Macmillan Childrens Publishing Group
The Churchills

The Churchills

A Family Portrait

Celia Lee and John Lee

St. Martin's Griffin


Trade Paperback

The Churchills dominated world politics for generations—but, like every family, they too have their secrets. Winston's mother, Jennie, had an affair with the Prince of Wales, later King Edward VII, and her spendthrift habits devastated the family's reputation. The younger brother, Jack, played a crucial role both in Winston's successes and in holding the family together during tough times. From Sir Randolph's alleged syphilis to Winston's illegitimacy, from Jennie's gambling problem to Jack's dashed ambitions, authors Celia and John Lee use never-before-seen archives to cut through the rumors and lies and get to the truth about the life of the former prime minister and his relationship with his family.


Praise for The Churchills

“[A] highly readable biography of Winston Churchill . . . Biographies of the . . . British leader abound, but the Lees offer an intriguing addition.” —Kirkus Reviews

“A fascinating new book by the historians Celia and John Lee, who were granted unique access to the private papers of Winston's nephew, the late Peregrine Churchill, is set to challenge common misunderstandings about the family dynamic…In particular, re-introducing Winston's little-known younger brother, Jack, into the story has proved to be the key to appreciating the truth about several mysterious aspects of the astonishing tale of the Spencer-Churchills…The caricature of an uncaring father is swept away by the Lees' study of the correspondence Lord Randolph maintained with his sons and with others about them throughout his frenetic but short life…The Lees have done Churchillian history a great service with their diligence, throwing light on a part of the story that has not hitherto been fully understood.” —Andrew Roberts, author of Masters and Commanders and The Storm of War

“Fascinating...[This] new book by husband-and-wife historians John and Celia Lee is set to challenge common misunderstandings about the family dynamic.The Lees have done Churchillian history a great service with their diligence, throwing light on a part of the story that has not hitherto been fully understood.” —The Telegraph (UK)

“By their careful re-reading of the known letters between the principal characters, and the blending in of new material from Peregrine Churchill's archive, Celia and John Lee add enormously to our understanding of the great Churchill family.” —Allen Packwood, Director, Churchill Archives Centre, University of Cambridge

“This book brings Winston's brother Jack into the picture as no previous work and is a valuable contribution to our knowledge.” —Richard M. Langworth CBE, Editor, Finest Hour, The Churchill Centre

“An interesting overview of the modern Churchill family. . . . The death of Lord Randolph Churchill, Jennie's multiple affairs and massive debts, the service of Winston and Jack in the Boer War and WWI, and Winston's rise to power in WWII provide a . . . tale worthy of classical drama.” —Publishers Weekly

“[A] highly readable biography of Winston Churchill (1874–1965), closely focusing on his youth and family life. Biographies of the cigar-chewing, pugnacious British leader abound, but the Lees offer an intriguing addition. Drawing on little-visited archives, the authors reveal much news. . . . Admirers of Churchill and collectors of the considerable literature surrounding his life will find plenty to chew on in this all-too-lively life.” —Kirkus Reviews

“This is a fine examination of a celebrated family that is ideal for general readers.” —Booklist

“...remarkable assertions are made by husband-and-wife historians Celia and John Lee in their new biography of the Churchill family, based on thousands of documents kept secret for years in a locked room by Winston's late nephew, Peregrine Churchill.” —London Evening Standard

“The Churchills – A Family Portrait, sheds fresh light on Winston's upbringing and dispels some of the myths that sprang up about the family.” —

“After the millions of words written to date about Sir Winston Churchill and his family, it is a triumph to come up with something fresh.” —Global News Box

“Celia and John Lee, in a book that is determined to give the invisible Churchill his due…succeed in returning Jack to his proper place in the story of the family.” —Nick Rennison, The Sunday Times

“Prepare to have almost everything you thought you knew about Winston Churchill's upbringing completely revised.” —Mail on Sunday Review

“...has the aura of authenticity and authority.” —Choice

“Fans have already applauded the Lees' research. Rightly so. A dilligent biography of the Churchill clan.” —The Catholic Herald

“This intriguing book looks at the skeletons in the Churchill family cupboard using previously unseen family archives.” —The Good Book Guide

Reviews from Goodreads

About the author

Celia Lee and John Lee

Celia and John Lee are Honorary Research Fellows of the Centre for First World War Studies at the University of Birmingham, members of the British Commission for Military History, the Gallipoli Association, the Western Front Association, the Douglas Haig Fellowship, the Churchill Center (UK), and the Biographers' Club.

Celia Lee

Celia Lee

John Lee

John Lee

From the Publisher

St. Martin's Griffin

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