“A ridiculously diverting glimpse of downstairs life in Edwardian England. . . . Most gratifying.”—Laura Miller, Salon
Spanning over a hundred years, Lucy Lethbridge?in this "best type of history" (Literary Review)?brings to life through letters and diaries the voices of countless men and women who have been largely ignored by the historical record. She also interviews former and current servants for their recollections of this waning profession.
At the fore are the experiences of young girls who slept in damp corners of basements, kitchen maids who were required to stir eggs until the yolks were perfectly centered, and cleaners who had to scrub floors on their hands and knees despite the wide availability of vacuum cleaners. We also meet a lord who solved his inability to open a window by throwing a brick through it and Winston Churchill’s butler who did not think Churchill would know how to dress on his own.
A compassionate and discerning exploration of the complex relationship between the server, the served, and the world they lived in, Servants opens a window onto British society from the Edwardian period to the present.
About Lucy LethbridgeSee more books from this Author
Lethbridge, who has written for numerous British publications, draws on literature, not for evidence of how servants really lived but for clues to their masters’ attitudes toward them. She also trawls servants’ own memoirs for vivid (sometimes catty) accounts...Read Full Review of Servants | See more reviews from NY Times
In this excellent addition to the history of domestic service in the 20th century, Lucy Lethbridge has swept the existing archive and added new sources of her own. The result is a richly textured account of what it felt like to...Read Full Review of Servants | See more reviews from Guardian
The great men who shaped 20th-century Britain were able to do so because ordinary life was taken care of by servants. And, as Lucy Lethbridge reveals in her fascinating history of domestic service, this was true even for socialist radicals.Read Full Review of Servants | See more reviews from Guardian
...they felt constrained by their position from doing much more than sing rudely over the washing-up. In telling their story so fully and humanely, Ms Lethbridge manages to suggest what the words to that song might have been.Read Full Review of Servants | See more reviews from The Economist
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