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Sonia Purnell Books In Order

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Publication Order of Non-Fiction Books

Just Boris: The Irresistible Rise of a Political Celebrity (2011)Description / Buy at Amazon
Clementine: The Life of Mrs. Winston Churchill / First Lady: The Life and Wars of Clementine Churchill (2015)Description / Buy at Amazon
A Woman of No Importance: The Untold Story of the American Spy Who Helped Win World War II (2019)Description / Buy at Amazon
Clementine Churchill: A Life in Pictures (2019)Description / Buy at Amazon

Sonia Purnell
Sonia Purnell is a journalist and a biographer who has worked at The Telegraph, The Economist, and The Sunday Times.

Sonia has written for most of the national newspapers in the United Kingdom, as well as several prestigious publications in other countries like The Wall Street Journal in the United States.

Sonia found out about Virginia Hall’s story after finishing work on “Clementine”, her biography of Clementine Churchill. Purnell. She began wondering if there were any other buried tales about heroic women from World War II. While she began what would become three years of research, Purnell came across fleeting mentions of Hall’s magnificent courage in some documents that were otherwise focused on men.

While writing “A Woman of No Importance”, she wound up getting addicted to Hall’s tale, starting an international journey in order to piece her work together. The records of Hall’s work, that didn’t get destroyed or lost or are still classified, were all over the place. Purnell traveled between the United Kingdom, France, and the United States. All of this in an effort to track down some documents about Hall’s movements, reading all kinds of records that weren’t ever written with a future historian in mind.

Sonia feels that it was almost like Virginia was playing a game of cat-and-mouse with her. She wound up reading thousands of files in order to track Hall’s activities through her various codenames.

One of the things that Sonia admires most about Virginia is that she volunteered for the work she was in. She could have easily married rich and lived a life of ease, however, instead Virginia decided to have a life of service and hardship on top of the constant pain she felt from her prosthetic leg. Sonia’s never come across anybody quite like Virginia Hall.

“Clementine: The Life of Mrs. Winston Churchill” was a finalist for the Plutarch Award, and was selected as a book of the year by The Independent and The Telegraph. In the year 2011, “Just Boris” was longlisted for the Orwell Prize. “A Woman of No Importance” was chosen as one the Best Books of the Year by NPR.

Sonia’s debut biography, called “Just Boris: A Tale of Blond Ambition”, was released in the year 2010.

“Just Boris” is the first non-fiction book and was released in the year 2010. Born Alexander Boris de Pfeffel Johnson, however to a lot of people he is just ‘Boris’, the only politician of the age that is regarded in such affectionate and familiar terms. Uniquely, he is able to combine gimlet-eyed focus with jokey self-deprecation, comedy with erudition. Boris is a loving family with a roving eye. He is very ambitious figure, without any major ambitions to pursue, other than power itself.

Sonia, a former close colleague of Boris’, examines how this young, shy boy from a broken home became the only box-office politician. Not to mention a most unlikely sex god and how this Etondian product that is fond of Latin tags became a Man of the People and why he wanted to be. And just how the gaffe-prone buffoon was able to charm Londoners to win the biggest personal mandate that Britain has ever seen, and how the Johnson built their biggest, and blondest, political and media dynasty.

The book is filled with gems and Sonia has put together a whole lot of previously unknown detail. Readers found this to be a gripping read and a rollicking narrative that gives a thorough account of who Boris is.

“Clementine” is the second non-fiction book and was released in the year 2015. By Winston Churchill’s own admission victory in World War Two would have been impossible without Clementine. This is just the second book to be written about Clementine, the other was written by her daughter.

Sonia finally gives Clementine her due with a deeply researched account that talks about her life story, revealing how Clementine was instrumental in softening the initial dislike FDR had for her husband and paving the way for the close relationship that Britain obtained with America. Additionally, it gives a surprising accounting of Clementine’s relationship with Eleanor Roosevelt and their differing approaches to the war effort.

Young Clementine, born into impecunious aristocracy, was a target of rather cruel snobbery. Many wondered why Winston would even marry her, however, their marriage proved to be an exceptional partnership. Intelligent and beautiful, but was driven by her own insecurities, she made Winston’s career her mission. Any real consideration of Winston Churchill is not complete without an understanding of the relationship these two had.

Sonia delivers a fascinating glimpse at the wife of a great citizen, and somebody who has gotten relatively little recognition or approbation from history. Through her detailed research, she is able to paint a very complete picture of their public and personal relationship.

“A Woman of No Importance” is the third non-fiction book and was released in the year 2019. In the year 1942, the Gestapo would go to great lengths in order to track down some mysterious and ‘limping lady’ that had been eluding its clutches in order to fight for France’s freedom. Nazi chiefs, who are consumed with rage at all her daring, have issued a simple yet urgent command stating that she is the most dangerous of all the Allied spies. She must be found and destroyed.

The target of the Gestapo was a glamorous American with a wooden leg, named Virginia Hall. She broke through barriers against her disability and her gender to be the first woman to infiltrate Vichy France to help the SOE. In doing so she was able to help turn the course of the intelligence war.

She is an heiress from Maryland and was determined to make sure that a hunting accident wouldn’t be the thing that defined her existence. She was a young woman that gambled her life to fight with the British for freedoms she believed in, and an espionage novice that helped to light the French Resistance’s flame. She would later lead a guerrilla campaign in order to help liberate great numbers of France from Nazis after D-Day.

Book Series In Order » Authors » Sonia Purnell

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