THEIR LIVES AND LOVES
Published 22nd August 2019
Hardback | £20.00
To mark the 40th anniversary of Lord Mountbatten’s assassination by the IRA, comes a nuanced portrayal of two remarkable people and their complex marriage
Drawing on four years of research around the world, prize-winning and bestselling historian Andrew Lownie provides a fresh and revealing portrait of the glamorous couple behind the modern royal family.
A major figure behind his nephew Philip’s marriage to Queen Elizabeth ll and instrumental in the royal family taking the Mountbatten name, Dickie Mountbatten’s career included being Supreme Allied Commander of South East Asia during World War Two and the last Viceroy of India.
Once the richest woman in Britain and a socialite who enjoyed numerous affairs, Edwina Mountbatten emerged from World War Two as a much loved and very effective charity worker.
From British high society and the South of France to the battlefields of Burma and the Viceroy’s House in India, this is a rich and filmic story whose characters include all the key figures of the Second World War from Churchill and Montgomery to Roosevelt and Eisenhower as well as the Duke of Windsor, George VI, the Queen, Prince Philip and Prince Charles, Charlie Chaplin, Noel Coward, Salvador Dali, George Gershwin, Joan Crawford, Fred Astaire, Barbara Cartland, Grace Kelly and Merle Oberon.
Andrew Lownie says: “Though both Dickie and Edwina have had individual official biographies many years ago, this is the first joint biography and is based on extensive research not just in their own private papers but also archive collections around the world, interviews with dozens of people who knew them closely and Freedom of Information requests on both sides of the Atlantic. What I found surprised me and gives a very different picture of the couple and their relationship than in previous books.”
This is an account of an unusual marriage which, whilst beset with infidelities, was also a loving and mutually supportive one. It also reveals much new information on many of the controversies of Mountbatten’s career from the disastrous 1942 Dieppe Raid to the rapid transfer of power in India in 1947 as well as his murder in 1979.
Andrew Lownie was educated at Magdalene College, Cambridge, where he was Dunster History Prizeman and President of the Union, before taking his Masters and doctorate at Edinburgh University. A Fellow of the Royal Historical Society and former visiting fellow of Churchill College, Cambridge, he has run his own literary agency since 1988. A trustee of the Campaign for Freedom of Information and President of The Biographers Club, he has written for the Times, Telegraph, Wall Street Journal, Spectator and Guardian and formerly served in the Royal Naval Reserve. His previous books include acclaimed lives of the writer John Buchan and the spy Guy Burgess.
Praise for Stalin’s Englishman, winner of the St Ermin’s Intelligence Book of the Year
‘An abundance of vivid detail… a matchless and splendidly exciting read’ The Times
‘A remarkable and definitive portrait’ – Frederick Forsyth
‘Shrewd, thorough, revelatory’ – William Boyd
‘[Lownie] manages to convey the charm as well as the turpitude’ Craig Brown
‘Exhaustively researched and absorbing book’ New Statesman
‘Complicated, revelatory: a superb biography more riveting than a spy novel’ Sunday Telegraph
A Guardian Book of the Year
The Times Best Biography of the Year
Mail on Sunday Biography of the Year
Daily Mail Biography of Year
Spectator Book of the Year
BBC History Book of the Year
Praise for John Buchan: The Presbyterian Cavalier
‘Admirably readable’ The Sunday Times
‘This formidably detailed study is a labour of love by a devoted Buchanite’ The Guardian
‘Trumpets should now sound for Buchan; and I will sound one of my own for Andrew Lownie, who has brought this most extraordinary man to life in a way no previous writer has.’ The Independent
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