An English Affair: Sex, Class and Power in the Age of Profumo (Anglais) Relié – 3 janvier 2013
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Descriptions du produit
Présentation de l'éditeur
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.--Ce texte fait référence à l'édition Broché .
Biographie de l'auteur
Richard Davenport-Hines is a historian and biographer. Among his many books are biographies of W. H. Auden and Marcel Proust, and the recent, highly acclaimed, Titanic Lives. A fellow of the Royal Historical Society and the Royal Society of Literature, he reviews regularly for the Sunday Telegraph, the Sunday Times and the Times Literary Supplement.--Ce texte fait référence à l'édition Broché .
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Here, then, we are introduced to the people behind the names. John Profumo, the War Minister, who was married to film star Valerie Hobson. From the outside viewed as a golden couple, it was plain that Profumo had a roving eye from the earliest days of his marriage. Indeed, almost everyone we meet is affected by marital problems. From PM Harold Macmillan, whose wife Dorothy famously had a long running affair with Bob Boothby, to Bill Astor, who was on his third marriage by the time of the scandal which rocked London. The author cleverly unveils his cast, including osteopath Stephen Ward, whose list of rich and eminent patients included Churchill, Eden, Elizabeth Taylor, Frank Sinatra and Paul Getty, to Yevgeny Ivanov, whom he was introduced to at the Garrick Club, the 'Good Time Girls' Christine Keeler and Mandy Rice-Davies, the new generation of property developers such as Charles Clore and Perec Rachman, the 'Hacks' and the 'Spies'. He intertwines these cast of characters, showing how the morals of the day affected events. Indeed, the subtitle "Sex, Class and Power in the Age of Profumo" is an excellent one - as we are taken on fascinating digressions, from newspaper articles (serious then, hilarious now!) on how women should go about achieving marriage to attitudes on women automatically giving up, sometimes excellent careers, for the often tedious 'trap' that marriage and motherhood could become. This scene setting is important - not until you read how a jury (all male) at the time saw the brutal murder of a young wife who 'belittled' him, can you truly understand the way women were viewed at this time.
Having brilliantly set his scene, the author then takes us through the actual 'Drama' of what happened, the scandal and the aftermath. Macmillan's secretary thought the 'Profumo Affair' did the PM more harm than anything in the whole of his administration. In a country which was heavily divided, where women were viewed as seducers and men unable to resist their charms, scandal broke. It is hard to overestimate how much the scandal affected everyone involved, as the press had a field day and people pored over the salicious details which greeted them every day in the newspapers. This is an excellent account of a time and a event which is still in the public consciousness. Who doesn't know the names of Profumo and Keeler and have some image of who, and what, they were? Well, this book may change your views, but I doubt you will find a better account of what happened anywhere. Thoroughly enjoyable, highly readable and well researched, this would make a fantastic book group read, with much to discuss and I recommend it highly. Lastly, I read the kindle version of this book and the illustrations were included.
One of the book's strengths (which some may consider a weakness) is that the author expresses strong opinions about key individuals, mostly condemnatory, and he does so bluntly -- but he also supports his judgments with facts and persuasive argument. This isn't quite what one would expect in most histories, but in this sometimes unclearly organized volume it is one of the things that makes it most memorable.
To me, the most powerful Profumo-related work remains David Profumo's "Bringing the House Down." These two works hardly overlap, and the novelist's prose (i.e., David Profumo's) is better than the journalist's. But each enhances the other.