HIS FATHER'S SON by Winston S.  Churchill

HIS FATHER'S SON

The Life of Randolph Churchill

KIRKUS REVIEW

A "filial and objective" biography of Winston S. Churchill's only son, Randolph, by Randolph's son. Randolph Churchill, named for a grandfather who was an important parliamentary leader in the 1880s, was born to Winston Churchill and his wife, Clementine, in London in 1911. Winston Churchill, who had been a soldier and a successful journalist, was already immersed in his brilliant political career at the time of Randolph's birth, and the early pages of this biography are a narrative of Winston Churchill's career as home secretary and first lord of the admiralty, including the catastrophic failure of the Gallipoli campaign, with which Winston, became identified, a tragedy that became indelibly imprinted on the small boy's memory. Randolph grew up in an atmosphere dominated by the powerful intellect and forceful personality of his father. Winston, for his part, tried his best to be the loving parent to Randolph that his own father had never been to him. Educated at Eton and Oxford, Randolph was, like his father, an indifferent student with evident gifts, but unlike Winston he developed habits of indolence and a quarrelsome, arrogant streak that marked his adult personality. Eventually he followed his father into politics and journalism; he had great success with the latter in the 1930s, but less with the former, failing three times as a Conservative candidate to achieve election to Parliament, but finally becoming MP from Preston as WW II neared. Having married Pamela Digby (later to be Mrs. Averell Harriman), he served in the war with the Desert Army and in the Balkans. After the war, he wrote numerous books, including two volumes of a well-regarded biography of his father. He died in 1968. Randolph's career is a historical footnote, but the author's close examination of his father's complex relationship with Winston Churchill, augmented with excerpts from their voluminous correspondence, make this a valuable contribution to Churchill scholarship.
Pub Date: June 15th, 1997
ISBN: 0-297-81640-3
Page count: 514pp
Publisher: Weidenfeld & Nicolson/Trafalgar
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 1st, 1997




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