English Affair by Richard Davenport-Hines

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Kate Saunders' writing has left a lasting impression on me and makes me see writing about time-travelling in a whole new league.
-Guardian

Synopsis

WINNER OF THE POLITICAL BOOK AWARDS POLITICAL HISTORY BOOK OF THE YEAR 2014.

Published to coincide with the fiftieth anniversary of the Profumo scandal, An English Affair is a sharp-focused snapshot of a nation on the brink of social revolution.

Britain in 1963 – Harold Macmillan was the Prime Minister of a Conservative government, dedicated to tradition, hierarchy and, above all, old-fashioned morality. But a breakdown of social boundaries saw nightclub hostesses mixing with aristocrats, and middle-class professionals dabbling in criminality. Meanwhile, Cold War paranoia gripped the public imagination.

The Profumo Affair was a perfect storm, and when it broke it rocked the Establishment. In ‘An English Affair’, the author of the critically-acclaimed ‘Titainic Lives’ Richard Davenport-Hines brings Swinging London to life. The cast of players includes the familiar – louche doctor Stephen Ward, good-time girls Christine Keeler and Mandy Rice-Davies, and Secretary for War John Profumo himself. But we also encounter the tabloid hacks, property developers and hangers-on whose roles have, until now, never been fully revealed.

Sex, drugs, class, race, chequebook journalism and the criminal underworld – the Profumo Affair had it all. This is the story of how Sixties England cast off respectability and fell in love with scandal.

 

About Richard Davenport-Hines

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Richard Davenport-Hines won the Wolfson Prize for History for his first book, 'Dudley Docker'. He is an adviser to the 'Oxford Dictionary of National Biography' and has also written biographies of W.H. Auden and Marcel Proust. His most recent book, 'Titanic Lives' was published in 2012. A Fellow of the Royal Historical Society and the Royal Society of Literature, he reviews for the Sunday Telegraph, the Sunday Times and the Times Literary Supplement.
 
Published December 17, 2012 by HarperPress. 416 pages
Genres: Biographies & Memoirs, History, Travel, Political & Social Sciences. Non-fiction
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Critic reviews for English Affair
All: 4 | Positive: 4 | Negative: 0

Guardian

Good
Reviewed by John Kampfner on Jan 13 2013

Published to coincide with the 50th anniversary of the affair to beat all affairs, Richard Davenport-Hines's book on the scandal is a masterful depiction of everything that was wrong with the 1950s and early 1960s.

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Guardian

Good
Reviewed by Blake Morrison on Jan 03 2013

Kate Saunders' writing has left a lasting impression on me and makes me see writing about time-travelling in a whole new league.

Read Full Review of English Affair | See more reviews from Guardian

WSJ online

Good
Reviewed by William Anthony Hay on Aug 30 2013

In "An English Affair," a superb account of the entire episode, Richard Davenport-Hines places the Profumo scandal within the context of postwar British society, outlining what he calls a "modernization crisis."

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Washington Times

Good
Reviewed by Martin Rubin on Dec 26 2013

It brilliantly examines 1963 Britain, its economics as well as its sociology, with uncommon acumen and wisdom.

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