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Shopping, Seduction & Mr Selfridge Paperback – 20 Dec 2012


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Product details

  • Paperback: 336 pages
  • Publisher: Profile Books; Television tie-in edition edition (20 Dec 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1781250588
  • ISBN-13: 978-1781250587
  • Product Dimensions: 12.9 x 2.1 x 19.8 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (173 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 20,243 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Product Description

Review

In this energetic and wonderfully detailed biography, Lindy Woodhead ... provides an enthralling description of fashion, politics, music and dance, the arts, the sciences advertising and the use of the media, during the decades before the Second war. (Evening Standard)

A rich social history of a time of great change (Spectator Business)

A fascinating biographical, as well as sociological, study (Independent on Sunday)

Book Description

For anyone who loves to shop! The amazing true story of Harry Gordon Selfridge. Now a major ITV drama series starring Jeremy Piven, Katherine Kelly and Aisling Loftus.

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Customer Reviews

4.2 out of 5 stars

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By M. Dowden HALL OF FAMETOP 50 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on 11 Jan 2013
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
I first started off working in a department store when I left school, and also became quite interested in the history of such shops. Today they aren't as popular as they were having been superseded to a large degree by the big supermarkets, although arguably department stores still exist albeit in virtual form, this site for instance being a virtual department store.

This book isn't just a biography of Mr Selfridge, but also to some extent a history of retail. Consumerism really started to come into its own long before department stores, but by the time of the mid-nineteenth century the department store was appearing, with Paris' Bon Marche being the largest in the world for decades to come. Selfridge himself worked for Marshall Field in Chicago where he started coming up with his ideas. Although some of the ideas thought up by these stores to entice customers in, buying goods, etc., were already formed, Selfridge refined some of these, and developed his own. By the time he was having Selfridges built he had already carried out market research and was further developing his own ideas from his previous experiences.

Mr Selfridge changed the way we shop in this country, and arguably has been a massive influence on the way the world shops. In many ways he was way ahead of his time, his first food hall could be considered as the blueprint for today's quite common usage of internet food shopping. With slightly above average wages as well as staff facilities and training he was well regarded by his staff. People that went through his store and worked and trained there also became acute businessmen in later years. As for myself, where I first worked, not only did I get obviously a discount on goods, but as well as promotion I had my expenses paid for my business studies at college.
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31 of 33 people found the following review helpful By Nick R on 21 Nov 2009
Format: Hardcover
I was unsure buying the book as I was only really interested in reading about Mr Selfridge, not the rest of the retailers and atmosphere of the time. But I am amazed at the fantastic job that Ms Woodhead has done. I couldn't wait to get through the book as it is so compelling. Further, the atmosphere and world that Ms Woodhead recreates IS necessary to the book. It's a brilliant achievement that really takes you into that world. I regretted finishing the book as I enjoyed the daily reading so much, which I think is the ultmate praise for any book! I am now going to buy Ms Woodheads book about Helena Rubenstein et al. Highly recommended.
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23 of 26 people found the following review helpful By P. McGill on 10 Jan 2013
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Couldn't put this book down. So interesting to read how British retailing as we know it now, started in Edwardian London. I am sure the TV programmes will latch onto the 'sordid' parts of the tale but read this for the real story!
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19 of 22 people found the following review helpful By sanddancer on 9 Mar 2011
Format: Paperback
This is a biography of Harry Gordon Selfridge and his famous London department store. Selfridge was an American, who started his career at Marshall Field's in Chicago, "retired" at 40, then moved to London to start his own department store. He has grand plans and some of his idea revolutionised shopping - he invented the bargain basement and the whole shopping experience with art and entertainment that Selfridges does so well today, was started by him. There is a lot of interesting information in here about society in the early part of the last century, obviously about shopping habits, but also about women's place in society and the changing class system. Selfridge led a glamorous life and there is as much about his various lady friends as there is about shopping, and whilst it offers an interesting insight into the lifestyles of the rich and famous of that period, by the end of the book, I still don't feel that I know Selfridge himself that well.
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10 of 12 people found the following review helpful By Luthien Arnatuile on 19 April 2013
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
FROM MY BLOG:

Two weeks ago, it was time to say goodbyemr.selfridge to this TV-series. And as usual, I sat wondering "How much of it was true? What happened next?". According to the internet, they are filming a second series now in April, but it will be forever until that is shown here, and I wanted to know NOW, what to expect. So I was happy when I found this book in the local bookshop and of course turned to Great Britain, to get a cheaper copy of it.

I've finished it today and let's say, while the TV-series was very, very nice, beautiful clothes, beautiful looking people, catchy plot-line, little of it is TRUE facts. Yes, all the events hosted in the shop Selfridges, really was part of Harry Selfridge's sales tactics. Yes, he had energy for three people up till his 80s. Yes, he gambled heavily and yes, he was unfaithful and really loved having affairs with show girls. But as for his mistresses, they made one person of several, and gave her a new name. And they pressed almost ten years of his life and the shop's life, in to one year, on TV, I guess because they did not know if there would be another series or not? They altered the ages of his children, made his daughter come out in London instead of in the US, made his wife an artist and having a love interest, that there is no evidence of...

But the TV-series is much more than just about Mr. Selfridge and the shop. It's also very much about the people who worked there and of course that is all pure fantasy. How could anything really be known about them? They have obviously not left any record of themselves, so all that, is just to draw us back to the screen each week. It was plausible stories though, I must admit that.
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