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Book review: An English Affair, By Richard Davenport-Hines


This livid, lurid but enthralling history of "sex, class and power in the age of Profumo" boasts a rare passion and bravado.

With its seething cast of parvenus and throwbacks, it waits until page 245 until it retells the events of 1963 that saw war minister Profumo resign after he lied to the Commons about his fling with Christine Keeler.

Davenport-Hines writes as an elegist for a lost England, torn between nostalgia and fury at the rank bigotry and hypocrisy behind the scandal. For him, it ousted the old gang only for a nastier elite to take charge.