The iconic British statesman has been much written about for his political career, but here his family life takes center stage as Ireland considers Churchill's enduring yet volatile bond with his only son, Randolph.
... a thoughtful study of a father-son relationship during the storms that rocked the 20th century ... Josh Ireland here confronts his bittersweet Life with Father, adding fresh insights and thoughtful appraisals to our understanding of the great man and his offspring ... Ireland avoids...pat summations. With no apparent axe to grind, he limns the 45-year Winston–Randolph relationship, good, bad, and ugly. There are a few errors and skewed judgments that put an uneven gloss on events ... The prologue is brief, eloquent, and a good omen, but after the first two chapters of potted background I was ready to toss this book, with its superficial accounts ... What follows is increasingly good ... This is the best account one may read of Randolph’s rollicking political apogee.
On casual inspection Randolph was a failure, his career in journalism, politics and the army blighted by marital discord and drunken oafishness. Josh Ireland’s Churchill & Son chronicles these faults vividly, but suggests that there was more to Randolph than the two bottles of whisky and 100 cigarettes he was consuming daily before his terminal decline ... No matter how low Randolph’s reputation plummeted, Winston’s love remained undimmed and this fine book may now allow the rest of us to appreciate the younger Churchill’s merits.
... a reader would have to be ice-cold of heart not to pause to take a sorrowful breath ... Mr. Ireland may be too generous here. For all its scrupulous portraiture, a mere biography could not, alas, repair so much damage or redeem so wrecked a life.