The adventures and tribulations of Eglantyne Jebb, founder of Save the Children, and humble revolutionary
Winner of the 2007 Daily Mail Biographer’s Club Prize
An unconventional biography of an unconventional woman. Eglantyne Jebb, not particularly fond of children herself, nevertheless dedicated her life to establishing Save the Children and promoting her revolutionary concept of human rights. In this award-winning book, Clare Mulley brings to life this brilliant, charismatic, and passionate woman, whose work took her between drawing rooms and war zones, defying convention and breaking the law.
Eglantyne Jebb not only helped save millions of lives, she also permanently changed the way the world treats children.
Mulley's fascinating biography of Jebb is an in-depth look at life in England in the early 1920s. Born in 1876 and raised in a Shropshire home, Jebb inherited her parents' keen sense of social justice and personal social responsibility. Jebb and her sister, Dorothy, moved to Cambridge in the early 1900s, into what was then the middle of a liberal welfare movement. It was during this pivotal historical time that Jebb began to champion her cause with the belief that social justice is a civil right and not just a benevolent gift. Motivation for Jebb's pioneering acts may have come from her 1913 visit to the Balkans, where she witnessed the post-WWI devastation that would torment her until the end of her life. In her continued drive to create a better social order as well as individual child welfare, Jebb helped form Save the Children, which would forever change the idea of child welfare. Unfortunately, Mulley's book is exhausting in its detail, creating a nagging urge to put it down and walk away. Mulley often interrupts her narrative's intensity with simpering insertions of personal history; and her "baby on board" comparison to Jebb's belief that children are especially vulnerable to abuse and neglect, for example, is embarrassing.