William Collins, £9.99
Book review: An English Affair, By Richard Davenport-Hines
Boyd Tonkin is Senior Writer and a columnist at The Independent. An award-winning journalist, he was formerly Literary Editor at The Independent, and before that Social Policy Editor and then Books Editor at the New Statesman magazine. He has broadcast extensively for BBC arts and current affairs programmes and has judged the Booker Prize, the Whitbread biography award, the Commonwealth Writers Prize and the David Cohen Prize. In 2001, he re-founded the Independent Foreign Fiction Prize for literature in translation, and serves on its judging panel every year.
Friday 14 June 2013
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.
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