“Terrific social history. A snapshot of a world on the brink of catastrophe.”see full review » see other reviews »
“A marvellous and personal commentary on a society, unknowingly in it's death throes.”Andrew Cooper wrote this review Wednesday, April 3, 2013. ( reply | permalink ) Was this review helpful? Yes | No
“Good perspective on life at the advent of George V's reign. Provides nearly a week by week narrative of the events from May - Sep of 1911 covering political, social, international, and cultural affairs through the period.”D. Cameron A. Moore wrote this review Friday, March 22, 2013. ( reply | permalink ) Was this review helpful? Yes | No
“Terrific social history. A snapshot of a world on the brink of catastrophe.”Forrest Link wrote this review Thursday, February 21, 2013. ( reply | permalink ) Was this review helpful? Yes | No
“I love books about individual years. This was a good one, but I wish the coverage had been a little broader. I found myself wondering what people like G.B. Shaw and H.G. Wells were doing, but they aren't mentioned. ”Perry Willis wrote this review Sunday, May 1, 2011. ( reply | permalink ) Was this review helpful? Yes | No
“The grand-daughter of Vita Sackville-West and Harold Nicholson, perhaps beckoned by ancestral voices, writes a portrait of England in one "perfect summer", year 1911, when Great Britain "danced on the edge of an abyss" and, to quote Osbert Sitwell, "Music flowed with the lightness and flash of water under the striped awnings and from those balconies; while beyond the open illuminated windows in those rooms, the young men about to be slaughtered, feasted, unconscious of all but the moment."
Along the way we are met with a unrelenting ticker-tape crawl of headline news items, downstairs and upstairs gossip, and a dazzling parade of "characters" -- nobility, politicians, socialites, suffragettes, unionists, servants, actresses, poets, painters and factory workers. At times, one's eyes tend to glaze over at the promiscuity of image and detail and the lack of a real arc -- it's necessarily more of an X-Ray than a history -- but the portrait of the Edwardian-Georgian age that emerges is fascinating. Reading the book is rather like reading Ravel's "La Valse" put to prose. ”
“2007...library”Care B wrote this review Sunday, January 2, 2011. ( reply | permalink ) Was this review helpful? Yes | No
“This is nonfiction, but reads like a good novel (as in EM Forster). Fascinating and detailed account of one of the hottest summers, in all senses, in English history. 1911 marks the end of the Victorian era and the beginning of the Edwardian. Nicholson takes us to the coronation, to fabulous country manor "Sunday to Monday" parties, into Parliament, to the ballet where the incredible Ballet Russe and Nijinsky are wowing the theatre crowd; by July, however, change is afoot "below stairs" and out on the docks where the vast gulf between the privileged and poor is inciting labor revolts; meanwhile, Germany is "roughing up" North Africa.
Nicholson is a very good writer...and comes to the subject matter naturally, as the granddaughter of Vita Sackville-West, famously the lover of Virginia Woolf and a poet and novelist in her own right.
The book is delicious: everyone who was "anyone" in England in 1911--poets, artists, bohemians, politicians, royalty, and butlers, is there and Nicholson breathes life into historic Icons we already know as stereotypes.
Not my usual fare (historic "fiction") but an excellent read. ”
“A thorough, detailed, and engaging look at a vanished era.”Yvonne Z wrote this review Saturday, March 13, 2010. ( reply | permalink ) Was this review helpful? Yes | No
“This look at England's summer of 1911 is a delightful slice of history. ”Marjorie Kehe wrote this review Monday, March 1, 2010. ( reply | permalink ) Was this review helpful? Yes | No