Noble Ambitions: The Fall and Rise of the Post-War Country House (Hardback)Adrian Tinniswood (author)
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Tinniswood follows up his engrossing interwar history of the English country house The Long Weekend with this rollicking, fully illustrated account of how these venerable institutions adapted and survived in a rapidly changing post-war world.
From the bestselling author of The Long Weekend: a wild, sad and sometimes hilarious tour of the English country house after the Second World War, when Swinging London collided with aristocratic values.
As the sun set slowly on the British Empire in the years after the Second World War, the nation's stately homes were in crisis. Tottering under the weight of rising taxes and a growing sense that they had no place in twentieth-century Britain, hundreds of ancestral piles were dismantled and demolished. Perhaps even more surprising was the fact that so many of these great houses survived, as dukes and duchesses clung desperately to their ancestral seats and tenants' balls gave way to rock concerts, safari parks and day trippers.
From the Rolling Stones rocking Longleat to Christine Keeler rocking Cliveden, Noble Ambitions takes us on a lively tour of these crumbling halls of power, as a rakish, raffish, aristocratic Swinging London collided with traditional rural values. Capturing the spirit of the age, Adrian Tinniswood proves that the country house is not only an iconic symbol, but a lens through which to understand the shifting fortunes of Britain in an era of monumental social change.
Lavishly illustrated in full colour, with over 50 photographs.
Publisher: Vintage Publishing
Number of pages: 416
Weight: 1165 g
Dimensions: 187 x 243 x 35 mm
'[A] preposterously entertaining history of the postwar country house... reading it is rather like leafing through an old leather-bound Smythson address book whose well-connected owner has helpfully added waspish notes, gossip and the odd family tree. In other words, it's heaven.' - Rachel Cooke, Observer
'Adrian Tinniswood's rollicking study perfectly captures the combination of decadence, pathos and brazen cheek that kept the English country house alive when it faced disaster.' - John Walsh, Sunday Times
'[A] brilliant new history of the country house since 1945... Tinniswood tells...[the] story superbly, his racy anecdotes mined not just from the usual memoirs, but from a studious trawl of endless local papers.' - Marcus Binney, Daily Telegraph
'By turns warm, sympathetic, sly and analytical, Tinniswood examines the complex history of the post-war country house with skill, grace, clarity - and charity. A triumph.' - Judith Flanders
'Tinniswood's meticulously researched and entertaining study...provides a brilliant insight into a much overlooked period. Few authors can combine serious social history with the sometimes sad and often hilarious narratives of country-house life in the way that Tinniswood can.' - Jeremy Musson
'[A] highly enjoyable, gossipy read with a gasp on every page; a must for the bedside tables of every guest bedroom, and every stately home gift shop.' - Mary S. Lovell
'Nobody is better qualified to tell this tale of loss and transformation, in all its human complexity, than Adrian Tinniswood. A master of the sources, he brings the past to life through his vivid writing and seemingly bottomless fund of stories.' - Clive Aslet
'This is a rollicking book.' - James Stourton, Literary Review
'Tinniswood's springy prose is clear-eyed when it comes to analysing the self-interest that lies at the heart of the country house life... [and his] eye for a juicy anecdote provides the raw material for the book's 20 chapters.' - Oliver Cox, Apollo
'Tinniswood...[is] an erudite historian of country-house life in all its anecdote-worthy vagaries.' - Miranda Seymour, Financial Times
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