A portrait of Winston Churchill's extraordinary wife and her lesser-known role in World War II discusses her relationship with political mentor Eleanor Roosevelt, her role in safeguarding Churchill's health throughout key historical events and her controversial family priorities.
Clementine lived an upper class, but rather unconventional childhood, with a mother known for her many lovers and Clementine's paternity somewhat in doubt. She married Winston Churchill in 1908. He was already a well known political icon, ten years her senior.
The subtitle of the book :”The Life of Mrs Winston Churchill” is most apt. Clementine Churchill stayed in the background of Winston's political career. Clementine made her opinions known to Winston (they argued over women's suffrage in the early years, a proposal that Winston vehemently opposed.) Unlike her contemporary and counterpart Eleanor Roosevelt, Clementine was the helpmate, furthering politcal ties for Winston with social events, and often offering the wisdom of empathy, which Winston seemed to lack. She engaged in helping in the homefront in both World Wars as well as spearheading help for an impoverished Russia before the iron curtain slammed down.
She was a complicated person. As Winston wrestled his Black Dog of depression, Clementine also wrestled at times with 'nervous conditions'. A loving mother, she often was away from her children for quite extended amounts of time until a family tragedy jolted her back to motherhood.
I learned a lot about Clementine's life and the life of British upper class at the time. I learned more about Winston Churchill and British history. A worthwhile read.