The Marlboroughs

The Marlboroughs

John and Sarah Churchill, 1650-1744

Book - 2001
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The most successful British general until the advent of Napoleon, John Churchill, the first Duke of Marlborough, was also a successful, if devious politcian, and a commanding figure both on the continent of Europe and the English court from the time of King James II. King James' mistress was Churchill's sister until he married Queen Anne whose intimate friend, the beautiful, gifted, shrewed and difficult Sarah, was Churchill's wife.
Publisher: London : Viking, 2001.
ISBN: 9780670886777
Branch Call Number: 921 M347h
Characteristics: xv, 406 p. : ill. (some col.), maps ; 24 cm.


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Feb 23, 2011

It is not everyday that you read a book from which you learn about the forebear of a very famous man and what made that earlier individual just as famous.

John, Churchill, the first Duke of Marlborough, whose descendant WInston Churchill was the British prime minister in World War II, was equally as pugnatious as his descendant. Battling the French in continental wars of the late 17th- and early 18th-centuries. Leading allied against the FRench he gained his Dukedom after a great victory at Blenheim.

Through the author, Christopher Hibbert, we learn that JOhn Churchill was grasping, stingy man who accumulated great wealth and position by following his political instincts. Unlike his descendant, he was no man of letters but rather a man of action.

His wife Sarah was a sharp tongued woman who feuded with Queen Anne, rubbed the builders and architects of Blenheim Palace the wrong way and fought unceasingly with her children and grandchildren.

It is a fascinating look at the period, well-written and painstakingly researched. Well worth the read.

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