Daring To Hope
The Diaries and Letters of Violet Bonham Carter, 1946-1969
Date of publication: 2000
Lady Violet Bonham Carter, daughter of the Liberal prime minister H. H. Asquith, and herself a leading Liberal, was described by Winston Churchill in 1951 as 'one of the very best speakers, male or female'.
She was also a writer of distinction, Clement Attlee praising her 1965 biography of Churchill: 'Amazing that her first book, at 78, should be so good.' Its intended sequel was never written, but here, is the raw material for a worthy successor. 'Winston has many faults but he is the one great forest tree that still stands' she wrote in 1950. 'When I am with him I feel the perspective of history'.
That 'perspective' is vividly captured here and a galaxy of political stars comes into view - Attlee 'feeling the Atlas weight of his responsibility' as prime minister; Anthony Eden, 'accomplishing his own destruction by the suicidal blunder of Suez'; Harold Macmillan, 'How little I dreamed that he would ever blossom into "Super-Mac"'; President Kennedy, 'Above all I had the sense of greatness - in a greater degree than I have felt it about anyone since I first met Winston at the age of 19'. These are also the writings of an active politician with an international standing - an ardent campaigner for a United Europe: 'If we fail one realises suddenly that one is looking on at the suicide of a civilisation'; above all, a passionate Liberal struggling to save her party from extinction, and contemplating a deal with the Conservatives: 'But can one buy survival with dishonour?'