Working with Winston: The Unsung Women Behind Britain's Greatest Statesman

Working with Winston: The Unsung Women Behind Britain's Greatest Statesman


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An original and insightful look at Winston Churchill through the eyes of those who knew him best—the women who worked with him throughout his life.

All politicians adopt a public persona that they believe contributes to electoral success. Though they might reflect the character of the politician, they reveal only a part of the man. What we know less about are the characteristics that Winston Churchill revealed when he was out of the public eye.

Much has been written about Churchill, and of the important world leaders, politicians, high-ranking military personnel with whom he interacted. But Churchill also required a vast staff to maintain the intense pace at which he worked. When Churchill strode the world stage, the secretarial and support staff positions were inevitably filled by women. Though extraordinarily talented and valuable to Churchill and his work, these women remain unheralded. He was not an easy employer. He was intimidating, with never-ending demands who would impose his relentless anddemanding schedules on those around him. And yet these women were devoted to him, though there were times in his political career in which he was decidedly unpopular. Many reflect upon their years working for him as the best years of their lives.

Intelligent and hard-working, these women were far from sycophants. Just as Churchill was no ordinary Prime Minister, these women were not ordinary secretaries. Indeed, in today’s terms their titles would be much grander, as their work encompassed ultra-secret documents and decrypting and reading enemy codes.

A treasure trove of insight and research, Working with Winston reveals the man behind the statesman and as well as brings long-overdue recognition to the “hidden army” that, like Churchill, was never off-duty.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781643130194
Publisher: Pegasus Books
Publication date: 05/14/2019
Pages: 400
Sales rank: 142,418
Product dimensions: 6.10(w) x 9.10(h) x 1.50(d)

About the Author

Stelzer received a BA degree from Barnard College with a major in history,
worked in educational publishing, and has been a stringer for the Financial Times.
She founded a public relations firm in New York City and served as special aide to Mayor John Lindsay and to Governor Hugh Carey before joining an economic consulting firm specializing in regulatory policy.

She is an Advisor to the Churchill Archives Centre, Churchill College,
Cambridge, a member of the Board of Advisers of the International Churchill
Society, and a former Trustee of Wigmore Hall. Her first book, Dinner with Churchill:
Policy-Making at the Dinner Table, was published in 2011.

Randolph Churchill is the great-grandson of Sir Winston Churchill. After attending Harrow, Randolph served in the Royal Navy and subsequently attended Buckingham University. He is a Trustee of the Winston Churchill Memorial Trust, Honorary Fellow of Churchill College, Cambridge, Director of the Armed Services Charities Advisory Company, and Trustee of the Churchill Centre in both the United States and United Kingdom. A regular speaker at Churchill conferences and dinners, Randolph and his wife have four children and live close to Sir Winston's home at Chartwell in Kent.

Table of Contents

Foreword Randolph Churchill xi

Preface Cita Stelzer xv

1 Violet Pearman 1

2 Grace Hamblin 15

3 Kathleen Hill 47

4 Patrick Kinna 65

5 Jo Sturdee 95

6 Marian Holmes 133

7 Elizabeth Gilliatt 165

8 Lettice Marston 181

9 Cecily 'Chips' Gemmell 195

10 Jane Portal 221

11 Doreen Pugh 259

12 Catherine Snelling 283

Epilogue 299

Appendix 1 Operation Desperate 307

Appendix 2 The black mollies 311

Sources 317

Acknowledgements 319

Notes 323

Bibliography 347

Image credits 357

Index 361

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