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Fathers and Sons Paperback – 5 Sep 2005

6 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Paperback: 480 pages
  • Publisher: Headline Review; New Ed edition (5 Sept. 2005)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0755312554
  • ISBN-13: 978-0755312559
  • Product Dimensions: 13.1 x 3.2 x 19.8 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 3.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (6 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 577,911 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Product Description

Review

'An honest and entertaining account' (Independent)

'His account is intimate and heartfelt but unsentimentally told and with a wit and verve that his father could be proud of' (Independent on Sunday)

Honest and entertaining account (Independent)

'Barbed editorialising that brings to mind his illustrious forebears... substantial insight' (Sunday Herald)

'hilarious and moving family memoir' (Sunday Telegraph)

'barbed editorialising that brings to mind his illustrious forebears ....substantial insight' (Sunday Herald)

Book Description

Alexander Waugh's remarkable account of his family's turbulent history will fascinate anyone interested in the Waughs or in understanding the most important of male relationships

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Customer Reviews

3.8 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

38 of 47 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on 13 Sept. 2004
Format: Hardcover
Evelyn Waugh is of course the hook that will draw readers into this exceptional 'Autobiography of a Family'. It would be a mistake, though, to assume that his overtowering genius dwarves the rest of the book. Beginning with Evelyn's grandfather 'The Brute' (who crushed a wasp on his wife's forehead with his whip, and made his son Arthur kiss a guncase in an effort to kindle a passion for shooting), and finishing with a letter from the author to his own son Bron, this book is totally engrossing. Alexander Waugh is the son of another Bron, the great and good, who will long be remembered for his journalism. Alexander shows in this book the same light touch, disguising deep research, that was displayed in his biography of God and 'Time'. He too is a talent to be reckoned with. This book is funny, erudite, and oddly moving - this may be an extraordinary family in terms of literary output (Arthur Waugh's descendants have published a staggering 180 books between them) but it is above all a family. Alexander Waugh shows a deep affection for his eccentric family, without ever appearing adulatory or incapable of observing faults as well as virtues.
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful By P. Mattirolo on 20 Jun. 2010
Format: Paperback
To a non English public, the renown of the Waugh name is strictly confined to Evelyn. This book by Evelyn's grandson Alexander revealed to me a much richer picture and inheritance. Along with some very difficult family relationships handed down from father to son. A masterpiece in its kind is the author's capability of seamlessly blending each biography into the other ones, never for a moment causing the reader any confusion. Equally admirable is the author's restraint in relating personal details and impressions. Although the family's showpiece must necessarily be Evelyn, this book is not centred on his personality, but could be rather relabeled as Bron's revenge, thanks to the very sympathetic image that Alexander depicts of his own father, who managed to reverse an evil line of father-son relationships.

No doubt than the gift for writing still runs in the Waugh blood: a tradition well worth preserving.

A very enjoyable reading.
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7 of 10 people found the following review helpful By Bernard Davis on 14 Sept. 2007
Format: Paperback
Well, it's a bit of a laugh isn't it? This romp through five generations of Waughs: mad dog 'The Brute' Alexander, sad dog Arthur, young dogs Alex and Evelyn and the ever barking Auberon, till we come to the suspiciously sane present dog in the manger Alexander. Mind you, who am I to accuse a man who has named his son Auberon Augustus Ichabod Waugh of sanity?

The concept is a good one, there are precious few books on the relationships between fathers and sons, and I doubt it any others on those relationships over five generations of one family. And what material the dogs of Waugh provide. Almost half the book is devoted to the three way relationship between Arthur and his two sons Alex and Evelyn. This in itself is a worthy study, but Arthur and Alex seem to have been allotted their roles in order to prepare the stage for the main star Evelyn Waugh. The top dog is always good copy, but the time he is given centre stage does skew the book.

Our author Alexander is an amusing and illuminating writer, as long as he has some distance from his subject matter. Sadly, after making free with the many indiscretions of previous generations there is a sound of hatches being battened down and closet doors being doubly locked as the book reaches his father Auberon and his own place in the story. He only resumes embarrassing people with his letter to his own son at the end of the book.

This is clear, the Waughs are not a family for half measures, being equally generous with their loyalty and their hatred. Witness the hatred of the unfortunate C.R.M.F. Cruttwell, despised tutor to Evelyn at Oxford. This has been passed, baton-like down the generations to Auberon and Alexander.
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