In This Review

Robert Boothby: A Portrait Of Churchill's Ally
Robert Boothby: A Portrait Of Churchill's Ally
By Robert Rhodes James
Viking, 1991, 476 pp

An experienced biographer, chosen by Boothby himself, has written a remarkably successful life of a British politician and public figure. Boothby, with his zest for power and love, intermittently achieved and lost both. An anti-appeaser, a Tory critic of his own party and, for 35 years, the lover of Harold Macmillan's wife (an anguished affair that the British press at the time ignored and that the author handles with discreet candor), Boothby had a knack for trouble and great resiliency. A man of strong opinions, he warned in 1959 that American public-relations operators in politics had as their "sole object ... to dilute truth with propaganda.... The lie on the lips then becomes the lie in the soul." An absorbing book that does not need-or fully justify-the commercially appealing subtitle.