Gentry, By Adam Nicolson
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.
Saturday 01 September 2012
It would be a huge shame if the topic and title of this book – the history of a dozen landed English families from the Wars of Roses to the hunting ban – deterred a single reader.
Adam Nicolson is a social historian of soaring intelligence and enviable eloquence.
Far from being a snobbish recital of vanished privileges (the custodian of Sissinghurst is way beyond all that), his account of the clans builds into the story of their nation through the prism of its fractious local elites: the hinge on which epochal shifts in class and culture swung.
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