This is a many-faceted work, written to accompany the television series of the same name. However, it stands more than adequately on its own and anyone who has not viewed the TV programmes will be unhampered. The book is a fascinating read!
The 450 year history of Avebury Manor is vividly illuminated - as are the life and times of those who have lived within its walls. Four periods receive particular focus - Tudor, Queen Anne, Georgian and 20th Century. The reader is introduced to the key families and personalities of each and their life-style, furniture, furnishings etc are vividly portrayed. There are photographs of articles (in other National Trust properties) that survive from each period. In addition, the processes involved in creating these are described and shown. Faithful reproductions were created using solely traditional methods and materials.
The book is beautifully presented with full-colour graphics on virtually every page.
I read it from cover-to-cover in a couple of days. I can unreservedly recommend it as well as a visit to the refurbished Manor house itself. (open every day during most of 2011 and in 2012 at times yet to be announced).
Having enjoyed watching the TV programme and later visited Avebury Manor. This book was a fascinating insight into the restoration of a lovely country house which has been fashioned into a real living history experience. The author perpetrates a few minor historical and factual errors such as describing the Greek goddess Artemis as the goddess of wisdom, whereas she is usually regarded as goddess of the hunt, wild animals, wilderness, childbirth and virginity, the epitome of female liberty, Athena being the goddess of wisdom. However her style is very accessible and lively. The layout of the pages is attractive and the book is nicely produced on good paper. The photos illustrating different aspects of the restoration of a house where visitors are allowed such unusual freedoms as sitting on the beds and chairs, bouncing on the exercise chair, opening all the cupboards, dressing up in Tudor costume and pretending to be Henry VIII at his dining table are interesting and informative. Would make a good gift at Christmas or any other time for people interested in beautiful English country houses.
This work is an excellent complement to the TV series. Although it gives the initial impression of being a "coffee table book", the content is well worth the read, whether you saw the TV series or not. It has obviously been written competently and professionally. and despite some repetition of information between various previous owners and epochs in several sections, the account flows very well. Compared with the TV series, much of the arguments and "infighting" between the various parties involved, the book is fairly neutral, and the story of the rabbits in the vegetable garden is not recounted. The hosts of the series provide introductions in the book, but subsequently they are not particularly prominent, compared with the TV series. A book to be thoroughly recommended for thos whose interests lie in this area.
Having been to Avebury Manor prior to it's transformation, I was very interested in the TV programme & then even more interested on visiting "The Manor Reborn". I was not disappointed!! I felt the book in the NT shop was rather expensive so ordered it from Amazon. It is a fascinating book comparing the manor to other houses owned by the National Trust & giving a detailed historical background to each of the eras that the house has passed through. To be honest it is worth the price that the NT shop is charging so to get the book at such an amazing price through Amazon was a real bonus. It is a book that will appeal to all those who like me love history.