on 25 October 2007
I don't think I enjoyed this book just because I'm genuinely a great admirer of Sir Philip Sassoon, perhaps one of Britain's most elusive yet important political, cultural and social figures of the 20th century, but because I'm fascinated at how he did it and especially how close he was to his sister Sybil, Marchioness of Cholmondeley.
This book is not very easy to read, hence the four stars, and at times it's a bit difficult to thread the journey of the Sassoons from Baghdad to London but nonetheless is worth the effort. After reading this book one understands why the much better known Rothschilds would have wanted to emulate the Sassoons.
Although a great admirer as well of the Rothschild dynasty, 'The Worlds of Philip and Sybil' provides a glimpse of the deepest possible brotherly love, but also that of two very strong personalities and is the quintessence of a biography about understated power and prestige in it's highest form.
on 26 January 2011
Considering the influence Sir Philip Sassoon had on many major events in the early part of the 20th century, very little is remembered or recorded about him until Peter Stansky wrote this fine book.
With unlimited wealth and dazzling generosity, Sassoon was popular with nearly everyone from royalty down to his constituents. Not much is revealed however about his peronal life. It is known that he was an effeminate homosexual, yet he was General Haig's personnel assistant throughout the First World War and PPS to noted heterosexual Lloyd George.
No doubt many of his diaries and private comments and thoughts have been destroyed, probably by his sister, who once vowed that she never wanted anything written about her brother. He was a tremendous gossip and I am sure that he would have had an interesting insight into many of the rich and famous of his era.
This book is a historical microcosm of the period from the early 20th century until Sassoons death in 1938.Do not miss the opportunity to read about it via the painstaking research of Peter Stansky
on 17 October 2013
This book is absolutely fascinating. The description of the brother and sister, with their untold wealth, gives a hugely interesting insight to their background and lifestyles. In spite of his wealth and cleverness a paints a picture of Philip Sassoon which leaves one feeling slightly sorry for him - as a Jew, always a slight outsider whilst Royalty and aristocracy were always prepared to enjoy his hospitality and generosity. I'm still reading it, having been away on holiday for a couple of weeks, and I'm about 3/4 of the way through it and looking forward to the remainder and commend it to anyone with an interest in 20th century social history