the reader back into the Pershing's turret and dials up a battle scene to rival the peak moments of Fury." --The Wall Street Journal From the author of the international bestseller A Higher Call comes the riveting World War II story of an American tank gunner's journey into the heart of the Third Reich, where he will meet destiny in an iconic armor duel--and forge an enduring bond with his enemy. When Clarence Smoyer is assigned to the gunner's seat of his Sherman tank, his crewmates discover that the gentle giant from Pennsylvania has a hidden talent: He's a natural-born shooter. At first, Clarence and his fellow crews in the legendary 3rd Armored Division--"Spearhead"--thought their tanks were invincible. Then they met the German Panther, with a gun so murderous it could shoot through one Sherman and into the next. Soon a pattern emerged: The lead tank always gets hit. After Clarence sees his friends cut down breaching the West Wall and holding the line in the Battle of the Bulge, he and his crew are given a weapon with the power to avenge their fallen brothers: the Pershing, a state-of-the-art "super tank," one of twenty in the European theater. But with it comes a harrowing new responsibility: Now they will spearhead every attack. That's how Clarence, the corporal from coal country, finds himself leading the U.S. Army into its largest urban battle of the European war, the fight for Cologne, the "Fortress City" of Germany. Battling through the ruins, Clarence will engage the fearsome Panther in a duel immortalized by an army cameraman. And he will square off with Gustav Schaefer, a teenager behind the trigger in a Panzer IV tank, whose crew has been sent on a suicide mission to stop the Americans. As Clarence and Gustav trade fire down a long boulevard, they are taken by surprise by a tragic mistake of war. What happens next will haunt Clarence to the modern day, drawing him back to Cologne to do the unthinkable: to face his enemy, one last time. Praise for Spearhead "A detailed, gripping account . . . the remarkable story of two tank crewmen, from opposite sides of the conflict, who endure the grisly nature of tank warfare." --USA Today (four out of four stars) "Strong and dramatic . . . Makos established himself as a meticulous researcher who's equally adept at spinning a good old-fashioned yarn. . . . For a World War II aficionado, it will read like a dream." --Associated Press

Oona Out of Order

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Oona Out of Order - Margarita Montimore Summary

"Just because life may be out of order, doesn't mean it's broken. It's New Year's Eve 1982, and Oona Lockhart has her whole life before her. At the stroke of midnight she will turn nineteen, and the year ahead promises to be one of consequence. Should she go to London to study economics, or remain at home in Brooklyn to pursue her passion for music and be with her boyfriend? As the countdown to the New Year begins, Oona faints and awakens thirty-two years in the future in her fifty-one-year-old body. Greeted by a friendly stranger in a beautiful house she's told is her own, Oona learns that with each passing year she will leap to another age at random. And so begins Oona Out of Order... Hopping through decades, pop culture fads, and much-needed stock tips, Oona is still a young woman on the inside but ever changing on the outside. Who will she be next year? Philanthropist? Club Kid? World traveler? Wife to a man she's never met? Oona Out of Order is a remarkably inventive novel that explores what it means to live a life fully in the moment, even if those moments are out of sequence. Surprising, magical, and heart-wrenching, Montimore has crafted an unforgettable story about the burdens of time, the endurance of love, and the power of family"--

Clementine

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Clementine - Sonia Purnell Summary

"First published in Great Britain under the title First lady: the life and wars of Clementine Churchill by Aurum Press Ltd."--Title page verso.

Good Morning, Destroyer of Men's Souls

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Good Morning, Destroyer of Men's Souls - Nina Renata Aron Summary

"The disease he has is addiction," Nina Renata Aron writes of her boyfriend, K. "The disease I have is loving him." Their love affair is dramatic, urgent, overwhelming-an intoxicating antidote to the long, lonely days of early motherhood. Soon after they get together, K starts using again, and years of relapses and broken promises follow. Even as his addiction deepens, she stays, convinced she is the one who can get him sober. After an adolescence marred by family trauma and addiction, Nina can't help but feel responsible for those suffering around her. How can she break this pattern? If she leaves K, has she failed him?Writing in prose at once unflinching and acrobatic, Aron delivers a piercing memoir of romance and addiction, drawing on intimate anecdotes as well as academic research to crack open the long-feminized and overlooked phenomenon of codependency. She shifts between visceral, ferocious accounts of her affair with K and introspective analyses of the part she plays in his addictions, as well as defining moments in the history of codependency, from the temperance movement to the formation of Al-Anon to more recent research in the psychology of addiction. Good Morning, Destroyer of Men's Souls is a blazing, bighearted book that illuminates and adds nuance to the messy tethers between femininity, enabling, and love.

Imperfect Union

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Imperfect Union - Steve Inskeep Summary

Steve Inskeep tells the riveting story of John and Jessie Frémont, the husband and wife team who in the 1800s were instrumental in the westward expansion of the United States, and thus became America's first great political couple John C. Frémont, one of the United States’s leading explorers of the nineteenth century, was relatively unknown in 1842, when he commanded the first of his expeditions to the uncharted West. But in only a few years, he was one of the most acclaimed people of the age – known as a wilderness explorer, bestselling writer, gallant army officer, and latter-day conquistador, who in 1846 began the United States’s takeover of California from Mexico. He was not even 40 years old when Americans began naming mountains and towns after him. He had perfect timing, exploring the West just as it captured the nation’s attention. But the most important factor in his fame may have been the person who made it all possible: his wife, Jessie Benton Frémont. Jessie, the daughter of a United States senator who was deeply involved in the West, provided her husband with entrée to the highest levels of government and media, and his career reached new heights only a few months after their elopement. During a time when women were allowed to make few choices for themselves, Jessie – who herself aspired to roles in exploration and politics – threw her skill and passion into promoting her husband. She worked to carefully edit and publicize his accounts of his travels, attracted talented young men to his circle, and lashed out at his enemies. She became her husband’s political adviser, as well as a power player in her own right. In 1856, the famous couple strategized as John became the first-ever presidential nominee of the newly established Republican Party. With rare detail and in consummate style, Steve Inskeep tells the story of a couple whose joint ambitions and talents intertwined with those of the nascent United States itself. Taking advantage of expanding news media, aided by an increasingly literate public, the two linked their names to the three great national movements of the time—westward settlement, women’s rights, and opposition to slavery. Together, John and Jessie Frémont took parts in events that defined the country and gave rise to a new, more global America. Theirs is a surprisingly modern tale of ambition and fame; they lived in a time of social and technological disruption and divisive politics that foreshadowed our own. In Imperfect Union, as Inskeep navigates these deeply transformative years through Jessie and John’s own union, he reveals how the Frémonts’ adventures amount to nothing less than a tour of the early American soul.

How Quickly She Disappears

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How Quickly She Disappears - Raymond Fleischmann Summary

The Dry meets The Silence of the Lambs in this intoxicating tale of literary suspense, set in the relentless Alaskan landscape, about madness and obsession, loneliness and grief, and the ferocious bonds of family.... My proposition is very simple: I am going to ask you for three gifts, and for each gift you deliver, I will take you one step closer to Jacqueline. It's been twenty years since Elisabeth's twin sister, Jacqueline, disappeared without a trace. Now thirty-year-old Elisabeth is living far from home in a small Alaskan town. She's in a loveless marriage and has a precocious young daughter she loves more than anything but who reminds her too much of her long-missing sister. But then Alfred, a dangerous stranger with a plan of his own, arrives in town and commits an inexplicable act of violence. And he offers a startling revelation: He knows exactly what happened to Elisabeth's sister, but he'll reveal this truth only if she fulfills his three requests. Increasingly isolated from her neighbors and imprisoned by the bitter cold and her own obsession, Elisabeth can almost hear her sister's voice saying, Come and find me. And so she will, even if it means putting herself--and her family--in danger.

Darling Winston

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Darling Winston - David Lough Summary

The first ever collection of the letters between Churchill and his mother. '[An] entertaining and illuminating collection ... As a whole it is a deeply moving account'Literary Review. 'This collection of letters is fascinating'New Statesman. '[A] fascinating correspondence'Daily Telegraph. 'This sparkling volume will be devoured by all who revere Churchill'Daily Mail. 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 Winstonreflects 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 Winstonenriches 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.

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