Top positive review
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Glorious evocation of the decline and fall of Britain and its Empire
on 14 February 2010
A huge saga (in three parts) of the life and times of a Victorian Squire, who purchases a run down estate in a valley on the Devon coast, just after the Boer War, relating the history of Britain through the two devastating World Wars up to the middle of the 1960's.
Seen through the eyes of the Squire, his wife and large family and the various locals - farmers, poachers, vicars and assorted country folk - the saga is a potted history of the changes to Britain through the 20th century.
I found this book on the bookshelf of my late Grandmother, who was born in 1900 - and having now finished the book, I can see why she owned it - it is the history of her lifetime (she died in the 1980's) - and would have been very nostalgic for her.
Huge changes over that period - from an essentially feudal start, with forelock-tugging locals, and a hunting Parson, to the aftermath of the Second World War, when the "spivs" and developers took over the council planning departments and laid waste to huge tracts of England in their pursuit of profit.
At times heartbreaking - many sad deaths of various members of the family - and at times a bucolic reverie of "Olde England", with its timeless fields, summer cloudy skies, and the slow pace of country life and the roll of the seasons, this is a delightful book (I have now finished the trilogy), and takes me (in part) back to my own childhood in the 1950s countryside.
I suspect many of the views of the Squire, are those of the author, lamenting the change for the worse of successive venal Governments - and looking back from the 21st century, I fear things have only continued on their downward slide, with the current state of Politicians with their noses firmly in the trough.