There’s nothing like a biography to really get inside someone else’s mind. The three biographies included in this month’s giveaway do just that—and investigate fascinating moments in history as they do so.
In these explorations, you’ll meet Charlemagne, King of the Franks, Clementine Churchill, wife of Winston, and Chester A. Arthur, our 21st president. Their stories may span centuries, but each of these figures had an impact on our world that exceeded expectations—yes, even Charlemagne.
Discover their stories with these enthralling new reads.
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About the Books
Clementine Churchill: A Life in Pictures
Clementine Churchill: A Life in Pictures is a fully illustrated and abridged edition of Sonia Purnell’s acclaimed biography, First Lady, including over 100 stunning and rarely seen photographs.
Without Winston Churchill’s inspiring leadership Britain could not have survived its darkest hour. Without his wife Clementine, however, he might never have become Prime Minister. By his own admission, his role in the Second World War would have been impossible but for ‘Clemmie’. That Clementine should have become Britain’s First Lady was by no means preordained. She may have been born an aristocrat but her childhood was far from gilded. Deprived of affection, a secure home and sometimes even food on the table, by the time she entered high society she had become the target of cruel snobbery. Yet in Winston she discovered a partner as emotionally insecure as herself; and in his career she found her mission. Theirs was a marriage that was to change the course of history.
Clementine gave Winston confidence, conviction and counsel. Not only was she involved in some of the most crucial decisions of the war, she also exerted an influence over her husband and his governments that might be judged scandalous today. Her ability to manage this exceptional man, and to charm Britain’s allies, earned her the deep respect of world leaders, ministers, generals and critics alike. While her tireless work to alleviate suffering on the Home Front and abroad made her a champion to many in the population at large.
From the personal and political upheavals of the Great War, through the Churchills’ ‘wilderness years’ in the 1930s, to Clementine’s desperate efforts to sustain Winston during the struggle against Hitler, Clementine Churchill: A Life in Pictures continues to uncover the memory of one of the most remarkable women of modern times.
King and Emperor: A New Life of Charlemagne
Charles I, often known as Charlemagne, is one of the most extraordinary figures ever to rule an empire. Driven by unremitting physical energy and intellectual curiosity, he was a man of many parts, a warlord and conqueror, a judge who promised "for each their law and justice," a defender of the Latin Church, a man of flesh and blood. In the twelve centuries since his death, warfare, accident, vermin, and the elements have destroyed much of the writing on his rule, but a remarkable amount has survived. Janet Nelson's wonderful new book brings together everything we know about Charles I, sifting through the available evidence, literary and material, to paint a vivid portrait of the man and his motives.
Building on Nelson’s own extraordinary knowledge, this biography is a sort of detective story, prying into and interpreting fascinating and often obdurate scraps of evidence, from prayer books to skeletons, gossip to artwork. Charles’s legacy lies in his deeds and their continuing resonance, as he shaped counties, countries, and continents; founded and rebuilt towns and monasteries; and consciously set himself up not just as King of the Franks, but as the head of the renewed Roman Empire. His successors—even to the present day—have struggled to interpret, misinterpret, copy, or subvert his legacy. Janet Nelson gets us as close as we can hope to come to the real figure of Charles the man as he was understood in his own time.
Soaring to Glory
Chester Alan Arthur, surely our unlikeliest president, may have been saved from complete obscurity only by the mutton-chop whiskers that stand out among the full-bearded visages of late-nineteenth-century presidents. But as this highly readable portrait of Arthur and his age reveals, duty’s unexpected call turned the quintessential patronage politician into a statesman who skillfully guided America’s first steps on the road to becoming a world power.
No one is likely to follow Arthur’s path to the White House again. A product of the spoils system that once governed the federal civil service, Arthur had been rewarded for his loyalty to the Republican machine with the most lucrative patronage position in the country—customs collector of the Port of New York. In 1880, having never held elective office, he was chosen as James Garfield’s running mate in a bid to heal a factional rift in the party. When Garfield’s death from an assassin’s bullet early in his term made Arthur president, dismayed observers expected the worst.
Instead, this “accidental” president rose to an unexpected level of principle and accomplishment and led his country to the threshold of greatness. In John Pafford’s absorbing study, you’ll learn:
- Why the wounded President Garfield’s incapacity sent Vice President Arthur and the U.S. government into uncharted constitutional waters
- Why a president who owed his career to the patronage system championed civil service reform and remade the federal government
- How Arthur’s far-sighted determination to rebuild America’s shriveled navy changed the course of U.S. history
- Why massive immigration from Asia inflamed American politics and how Arthur used his veto power to moderate Congress’s response
- How dramatic developments in the 1880s in theology, science, economics, and political philosophy set the stage for sweeping cultural change in America
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Note: The sweepstakes is open to all legal residents of the 50 United States and Washington, D.C. who are 18 years of age and older by September 13, 2019.