An edited collection of the personal letters between Winston Churchill and his mother, Jenny Jerome, between 1881—when Churchill was just six—and 1921, the year of Jerome's death. Many published for the first time, the letters offer insight into one of the 20th century's most admired—and reviled—figures as well as the outsized personality of his mother, who was a powerful force in her own right.
Lough himself is omnipresent throughout the book, thank God. He’s a perfect concierge, gliding soundlessly to your elbow before every new batch of letters and tactfully whispering just enough information to keep you from floundering in the blizzard of proper names and darting allusions to the news of the day. There are quick, discreet footnotes on every page, and the book is also generously supplied with gorgeous black-and-white photos that follow our correspondents from year to year. There’s also an invaluable appendix identifying the players that warrants a separate bookmark of its own. My Darling Winston provides a strange and almost pleasurably irritating reading experience ... they’re both [Churchill and his mother] such awful people ... Every time he starts a letter with 'my dearest Mummy,' you imagine yourself trapped in a version of Brideshead Revisited told by Boy Mulcaster ... they’re each slaves to a second and very loud kind of love, love of the limelight, love of hearing their names on the lips of other people ... this is the riveting psychic drama that plays out underneath the surface of My Darling Winston. That makes it a valuable addition to the near-endless Winston Churchill library but a surprisingly dark one.
With excellent explanations of the events involved, the author gives readers first-rate insight into the personalities of mother and son ... The author includes the available letters with very few gaps, notably after she [Churchill's mother] married a man Winston’s age and during his Boer War escapades. Throughout, he always relied on her help furthering his writing and political careers. A great resource for gaining a further understanding of these two outsized characters and their era.
There are a few editorial missteps: some contextual interludes tell exactly what the ensuing letters will say, and sections forego strict chronological presentation, confusing the timeline. But readers who enjoy piecing together history and filling in gaps from primary evidence, as well as historians and Churchill enthusiasts, will find much of interest.