Books: Blacksmith to Blenheim

THE EARLY CHURCHILLS (378 pp.)—A. L. Rowse—Harper ($6.50).

When Charles II visited his wealthy mistress, Barbara, Duchess of Cleveland, and surprised her in bed with bone-poor Ensign Jack Churchill, the monarch kept his head and, addressing the young man, said: "You are a rascal, but I forgive you, for you do it to get your bread." How right Charles was may be seen by the fact that after a year or two of bundling with Barbara and shrewdly investing her handouts, Churchill had founded the fortunes of his family and embarked on one of the most glamorous careers in British history.

John, Duke...

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