Now in her eighty-ninth year, Mary Soames is the only surviving child of Winston and Clementine Churchill. Younger than her siblings by several years, she went to day school and enjoyed an idyllic childhood played out in her very own 'Garden of Eden' - Chartwell. Here she roamed house and grounds, tended diligently to her collection of pets, and had her first glimpses of the glittering social world in which her parents moved. Then, in 1939, Chamberlain's declaration of war dramatically ended this world as she and her family had known it. Hereafter we follow Mary's life through her fascinating personal diary, published here for the first time. Through the immediacy of her private observations we are drawn into a world where the ordinary minutiae of a packed family, social and romantic life proceed against a background of cataclysmic events. Joining the ATS and serving in mixed anti-aircraft batteries, Mary takes on her own set of professional demands while sharing the many anxieties and stresses brought to bear upon her family through her father's position. The mutual love and affection between Mary and her parents is evident on every page, from her earliest years at Chartwell to Winston's defeat at the 1945 general election, when Mary recounts her own pain and devastation on her father's behalf. At this point she meets her future husband, Christopher Soames. We are left in no doubt at the end of this charming and revealing memoir that, at twenty-four, Mary has lived a full life and is well prepared for her future as young wife and mother.
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Mary Soames is the youngest and only surviving child of Winston and Clementine Churchill. She was born in 1922 and brought up at Chartwell in Kent. In 1941, aged eighteen, she 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. She has also written her mother's biography, Clementine Churchill and edited Speaking For Themselves, the personal letters between her parents.Review:
"Perceptive, funny, always totally honest, it provides an unequalled view of the corridors of power."--"The Spectator"
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