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The Long Weekend

Nonfiction / History / Europe / Great Britain / General

Date de parution: May 3rd 2016

The Long Weekend

Life in the English Country House, 1918-1939

From an acclaimed social and architectural historian, the tumultuous, scandalous, glitzy, and glamorous history of English country houses and high society during the interwar period

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 glamorous 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 soiré, 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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Regular Price $32.00

Regular Price $40.00 CAD

Page Count: 344

ISBN-13: 9780465048984

What's Inside

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"[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."—Library Journal
"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."—Publishers Weekly
"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."—Booklist
"Beguiling.... Stuffed with eye-catching detail and apt quotations."—Wall Street Journal
"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."—Financial Times
"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 Economist
"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 Guardian (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."—The London Review of Books (UK)
"[A] masterpiece of social history."—The Daily Mail (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."—Richard Davenport-Hines, Sunday Times (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."—Sunday Telegraph (UK)
"Tinniswood's book is erudite, funny, and oddly poignant."—Literary Review (UK)
"[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."—Country Life (UK) Book of the Week
"[A] richly researched story about the rise and fall and transformation of country-house living.... An enjoyable tour with a genial, informed, devoted docent."—Kirkus
"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."—Washington Times
"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 Times (UK), Book of the Week
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