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Them and Us: The American Invasion of British High Society Hardcover – 15 Jul 2007

5.0 out of 5 stars 5 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Hardcover: 320 pages
  • Publisher: The History Press Ltd; First Edition edition (15 July 2007)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0750943564
  • ISBN-13: 978-0750943567
  • Product Dimensions: 16.3 x 3.3 x 23.9 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (5 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 717,479 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description

Review

'he writes with gleeful banter, a sure grasp of the style which enlightens a subject...and a sense of historical truth tinged with fun' -- The Spectator, Brian Masters, September 8 2007

'my copy of Them and Us is flagged with far more wonderful passages than this review can accomodate...Jennings draws on sources such as Evelyn Waugh and Edith Wharton; his prose often rises to the wit of the former and the elegance of the latter' -- Financial Times, Lionel Shriver, September 1 2007

'what impresses is the research, with a number of good primary sources and a lengthy, well-used bibliography, used tellingly'
-- The Daily Mail, Anne de Courcy, August 10 2007

About the Author

Charles Jennings is a writer and journalist. His previous books include The Fast Set, Up North, People Like Us, Fathers' Race, Greenwich and Faintheart. His features have been published in the Telegraph, the Sunday Times magazine, The Times, the Observer and others. He is married with two children and lives in London.

Customer Reviews

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Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover
I liked this book. It took a very tart look at the English aristocracy and an equally unforgiving view of those american arrivistes ready to sell their daughters into the peerage. The humour is nice and dry.

At the same time there are some tender and shocking insights into women such as Consuelo Vanderbilt, Duchess of Marlborough who otherwise have very little reality behind their dreamy photographs. Wallis Simpson emerges surprisingly as a real woman, out of her depth. The Prince of Wales is beyond belief.

I became more and more bound up in these improbable people as I read on.
What did all that wealth and privilege amount to?
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Format: Hardcover
In Them and Us Charles Jennings turns his acerbic eye to the English upper classes in the early 20th century, as refracted through the 'invasion' of Americans who came to dominate high society in London between the wars.

In his last book, The Fast Set, Charles Jennings analysed and dissected the ambitions of a few extremely rich men whose sole purpose in life was to go very fast in a straight line, the author's joy at his subjects' unconscious absurdity seeping between the lines like excess engine oil. In Them and Us, Jennings again zeroes in on a cast of richly bizarre - and bizarrely rich - eccentrics whose behaviour inspires mystic wonder. Characters like the scandalizing 8th Duke of Marlborough, the obsessional William Waldorf Astor, the pointedly shameless Emerald Cunard, the utterly sinful Duke of Manchester, the doomed Edward VIII - all jostling for position from 1875 to 1936.

Such a parade of exotics gives Jennings ample room to relax into his style, wherein historical analysis is presented with a deceptively assured wit. Charles Jennings is possibly the best kept secret in British non-fiction: AJP Taylor genetically spliced with Peter Cook. Recommended.
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By S Riaz HALL OF FAMETOP 50 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on 12 Aug. 2010
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Reading this book you feel slightly disullusioned by both sides. The American's craved a title. The British wanted money, pure and simple. Money to fund their lifestyles and crumbling estates. The whole thing comes across as a little sordid, but it makes a good story. The 'trade' began in the 1880's, when the Vanderbilts offered money to restore crumbling houses for a title. It has to be said that neither side seemed to gain happiness from the exchange. The book ends with the abdication crisis and the dreadful Wallace Simpson (and the equally awful Prince of Wales). Totally fascinating, well written and I enjoyed the book a lot.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Charles Jennings writes the history of Anglo-American unions with wit and wisdom, sometimes with tongue in cheek. This is by all means a highly entertaining as well as educating book about old world views and new world dreams. To say both sides got what they deserved would make it too easy, on the other hand it remains a fact. Money was needed, titles were craved - in between fell - most of the times the unhappiness of the American brides, sometimes the stellar rise of one or another. Jennie Churchill, Consuelo Marlborough and last but not least Wallis Simpson come to life in this book. High praise for the author and many thanks for such a delightful read.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Well researched
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