Churchill & Son

Josh Ireland. Dutton, $34 (464p) ISBN 978-1-5247-4445-8
Journalist Ireland (The Traitors) delivers an immersive account of British prime minister Winston Churchill’s tempestuous relationship with his only son, Randolph. In Ireland’s view, Churchill’s one-sided dynamic with his distant father caused him to overcompensate in indulging Randolph, who was “too often angry, too often drunk, too often gratuitously offensive, and too unwilling to engage in the sort of patient grind upon which careers were built in the twentieth century.” Winston’s devotion to his son produced great expectations (Randolph thought he would become prime minister at age 24, like Pitt the Younger), but also enabled Randolph’s weaknesses, including profligate spending and drunken rages. In July 1945, father and son lost reelection bids (Winston for prime minister, Randolph for parliament), but only Winston was able to reclaim his seat. A final rapprochement between father and son came in the 1960s, when Winston allowed Randolph to become his biographer and the younger Churchill, suffering from severe pneumonia and a series of heart attacks (he died in 1968, only three years after Winston), found that “in the process of telling the story of his father’s life, he belatedly gave meaning to his own.” Consistently entertaining and insightful, this deep dive will reward even the most knowledgeable Churchill buff. (Mar.)
Reviewed on : 12/30/2020
Release date: 03/30/2021
Genre: Nonfiction
Book - 1 pages - 978-1-5247-4447-2
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