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Randolph: A study of Churchill’s son

By Brian Roberts

A member of a great patrician family, good-looking, intelligent, energetic, with great oratorical gifts and quickness of mind, the young Randolph Churchill was the Golden Boy of popular imagination and seen as a young man of destiny. So why did it not work out that way?

Grandson of the colourful late Victorian politician Lord Randolph Churchill, and son of the even more celebrated and controversial Winston Churchill, Randolph seemed set fair to continue the family tradition. His father even referred to him as ‘the younger Pitt’. So what went wrong?

This book provides a convincing and fascinating answer. Both circumstances and his own defects of character worked against Randolph Churchill. He was spoiled by his father and his relationship with his mother was unhappy. He could never live up to his father’s expectations and was unable to establish loving relationships. Both his marriages fell apart, the great love of his life was unrequited, and he was handicapped by his argumentative, bombastic and cantankerous nature.

Passionately interested in politics, he fought and lost six elections, only reaching parliament when he was unopposed. Although his wartime experiences showed his courage and were probably the high water mark of his achievements, he never covered himself in the glory he so ardently sought. His later career as a biographer was disappointing. But in this shrewd analysis of Randolph’s character Brian Roberts shows there was far more to Randolph Churchill than most believe. He was an ambitious, talented, unexpectedly sensitive man; devoted to his father, loved by his friends and, although often offensive, never dull.

Praise for Randolph: A study of Churchill’s son:

’A first-class account. Very enjoyable’ – Amazon review

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