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An English Affair: Sex, Class and Power in the Age of Profumo

An English Affair: Sex, Class and Power in the Age of Profumo (Paperback)

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Synopsis

WINNER OF THE POLITICAL BOOK AWARDS POLITICAL HISTORY BOOK OF THE YEAR 2014.



Published to coincide with the fiftieth anniversary of the Profumo scandal, An English Affair is a sharp-focused snapshot of a nation on the brink of social revolution.

Britain in 1963 - Harold Macmillan was the Prime Minister of a Conservative government, dedicated to tradition, hierarchy and, above all, old-fashioned morality. But a breakdown of social boundaries saw nightclub hostesses mixing with aristocrats, and middle-class professionals dabbling in criminality. Meanwhile, Cold War paranoia gripped the public imagination.

The Profumo Affair was a perfect storm, and when it broke it rocked the Establishment. In `An English Affair', the author of the critically-acclaimed `Titainic Lives' Richard Davenport-Hines brings Swinging London to life. The cast of players includes the familiar - louche doctor Stephen Ward, good-time girls Christine Keeler and Mandy Rice-Davies, and Secretary for War John Profumo himself. But we also encounter the tabloid hacks, property developers and hangers-on whose roles have, until now, never been fully revealed.

Sex, drugs, class, race, chequebook journalism and the criminal underworld - the Profumo Affair had it all. This is the story of how Sixties England cast off respectability and fell in love with scandal.

Richard Davenport-Hines is a historian and biographer. Among his many books are biographies of W. H. Auden and Marcel Proust, and the recent, highly acclaimed, Titanic Lives. A fellow of the Royal Historical Society and the Royal Society of Literature, he reviews regularly for the Sunday Telegraph, the Sunday Times and the Times Literary Supplement.

More books by Richard Davenport-Hines

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Author Choice

The Profumo affair fascinated just about every adolescent boy in the UK back in the early 60s, and I doubt that many of us forget the risqué photographs of Christine Keeler and Mandy Rice Davies that were splashed all over the place. This is a thorough and comprehensive look at the affair from all sides, and a fascinating view of the times. It makes for compelling reading.

Peter Robinson - 14/08/2013

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