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Mr. Churchill's Profession: The Statesman as Author and the Book That Defined the "Special Relationship" Hardcover – May 22, 2012

ISBN-13: 978-1608193721 ISBN-10: 1608193721 Edition: First Edition

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 368 pages
  • Publisher: Bloomsbury Press; First Edition edition (May 22, 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1608193721
  • ISBN-13: 978-1608193721
  • Product Dimensions: 6.5 x 1.4 x 9.4 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.3 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (12 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #809,125 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Review

"[A] delightful, informative, and worthy addition to the groaning shelf of Churchill biography"—Globe and Mail (Canada)

""In Mr. Churchill's Profession, an account of his career as an author, Peter Clarke argues that writing was not merely Churchill's vocation but the very center of his working life …"—Maya Jasonoff, Wall Street Journal

"Detailing Churchill’s writing aids of whiskey and stenographers as well as his income, Clarke will interest many in Churchill’s authorial career."—Gilbert Taylor, Booklist

"Original, gap-filling, engagingly presented scholarship."—Kirkus Reviews

"Clarke enhances his distinguished reputation as a scholar of modern Britain … with this original perspective on Winston Churchill."—Publishers Weekly

About the Author

Peter Clarke's many books include Keynes: The Rise, Fall, and Return of the 20th Century's Most Influential Economist; The Last Thousand Days of the British Empire; The Keynesian Revolution in the Making, 1924-1936; and the acclaimed final volume of the Penguin History of Britain, Hope and Glory, Britain 1900-2000.

Customer Reviews

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See all 12 customer reviews
It is a worthy edition to the Churchill story and a book that amateur historians will want to read.
Sam Sattler
For much of his life, Sir Winston Churchill, was a well known politician but his real profession, the way he supported himself, was that of a writer.
Paul Lantz
Unfortunately, the author has padded the book with a couple of lengthy digressions, but it still repays the attentive reader.
Innovator

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

16 of 17 people found the following review helpful By Paul Lantz on June 21, 2012
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
For much of his life, Sir Winston Churchill, was a well known politician but his real profession, the way he supported himself, was that of a writer. This book is a fascinating study of his literary output, how he worked, how he made use of researchers and how he made a living from writing. Often, the demands of his political life interfered with his writing. Equally often, there was a tremendous neat for him to come up with innovative financial strategies to insure that he received a benefit from writing, especially at a time when income tax in Britain reached 97.5 per cent. I have read quite a few books about Churchill, this is one of the best in terms of readability and fascinating levels of detail. Clearly Churchill used researchers and writers but when he became interested in a subject he was capable of immersing himself in it and producing excellent prose.
I bought this volume as an ebook from amazon.com and read it in the Kindle app on my iPad.
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18 of 20 people found the following review helpful By Paul on July 24, 2012
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Peter Clarke is a fine scholar and this is a good work, and with that said, it is not a casual read or designed for someone not already somewhat familiar with Churchill.

Of all the many books already written on every aspect of this man, any potential reader would ask why another? There are several good reasons, several very strong points of the book, and yet, for me, a flawed premise.

The author begins with one of the finest summaries of WSC growing up the son of Lord Randolph Churchill and his American wife, Jenny Jerome. Lord Randoloph was a brilliant politician in most respects, and became Chancellor of the Exchequer under Salisbury but it was short lived in that he submitted his resignation prior to submitting even his first budget and Salisbury took it and went on. WSC was neglected by both parents and yet idolized both. His father, quite simply, was an ass. Randolph died at an early age and what little there was in pensions or annuities was constantly devoured by his mother as quickly as it came due, so while WSC may have been of the upper crust, he, like many, were not endowed with cash, which may have been on his father's mind when he married Jenny Jerome, a daughter of a successful investment broker from New York.

Early on, in spite of the lack of a formal education (his father had no intention of spending the money required for a first rate education), WSC went to Sandhurst, was a calvary officer at a young age and devoured books while on duty in India. It was early in life that he started with magazine and newspaper articles and learned quickly that good writing would make good money.
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16 of 20 people found the following review helpful By David Rasch on June 1, 2012
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Been reading about him since 1964. Watched his funeral on t.v. It just never clicked that his literary output not only kept him financially afloat but was some of the best writing this century. Peter Clarke assembles the information which can be found in bits and pieces in the numerous biographies of Sir Winston into a cogent, readable and interesting book.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Sam Sattler on December 18, 2012
Format: Hardcover
Peter Clarke's new Winston Churchill biography, Mr. Churchill's Profession, focuses on a less often explored side of the man who will always be best remembered for his defiance of Adolph Hitler during World War II. This is a book, as the subtitle clearly states, about "the statesman as author." Not having much considered this aspect of the great political figure's life before, I was pleased by how revealing a portrait of the man such a focus makes possible.

Winston Churchill became a published author in 1898 and, for the rest of his life, the bulk of his income would be provided by his writing - not by the political offices to which he was elected. Even as a young army officer, Churchill considered himself as much writer as soldier, and used family influence to attach himself to several military campaigns as a war correspondent. The money he earned from newspapers and from repackaging the articles into books allowed Churchill and his widowed mother to maintain a lifestyle that would otherwise have been impossible after his father's death.

Churchill's parents enjoyed a lifestyle that always seemed just barely - if never completely - within their means of paying for it. Randolph Churchill placed his own personal pleasure above any obligation another father might feel for educating his sons for the future. So, in lieu of spending money on a better education, Randolph steered his son toward a military career and left it up to Winston to educate himself as best he could. Unfortunately, although Winston did do a remarkable job of educating himself, he also inherited the spendthrift ways of his parents.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By david l. poremba VINE VOICE on January 3, 2013
Format: Hardcover
Presented here is a side of Winston Churchill that not many readers are aware of - that of a politician and member of a certain strata of English society supporting himself as an author.
The story begins with a fair summation of Churchill's childhood, which was not all that rosy. His father, Lord Randolph Churchill, was a politician who married a New York heiress, Jennie Jerome, both of whom promptly neglected their son, who in turn idolized them both. His father died young and his mother, never good with money, continuously went through anything that remained. She did, however, have many contacts in society (as any beautiful widow would), and she provided her son with introductions and acted as his literary agent many times in getting his was dispatches published in the newspapers. These dispatches were written out into books, very popular ones at that, and by 1900, Churchill had practically written himself into elected office. With a royalty income of over $500,000 in today's money, he could afford to stay in office but went through money pretty much as quickly as his mother did. He continued to write, albeit now with a staff to research and dictate to, ultimately winning the Nobel Prize in 1953 for his four-volume History of the English-Speaking Peoples.
This is an entertaining and informative "take" on one of the twentieth century's foremost citizens.
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