Them and Us: The American Invasion of British High Society Hardcover – 15 Jul 2007
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'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.
Top Customer Reviews
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?
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.