The Long Weekend: Life in the English Country House Between the Wars
There is nothing quite as beautiful as an English country house in summer. And there has never been a summer quite like that Indian summer between the two world wars, a period of gentle decline in which the sun set slowly on the British Empire and the shadows lengthened on the lawns of a thousand stately homes. Real life in the country house during the 1920s and 1930s was not always so sunny. By turns opulent and ordinary, noble and vicious, its shadows were darker. In The Long Weekend, Adrian Tinniswood uncovers the truth about a world half-forgotten, draped in myth and hidden behind stiff upper lips and film-star smiles. Drawing on hundreds of memoirs, on unpublished letters and diaries, on the eye-witness testimonies of belted earls and unhappy heiresses and bullying butlers, The Long Weekend gives a voice to the people who inhabited this world and shows how the image of the country house was carefully protected by its occupants above and below stairs, and how the reality was so much more interesting than the dream.
"Tinniswood and his publishers should be congratulated for issuing this elegant, encyclopedic and entertaining history... We are in the company of a confident and skilled historian who understands the mores of his era and wears his learning lightly... This is a handsomely illustrated pick'n'mix of mansions, manors, castles and palaces.... Tinniswood expands our Sunday evening viewing with the kind of detail you can't invent... Deserves to be on every costume drama producer's bookshelf." -- Virginia Nicholson * The Times * "He has produced a luscious, summery book, full of amiable anecdotes and photographs of striking interiors, celebrating headstrong optimists who defied the defeatism of the times. The Long Weekend resembles a well-kept hothouse festooned with fruit ripe for the plucking." -- Richard Davenport-Hines * Sunday Times * "Wonderfully opulent, richly textured... The opening chapters of The Long Weekend paint an evocative picture... In telling us how the English country house changed, he is, of course, telling us how England changed too." -- Xan Brooks * Sunday Telegraph * "[A] masterpiece of social history." -- Roger Lewis * Daily Mail * "Many of Tinniswood's anecdotes are extraordinary... Painstakingly researched detail that makes The Long Weekend so entertaining... A rich, multilayered and well-illustrated account of a style of live that disappeared with the Second World War. Lovers of...Brideshead Revisited will relish it." -- Charlotte Heathcote * Sunday Express *
Adrian Tinniswood is the author of fourteen books of social and architectural history. A Senior Research Fellow at the University of Buckingham and a Visiting Fellow in Heritage and History at Bath Spa University, he has worked for and with the National Trust at local, regional and national level for more than thirty years. In 2013 he was awarded an OBE for services to heritage.