An English Affair: Sex, Class and Power in the Age of Profumo, By richard Davenport-Hines - Paperbacks of the Year review


Davenport-Hines relishes the class split in this wonderful and exacting social history of the Fifties and Sixties. Things were being revealed, that hadn’t been revealed before, about a certain class of people: the aristocracy and the politicians who emerged from it, such as Harold Macmillan.

This is more than simply an overview of the affair between John Profumo and Christine Keeler; Davenport-Hines skewers an entire society, from city-centre planners to politicians and journalists, to slum landlords and operators in the Cold War, and he makes us ponder the consequences of damage done by a generation of men like Macmillan, damaged by their experiences during the war 20 years previously.