Speaking For Themselves

Speaking For Themselves : The Private Letters Of Sir Winston And Lady Churchill

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The fascinating, insightful and often moving correspondence between Sir Winston and Lady Clementine Churchill extends from their early days of innocent courtship in 1908 to Winston Churchill's death in 1965. The letters serve not only as a chronicle of their personal achievements and tragedies over the years, but also as a political and social history. In their own words, Winston and Clementine recount some of the most momentous events of the twentieth century: the sinking of the Titanic, the abdication of King Edward VIII, the downfall of governments, the Depression, and two world wars. Here are harrowing first-hand accounts from the battlefields of 1915, reflections on political triumphs and upsets, as well as domestic minutiae, foreign travel, revelations of social scandals and, above all, words of mutual support and encouragement that span the career of one of Britain's most revered statesmen. Speaking for Themselves is not only an important historical document, it is a love story and an intimate, charming and often surprising insight into one of the century's most successful marriages. Mary Soames is perfectly placed to select and comment upon this vast collection of letters. And in her introduction and notes she complements the letters with explanatory notes, biographical details and her own personal recollections.show more

Product details

  • Paperback | 768 pages
  • 156 x 230 x 46mm | 920.81g
  • Transworld Publishers Ltd
  • Black Swan
  • London, United Kingdom
  • English
  • 32 b&w photographs
  • 0552997501
  • 9780552997508
  • 310,010

Review quote

"The record of a remarkably enduring marriage" * The Scotsman * "Lady Soames, the Churchills' sole surviving child... has edited these letters with great skill, providing a lively commentary and vivid pen portraits of supporting characters" -- Piers Brendon * Mail on Sunday * "We expect the correspondence of Winston Churchill and his wife, Clementine, to be interesting... and still these letters can astonish: in their scope; in the way their individual brilliance is sustained day by day and year upon year" * Sunday Telegraph * "A fascinating aid to our understanding of an extraordinary couple" -- John Grigg * Spectator *show more

About Mary Soames

Mary Soames (1922-2014) was the youngest child of Winston and Clementine Churchill. She was brought up at Chartwell in Kent and, aged eighteen, joined the ATS and served in mixed anti-aircraft batteries in England and Europe. She accompanied her father as his ADC on several of his wartime overseas journeys. In 1945 she was awarded the MBE (military). In 1947, she married Captain Christopher Soames, Coldstream Guards, later Lord Soames, PC, GCMG, CH. In 1998 she edited the private correspondence between her parents, Speaking for Themselves, completely revised and updated the celebrated biography of her mother, Clementine Churchill, in 2002 and completed her own autobiography, A Daughter's Tale, in 2011.show more

Review Text

"The record of a remarkably enduring marriage"show more

Back cover copy

Winston and Clementine Churchill wrote to each other constantly throughout the fifty-seven years of their life together, from the ardent and debonair exchanges of their courtship and early marriage to the year before Winston's death in 1965. Written solely for each other's eyes, spontaneously and unselfconsciously, their letters serve not only as a revealing portrait of their characters and their relationship but also as a unique political and social history. Speaking for Themselves provides a rare insight into Winston Churchill's extraordinary career, the central role he played and the world figures he met in over half a century of turbulent history. Clementine's interest in politics was almost as intense as his, and her political instincts acute. Here, therefore, are Winston and Clementine's vividly expressed reactions to the social reforms of the Edwardian era, the agitations of the Suffragettes, the disastrous Dardanelles campaign, the Abdication Crisis, the early disasters and then the long-awaited victories of the Second World War and the electoral defeat of 1945. But here also are domestic minutiae, society gossip, financial anxieties and minor quarrels, nicknames, private jokes and endearments. Above all, their correspondence reveals what Mary Soames calls 'their enduring and heroic partnership', a partnership that was not free of troubles but was built upon a foundation of affection, humour and loyalty. Mary Soames is perfectly placed to select, annotate and comment upon the vast archive of her parents' letters, telegrams and memoranda. Speaking for Themselves is an important historical document and also an intimate, charming and often surprising portrait of one of the twentieth century's most successful partnerships.show more

Rating details

58 ratings
4.5 out of 5 stars
5 55% (32)
4 41% (24)
3 2% (1)
2 2% (1)
1 0% (0)
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