The Long Weekend: Life in the English Country House Between the Wars

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9780224099455: The Long Weekend: Life in the English Country House Between the Wars

As WWI drew to a close, change reverberated through the halls of England's country homes. As the sun set slowly on the British Empire, the shadows lengthened on the lawns of a thousand stately homes.

In The Long Weekend, historian Adrian Tinniswood introduces us to the tumultuous, scandalous and glamourous history of English country houses during the years between World Wars. As estate taxes and other challenges forced many of these venerable houses onto the market, new sectors of British and American society were seduced by the dream of owning a home in the English countryside. Drawing on thousands of memoirs, letters, and diaries, as well as the eye-witness testimonies of belted earls and bibulous butlers, Tinniswood brings the stately homes of England to life as never before, opening the door to a world by turns opulent and ordinary, noble and vicious, and forever wrapped in myth. We are drawn into the intrigues of legendary families such as the Astors, the Churchills and the Devonshires as they hosted hunting parties and balls that attracted the likes of Charlie Chaplin, T.E. Lawrence, and royals such as Edward VIII and Wallis Simpson. We waltz through aristocratic soirées, and watch as the upper crust struggle to fend off rising taxes and underbred outsiders, property speculators and poultry farmers. We gain insight into the guilt and the gingerbread, and see how the image of the country house was carefully protected by its occupants above and below stairs.

Through the glitz of estate parties, the social tensions between old money and new, the hunting parties, illicit trysts, and grand feasts, Tinniswood offers a glimpse behind the veil of these great estates-and reveals a reality much more riveting than the dream.

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About the Author:

Adrian Tinniswood is a Senior Research Fellow in History at the University of Buckingham and the author of many books, including The Rainborowes. He lives in Bath, England.

Review:

#6 on the New York Times Bestseller list in the monthly Fashion, Manners and Customs” category for July 2016

Wall Street Journal
Beguiling.... Stuffed with eye-catching detail and apt quotations.”

Financial Times
Tinniswood gives us many entertaining stories about the whimsical extravagances of the new country-housers The Long Weekend is a celebration of fantasy and yearning cunningly wrapped up in pragmatism and practicality: about ancient castles with top-plumbing.”

The Economist
An engaging new account of inter-war country-house life.... Mr. Tinniswood provides rich detail from all corners, uncovering plenty of angst, but also much optimism until 1939.”

The Guardian (UK)
Swans in the moat, inglenooks and romantic conservatism but Adrian Tinniswood's hugely enjoyable, unsnobbish book uncovers another, more subversive, side to the story.”

The London Review of Books (UK)
[The] book combines a panoramic view of life and architecture in the interwar years with pin-sharp detail and the sort of springy prose that comes with a complete command of the material.”

Library Journal
[Tinniswood] reveals the English country house as a vibrant enterprise, benefitting from new owners, money, and architects bringing contemporary ideas to the art of country living. Informative and entertaining, Tinniswood's meticulous research brings us familiar names, such as the Astors and Edward VIII, while introducing us to lesser-known homeowners who wished to create their own modernist vision.”

Publishers Weekly
Tinniswood elegantly explores the glamorous interwar age of English rural getaways, revealing the not-so-secret affairs of the inhabitants and the reinterpretation of architectural and interior design.... Tinniswood's lovely chronological ode to a past lifestyle brims with tales of the elite's tumultuous weekends and shows how the country house's purpose changed with the times as the old social order came to a close.”

Booklist
With scholarly aplomb and gossipy relish, historian Tinniswood pulls open the grand front doors of these captivating castles to reveal their innermost workings and outward allure. Now that Downton Abbey is no more, fans of this halcyon, refined world can once again immerse themselves in Britain's quintessential golden era.”

The Times, Book of the Week, (UK)
It can't have been easy, but Adrian Tinniswood and his publishers should be congratulated for issuing this elegant, encyclopaedic and entertaining history of English country house life between the wars without ever once mentioning Downton Abbey.... The Long Weekend supplies a potent fix of period locations, upstairs-downstairs drama and higher gossip all of it factual for the most Downton-addicted of readers.... We are in the company of a confident and skilled historian who understands the mores of his era and wears his learning lightly.... Tinniswood expands our Sunday evening viewing with the kind of detail you can't invent, from gay badinage with the butler to Benzedrine in the cocktails, from the zebras at Leeds Castle to the Brazilian capybaras that ran wild at Eaton Hall. The Long Weekend deserves to be on every costume drama producer's bookshelf.”

The Daily Mail (UK)
[A] masterpiece of social history.”

Sunday Times, Richard Davenport-Hines, (UK)
Tinniswood is a learned architectural scholar without a jot of pedantry. He has produced a luscious, summery book, full of amiable anecdotes and photographs of striking interiors, celebrating headstrong optimists who defied the defeatism of the times. The Long Weekend resembles a well-kept hothouse festooned with fruit ripe for the plucking.”

Sunday Telegraph (UK)
[W]onderfully opulent, richly textured. In telling us how the English country house changed, [Tinniswood] is, of course, telling us how England changed, too.”

Literary Review (UK)
Tinniswood's book is erudite, funny, and oddly poignant.”

Country Life (UK)Book of the Week
[H]ighly enjoyable this is a delicious cocktail of a book, combining many ingredients and presenting an informed survey of the interwar years as seductively as that period (at least in this rarified sphere) demands.”

Kirkus
[A] richly researched story about the rise and fall and transformation of country-house living.... An enjoyable tour with a genial, informed, devoted docent.”

Washington Times
Still yearning for Downton Abbey? Adrian Tinniswood's The Long Weekend Life in the English Country House, 1918-1939 is probably the necessary antidote. A wonky, veritable tell-all, a who's who of British gentry.... Tales about piracy, crookery and shenanigans involving the supremely well-to-do are always intriguing and entertaining.”

Star Tribune
Preposterous plot lines apart, "Downton" writer Julian Fellowes drew on real people and events for his wildly popular PBS soap opera, as does historian Adrian Tinniswood for his prodigiously researched, rather more scholarly - but no less entertaining - chronicle of country house life between the two world wars.”

The Spectator, (UK)
[A] deliciously jaunty and wonderfully knowledgeable book.... In a series of super-generously illustrated chapters Tinniswood displays a terrific insider's grasp of gossip, while cramming his text with the stories of sport, sex, food, royalty, design, ruination and joy that defined these mansions.... [A] meticulous, irresistible story.”

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Buchbeschreibung Jonathan Cape Ltd, 2016. Buchzustand: New. Drawing on hundreds of memoirs, on unpublished letters and diaries, on the eye-witness testimonies of belted earls and unhappy heiresses and bullying butlers, this book intends to reach the people who inhabited this world. It brings the stately homes of England to life, giving readers an insight into the guilt and the gingerbread, and more. Num Pages: 416 pages. BIC Classification: 1DBKE; 3JJG; BJ; HBJD1; HBTB. Category: (G) General (US: Trade). Dimension: 190 x 292 x 32. Weight in Grams: 1326. . 2016. Hardcover. . . . . . Buchnummer des Verkäufers V9780224099455

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Buchbeschreibung Jonathan Cape Ltd. Buchzustand: New. Drawing on hundreds of memoirs, on unpublished letters and diaries, on the eye-witness testimonies of belted earls and unhappy heiresses and bullying butlers, this book intends to reach the people who inhabited this world. It brings the stately homes of England to life, giving readers an insight into the guilt and the gingerbread, and more. Num Pages: 416 pages. BIC Classification: 1DBKE; 3JJG; BJ; HBJD1; HBTB. Category: (G) General (US: Trade). Dimension: 190 x 292 x 32. Weight in Grams: 1326. . 2016. Hardcover. . . . . Books ship from the US and Ireland. Buchnummer des Verkäufers V9780224099455

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Buchbeschreibung Vintage Publishing, United Kingdom, 2016. Hardback. Buchzustand: New. Language: English . Brand New Book. [A] fantastically readable and endlessly fascinating book.Delicious, occasionally fantastical, revealing in ways that Downtown Abbey never was. (Rachel Cooke, Observer A Daily Telegraph Book of the Year). There is nothing quite as beautiful as an English country house in summer. And there has never been a summer quite like that Indian summer between the two world wars, a period of gentle decline in which the sun set slowly on the British Empire and the shadows lengthened on the lawns of a thousand stately homes. Real life in the country house during the 1920s and 1930s was not always so sunny. By turns opulent and ordinary, noble and vicious, its shadows were darker. In the Long Weekend, Adrian Tinniswood uncovers the truth about a world half-forgotten, draped in myth and hidden behind stiff upper lips and film-star smiles. Drawing on hundreds of memoirs, on unpublished letters and diaries, on the eye-witness testimonies of belted earls and unhappy heiresses and bullying butlers, the Long Weekend gives a voice to the people who inhabited this world.In a definitive social history which combines anecdote and narrative with scholarship, it brings the stately homes of England to life, giving readers an insight into the guilt and the gingerbread, and showing how the image of the country house was carefully protected by its occupants above and below stairs, and how the reality was so much more interesting than the dream. Buchnummer des Verkäufers AAZ9780224099455

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Buchbeschreibung Random House Children s Publishers UK, United Kingdom, 2016. Hardback. Buchzustand: New. Language: English . Brand New Book. `[A] fantastically readable and endlessly fascinating book. Delicious, occasionally fantastical, revealing in ways that Downtown Abbey never was. Rachel Cooke, Observer A Daily Telegraph Book of the Year There is nothing quite as beautiful as an English country house in summer. And there has never been a summer quite like that Indian summer between the two world wars, a period of gentle decline in which the sun set slowly on the British Empire and the shadows lengthened on the lawns of a thousand stately homes. Real life in the country house during the 1920s and 1930s was not always so sunny. By turns opulent and ordinary, noble and vicious, its shadows were darker. In The Long Weekend, Adrian Tinniswood uncovers the truth about a world half-forgotten, draped in myth and hidden behind stiff upper lips and film-star smiles. Drawing on hundreds of memoirs, on unpublished letters and diaries, on the eye-witness testimonies of belted earls and unhappy heiresses and bullying butlers, The Long Weekend gives a voice to the people who inhabited this world. In a definitive social history which combines anecdote and narrative with scholarship, it brings the stately homes of England to life, giving readers an insight into the guilt and the gingerbread, and showing how the image of the country house was carefully protected by its occupants above and below stairs, and how the reality was so much more interesting than the dream. Buchnummer des Verkäufers AAZ9780224099455

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