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The Verneys: A True Story of Love, War and Madness in Seventeenth-century England Hardcover – 1 Mar 2007


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Product details

  • Hardcover: 592 pages
  • Publisher: Jonathan Cape Ltd; 2007 First Edition edition (1 Mar. 2007)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0224072552
  • ISBN-13: 978-0224072557
  • Product Dimensions: 16.4 x 4.4 x 24.1 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (8 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 329,503 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Product Description

Review

`an admirable work of scholarship, written with verve, style and
imagination' -- Spectator, Review by Jonathan Sumption

`The rich and vivid characters of the Verneys make history not only
painless but positively pleasurable. This is a welcome return to exactly
the kind of history that has always captivated the general reader' -- Dian Purkiss, The Independent

`a compelling drama of marriage, death, madness, adventure and travel' -- The Sunday Times, Stella Tillyard

'By far the most historically assured, best told, and most
entertaining telling of the Verney saga.' -- Sunday Telegraph

'Enormous flair and skill Mr Tinniswood uses...full of spectacular
rows and tearful makings-up' -- The Economist

'Enthralling... [Tinniswood] writes with an ease, a sympathy, a
simplicity...that makes this book extraordinary' -- The Telegraph

'It combines scholarly enterprise and precision with the power of
imaginative re-creation' -- Literary Review

'This book hums with Tinniswood's infectious enthusiasm.'
-- Independent on Sunday

'Tinniswood gives a pungent sense of the wrangling and entangling of 17th-century life'
-- The Guardian

Book of the Week -- The Week

Book Description

The extraordinary story of one English family in the seventeenth century: narrative social history at its best.

Shortlisted for the Samuel Johnson Prize.

--This text refers to the Paperback edition.

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33 of 33 people found the following review helpful By S. Barnes on 14 April 2008
Format: Paperback
This is history at its best - it's readable, compelling and thoroughly enjoyable. Tinniswood's book achieves many goals in one - a fascinating social history, meticulous biography, powerful family saga, and not least it is a really good and engaging read.

The tale begins with Sir Francis Verney who ran away from his teenage wife in 1608, sold off much of the Verney property, converted to Islam and became one of the most feared pirates on the Barbary Coast. Carry on to read about Bess, who ran off with a clergyman; Cary, a heavy gambler, and Henry who was obsessed with horse racing; not to mention those involved in the English Civil War; Mall, who became pregnant out of marriage, or one of the later relatives who was hanged at Tyburn. A really good and compelling portrait of seventeenth-century England, and especially the Verney family. The history is based predominantly on the extensive records of the Verneys, particularly hundreds of letters kept by Sir Ralph Verney (1613-96) who presided over Claydon House in Buckinghamshire for over 50 years.
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30 of 30 people found the following review helpful By Factotum on 29 Oct. 2007
Format: Hardcover
Adrian has taken the collected letters of the Verneys and turned them into a fascinating story of life in the Civil War and Restoration. The Verney family characters are all uniquely human with frailties and aspirations that are recognisable today, especially in how Sir Ralph Verney tries to maintain the family fortunes, have his sons shoulder responsibilities and marry well with large dowries. The women are not in the background and show how they rebel to the strictures placed on them by society.

Adrian's own views stay in the background except for some, for him, shocking revelations as to personal conduct. Its a surprisingly readable page turning insight into how an aristocratic family copes with being torn apart by the Civil War, with parallel in today's world
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12 of 13 people found the following review helpful By Mrs J on 26 Nov. 2008
Format: Paperback
I've just finished this book and found it hard to put down. The 17th Century was a time of massive change in England and for that reason alone, this book is fascinating. However, if you take the history away, this is a story of the lives, loves, triumphs and tragedies of a family. It reads like a soap opera with happy marriage, unhappy marriage,struggling to make ends meet, domestic violence, alcohol abuse, criminality, birth, premature death, love, laughter and grief.
If you liked "By the Sword Divided" ( If you're old enough to remember!) then I heartily recommend this book to you.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By M. Baerends on 4 Nov. 2013
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
'The Verneys' is based on a huge collection of letters kept by two generations of Verneys (a Buckinghamshire noble family) that was rediscovered in the 19th century. The book follows three generations of Verneys, including a renegade pirate ending up on the Barbary coast, a courtier of James I & Charles I who was killed at the battle of Edgehill, his son who struggled to keep the family going in the turbulent times of civil war and restoration and finally his sons, one of whom became a trader operating out of Aleppo. Tinniswood's writing is great - he knows what he is talking about and inserts some humor wherever possible. All in all a very fascinating look into the seventeenth century.
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