“Gray has managed to do the virtually impossible, and that is to say something new and perceptive about Winston Churchill and Franklin Delano Roosevelt. With her usual keen eye for the telling detail and her sympathy for her subjects, she argues for the importance of the statesmen’s relationships with their two very different but forceful mothers.”
—Margaret MacMillan, New York Times bestselling author of Paris 1919 and War
“This is a spectacular book, brilliantly and magnetically written. It’s a story about the passionate love of two remarkable mothers and their two remarkable sons, but it’s also transcendently about all mothers and their sons.”
—Rosalie Abella, former Canadian Supreme Court justice and professor of law at Harvard Law School
“Entirely original and brilliant. Gray weaves together the parallel lives
of Sara Roosevelt and Jennie Churchill, as wives as well as mothers, and explores their fascinatingly dissimilar guidance of their famous sons’ futures. Fresh, original, superbly researched, and immensely readable.”
—Ronald Cohen, C.M., MBE, author of the three-volume Bibliography of the Writings of Sir Winston Churchill
“Charlotte Gray has put two truly remarkable women in the spotlight. Brilliantly conceived and wonderfully written, their lives and times are illuminated as never before.”
—Bob Rae, diplomat and author of What’s Happened to Politics?
“Fascinating, engaging, and thought-provoking insight into the lives and influence of two women whose impact on the course of world events has all too often been reviewed from the male gaze.”
—Eliza Reid, First Lady of Iceland and author of Secrets of the Sprakkar
“A compassionate and vivid double portrait of Jennie Jerome and Sara Delano...Gray strikes an expert balance between the big picture and intimate glimpses of each woman. It’s an enlightening study of two mothers’ crucial influence upon sons who would make history.”
“An engaging dual biography…Gray convincingly portray[s] her subjects as ambitious, astute, and determined. A sympathetic portrait of formidable women.”
“Gray’s impeccable research and insightful look into social constraints of the time bring these women to life, highlighting the often overlooked ways Jennie and Sara shaped not only their own destinies but those of their sons. Perfect for literary nonfiction, history, women’s-history, and biography readers.”
“If Winston Churchill and Franklin Roosevelt had an idle moment when they met in 1941 to hammer out the Atlantic Charter, they might have talked about Roosevelt’s stamp-collecting or Churchill’s painting. It is perhaps less likely they chatted about one big thing they actually had in common: Strong, intelligent American mothers, widowed young, who provided them with plenty of runway for political takeoff….Through detailed historical research and scenic retellings, Gray makes a persuasive case that Franklin and Winston depended on their mothers’ devotion, influence and money. Had they been born a century later, one can imagine Jennie as a supermodel-turned-Hollywood producer and Sara as a Fortune 500 CEO. Instead, Gray tells us, they funneled their prodigious energies into their statesmen sons, both of whom were profoundly impacted by their fascinating and formidable mothers.”
"Ingeniously conceived and elegantly executed."
"Gray’s most important accomplishment is to show that Jennie Churchill and Sara Roosevelt were far more than just mothers of history-making sons"
—NY Journal of Books