'[A] fantastically readable and endlessly fascinating book... Delicious, occasionally fantastical, revealing in ways that Downtown Abbey never was.' Rachel Cooke, ObserverA Daily Telegraph Book of the YearThere is nothing quite as beautiful as an English country house in summer.
' A fantastically readable and endlessly fascinating book... Delicious, occasionally fantastical, revealing in ways that Downtown Abbey never was.' Rachel Cooke, Observer
A Daily Telegraph Book of the Year
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 gentle decline in which the sun set slowly on the British Empire and the shadows lengthened on the lawns of a thousand stately homes.
Real life in the country house during the 1920s and 1930s was not always so sunny. By turns opulent and ordinary, noble and vicious, its shadows were darker. In The Long Weekend, Adrian Tinniswood uncovers the truth about a world half-forgotten, draped in myth and hidden behind stiff upper lips and film-star smiles. Drawing on hundreds of memoirs, on unpublished letters and diaries, on the eye-witness testimonies of belted earls and unhappy heiresses and bullying butlers, The Long Weekend gives a voice to the people who inhabited this world. In a definitive social history which combines anecdote and narrative with scholarship, it brings the stately homes of England to life, giving readers an insight into the guilt and the gingerbread, and showing how the image of the country house was carefully protected by its occupants above and below stairs, and how the reality was so much more interesting than the dream.
Adrian Tinniswood OBE FSA is the author of fifteen books on social and architectural history, including Behind the Throne- A Domestic History of the Royal Household; The Long Weekend- Life in the English Country House Between the Wars, a New York Timesand Sunday Times bestseller; His Invention So Fertile- A Life of Christopher Wren and The Verneys- a True Story of Love, War and Madness in Seventeenth-Century England, which was shortlisted for the BBC/Samuel Johnson Prize. He has worked with a number of heritage organisations including the Heritage Lottery Fund and the National Trust, and is currently Senior Research Fellow in History at the University of Buckingham and Visiting Fellow in Heritage and History at Bath Spa University.
A scandal-packed glimpse into the glamourous Downton Abbey-esque world of English country houses... *** Love it! [A] brilliant book about life in the English country house. -- Rachel Cooke Guardian, Book of the Year [A] compelling volume of social history. Daily Mail, Book of the Year Wittily written and beautifully illustrated, Tinniswood's book recreates a world far more peculiar, but at times rather more enviable, than any fictional version. -- David Horspool Guardian, Book of the Year A detailed and appreciated look at the phenomenon [of country houses]... Tinniswood writes elegantly, in complete charge of his material. The book is a joy to hold in your hand. Spears Wealth Management Survey Tinniswood paints a vivid portrait of the period -- Jonathan Wright Catholic Herald This is a lively and hugely entertaining history... It's packed with very funny anecdotes... A delight. Mail on Sunday [It] 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 complete command of the material. London Review of Books Tinniswood uses lively local detail. -- Lindsay Duguid Times Literary Supplement Beautifully illustrated... [It] overflows with entertaining detail. -- Robbie Millen The Times [A} fascinating text... The book is a great read and a window on a lost world. -- Alan Titchmarsh Sunday Telegraph The rise, fall and transformation of English country houses between the two world wars...has seldom sounded so interesting. Meticulously researched. Choice Magazine [It] promises rich tales of decadence, scandal and extravagant water features. -- Francesca Wade Times Literary Supplement [A] Detailed and fascinating study. Western Morning News Enchanting. However, while poignant, it's also not without its robust historical points... Beautifully written. -- Hallie Rubenhold BBC History Magazine Brimming with both architectural detail and social insight... [A] highly enjoyable book... 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...demands. -- Giles Waterfield Country Life [It] provides rich detail from all corners, uncovering plenty of angst, but also much optimism. The Economist A splendidly enjoyable summer-weekend read. -- Timothy Brittain-Catlin Tablet A definitive social history that combines anecdote and narrative with scholarship. Daily Telegraph Immaculately produced... Tinniswood is a wonderfully clear writer, lively and curious, and with a jaunty point of view. -- Craig Brown Mail on Sunday A perfect piece of escapism...but also intelligent and scholarly social history. Guardian Almost indecently enjoyable... Splendidly contrary book... [Tinniswood has a] sharp pen and a squirrel's eye for detail... Erudite, funny and oddly poignant. -- Miranda Seymour Literary Review 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-notch plumbing. -- Lucy Lethbridge Financial Times This delicious book achieves completely what it sets out to do. -- Marcus Berkmann Daily Mail [A] deliciously jaunty and wonderfully knowledgeable book... Tinniswood displays a terrific insider's grasp of gossip, while cramming his text with the stories of sport, sex, food, royalty, design, ruination and joy that defined these mansions... Meticulous, irresistible story. -- Juliet Nicolson Spectator Many of Tinniswood's anecdotes are extraordinary... Painstakingly researched detail that makes The Long Weekend so entertaining... A rich, multilayered and well-illustrated account of a style of live that disappeared with the Second World War. Lovers of...Brideshead Revisited will relish it. -- Charlotte Heathcote Sunday Express [A] masterpiece of social history. -- Roger Lewis Daily Mail Wonderfully opulent, richly textured... The opening chapters of The Long Weekend paint an evocative picture... In telling us how the English country house changed, he is, of course, telling us how England changed too. -- Xan Brooks Sunday Telegraph 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 Tinniswood and his publishers should be congratulated for issuing this elegant, encyclopedic and entertaining history... We are in the company of a confident and skilled historian who understands the mores of his era and wears his learning lightly... This is a handsomely illustrated pick'n'mix of mansions, manors, castles and palaces.... Tinniswood expands our Sunday evening viewing with the kind of detail you can't invent... Deserves to be on every costume drama producer's bookshelf. -- Virginia Nicholson The Times [A] fantastically readable and endlessly fascinating book... Delicious, occasionally fantastical, revealing in ways that Downton Abbey never was. It is as if Tinniswood is at the biggest, wildest, most luxuriantly decadent party ever thrown, and he knows everyone. -- Rachel Cooke Observer *