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4.4 out of 5 stars
42
4.4 out of 5 stars
Sissinghurst: An Unfinished History
Format: Paperback|Change
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on 20 May 2017
Very good-bye cause it provides a very readable insight into the real Sissinghurst by a man who has the real Sissinghurst at heart
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on 6 July 2013
After watching the TV series I bought this book to find out what problems Adam and Sarah faced bringing their new ideas to Sissinghurst thinking the TV series showed them in a bad light! I as glad to read the parts that refered to this but thought that the rest of the book did 'go on a bit'!
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on 28 July 2017
Arrived promptly and as described.
I am very pleased with it.
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on 30 October 2017
very interesting
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on 6 January 2010
Not what I was expecting... I thought there would be more in depth information about Sissinghurst....its history.Majority of the book focused on the authors intentions for the future of the property.A good read but for me spoilt by the lack of balance between past and future.
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VINE VOICEon 27 December 2008
I own every book Adam Nicolson has written. He writes beautiful prose and he writes with great sincerity and feeling. This was another book in the same glorious tradition and immensely enjoyable. Precious few authors can write as well as this
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on 24 May 2015
Well packed and safely received. Wa'nted to read Adam Nicolson's book as the TV programme in relation to the National Trust did not give him good press and I was sure that there was another side to the story.
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on 2 August 2016
This well written and easy to read book, successfully interweaves a number of different stories into a really coherent account of Sissinghurst in Kent. The unfolding history of the Kent weald and the manor of Sissinghurst is beautifully explained and made real - by the inclusion of some brilliant description of place and the use of a vast amount of relevant and diligent historical research. How it went through several families, became a type of poor house farm and prison for foreign soldiers and was neglected. In the 1930s it came into the possession of his grandparents the 'odd couple' Vita Sackville West and Harold Nicolson. Then superimposed on this is the interplay of the relationship between him (what the National Trust euphemistically calls 'the donor family') and the National Trust (NT) itself. Then the thread that links it all the author's vision to transfer Sissinghurst into living enriching place, rather than a stale museum of the past. Anyone who has ever visited a NT property knows that the NT preserve buildings magnificently, but frequently allow everything else to wither. We have all experienced that flatness, the uniformity and depersonalisation of visiting an NT property. This lack of emotional connectedness and how properties communicate their sense of the place, time and person is the story here and all-in-all its a gripping story - very well told.

I particularly liked the description of the tension between the NT as a national corporate heritage entity and 'the donor family'. It is a symbiotic relationship - the donor family, like many others, find themselves required by the Government to 'hand-over' their properties in order to pay punitive wealth distribution inheritance taxes or (lets be honest) face prison. To call them 'donor families' is like calling us all tax donors! However the NT realises that a stately home pulls in the punters better than a stately house - hence it 'allows' the family to live-in. This creates real human tension; as the family with the historical emotional investment have 'no-say' in anything and the paid employees 'resent' 'the cuckoo in the nest'. This government sponsored removal of property and the placing of families in this twilight zone of belonging, but not belonging is described carefully, neutrally and without bitterness. A very thought provoking book which hopefully will be required reading for senior officers of the NT.

There were some excellent pictures in the book. The style was easy to read and the language was precise and well chosen. The only draw back and its nit picking - is that the opening of the book where he describes the Kent country, while setting the scene, is meandering and in my opinion over-long and takes some effort to get into. If the NT uses this book as a blue-print it could breath new life into "the visitor experience".
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on 12 July 2017
Due to be read soon!
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on 1 April 2017
Very good condition
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