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Response to Review of First Lady: The Life and Wars of Clementine Churchill

I am very pleased that the reviewer appreciates how much new information has come out about both Clementine and Winston Churchill in my book. I was certainly thrilled to discover a number of previously untapped sources, which together persuaded me that there was an astonishing story to be told. 

As regards Eleanor Roosevelt and Clementine Churchill – obviously direct contemporaries – there were differences of course, notably in style as I point out in the book. Clementine's aesthetic passions were very much part of her personality, but also her political/diplomatic strategy, even under the huge constraints of rationing and the deprivations of wartorn Britain. Both Churchills used clothing, food, decor to advance their objectives in the ways I describe. Eleanor simply had different methods and priorities – equally effective and notable, of course.

During my research, it became very clear that Eleanor was a great inspiration to Clementine, and certainly influenced her to become the successful public figure she was by the end of the war. Eleanor's populist genius and genuine concern for people from all walks of life inspired her British counterpart – who felt compelled to write about her great admiration of Mrs Roosevelt to FDR himself. The two women formed a bond during Eleanor's tour of wartime tour of Britain that helped bind America and Britain together during the conflict but which also lasted until Eleanor's death in the 1960s. This hugely important woman-to-woman relationship has, astonishingly, been ignored until now. Both women, in my view, deserve our admiration and gratitude for pushing the boundaries for women in public life but also in reinforcing the all-important but severely tested Anglo-American alliance of the Churchill-Roosevelt era.