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Servants: A Downstairs View of Twentieth-century Britain Hardcover – 14 Mar 2013

4.2 out of 5 stars 71 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Hardcover: 400 pages
  • Publisher: Bloomsbury Publishing (14 Mar. 2013)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0747590176
  • ISBN-13: 978-0747590170
  • Product Dimensions: 16.2 x 3.7 x 23.7 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars 71 customer reviews
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 538,542 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Review

Enthusiasts of bonnets and waistcoats will find Upstairs Downstairs or Downton Abbey all the more enjoyable after reading this nuanced and elegantly written account of the wider context. And in tracing the history of servants throughout the whole of the 20th century, Lethbridge offers a new vantage point from which to reassess British social history (Lara Feigel, Observer)

Humane, perceptive and dispassionate, Servants takes us more deeply and comprehensively than any previous account into the real world of Upstairs Downstairs (David Kynaston)

Beautifully written, sparkling with insight, and a pleasure to read, Servants is social history at its most humane and perceptive. In broad terms the world Lethbridge describes is a familiar one, but she nails it all down with the kind of detail that still has the power to astonish, outrage or amuse (Times Literary Supplement)

Glorious ... Servants is full of eyebrow-raising and laughter-inducing vignettes. But what is most fascinating is Lethbridge's account of the dark side of the master-servant relationship **** (Daily Telegraph)

What Downtown Abbey will never touch on ... In this excellent addition to the history of domestic service in the 20th century, Lucy Lethbridge has swept the existing archive and added new sources of her own. The result is a richly textured account of what it felt like to spend the decades of high modernity on your knees with a dustpan and brush ... Hugely enjoyable ... Where Servants excels is in describing those placed where the older paradigms of domestic service, inherited from the late 19th century, began to break down ... Always pleasurable prose (Guardian)

Scholarly, thorough and vastly entertaining ... Her style is elegant, detached and slyly witty and her canvas sprawling and immense (Financial Times)

Absorbing ... Lucy Lethbridge finds a great deal to write about, all of it fascinating ... Lethbridge enables us to hear the voices of her subjects; she skilfully interweaves written and oral testimony ... This book is empathetic, wide-ranging and well-written: it will enthral many readers (Spectator)

Engrossing ... Devotees of Downton Abbey will recognise the territory of the opening chapters ... Lethbridge vividly describes how this world was forced to adapt itself to the new economic realities brought by war (Sunday Telegraph)

Enlightening and elegantly written social history (Joy Lo Dico, Independent on Sunday)

An illuminating look at the privations of life below stairs (The Mail on Sunday)

Book Description

An original, authoritative look at the social history of the twentieth century, brilliantly retold through the eyes of the household servants

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