*A Daily Telegraph Book of the Year 2021*
'Preposterously entertaining' Observer
'Brilliant' Daily Telegraph
'Rollicking' Sunday Times
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.
The House Party explores privilege and leisure from the viewpoint of the guest and the host, showing us what it was really like to spend a weekend with the Jazz Age industrialist, the bibulous belted earl, and the bright young thing.
The Rainborowes bridges two generations and two worlds, weaving together the lives of the Rainborowe clan as they struggle to forge a better life for themselves and a better future for humankind in the New World.
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 soirees, 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.
Behind the Throne uncovers the reality of five centuries of life at the English court, taking the reader on a remarkable journey from one Queen Elizabeth to another and exploring life as it was lived by clerks and courtiers and clowns and crowned heads: the power struggles and petty rivalries, the tension between duty and desire;
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 decline in which the sun set slowly on the British Empire and the shadows lengthened on the lawns of a thousand stately homes. The author uncovers the truth about them.
Shortlisted for the Samuel Johnson Prize.
In this extraordinary saga, Adrian Tinniswood draws on tens of thousands of letters, which survived by chance in an attic, to reveal the remarkable world of the Verneys, a family of Buckinghamshire gentry in the seventeenth century.
There had, of course, been other fires, Four Hundred and fifty years before, the city had almost burned to the ground. In five days that small fire would devastate the third largest city in the Western world.
Adrian Tinniswood's magnificent new account of the Great Fire of London explores the history of a cataclysm and its consequences.
it brings to life the petty jealousies that formed an integral part of both the building world and scientific milieu of the Royal Society.
Above all, His Invention So Fertile makes clear to the general reader and the art historian just why Wren remains a cultural icon - both a creation and a creator of the world he lived in.
Drawing on material, from furious royal proclamations to the private letters of pirates and their victims, as well as Islamic accounts, this title provides perspectives of the corsairs and an insight into what it meant to sacrifice all you have for a life so violent, so uncertain and so alien that it sets you apart from the rest of mankind.