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1939  By  cover art

1939

By: Anne deCourcy
Narrated by: Maggie Ollerenshaw
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Publisher's Summary

A wonderful portrait of British upper-class life in the season of 1939 - the last before the Second World War.

The season of 1939 brought all those "in Society" to London. The young debutante daughters of the upper classes were presented to the king and queen to mark their acceptance into the new adult world of their parents. They sparkled their way through a succession of balls and parties and sporting events.

The season brought together influential people not only from society but also from government at the various events of the social calendar. Prime Minister Neville Chamberlain chaperoned his debutante niece to weekend house parties; Lord Halifax, the foreign secretary, lunched with the headmaster of Eton; cabinet ministers encountered foreign ambassadors at balls in the houses of the great hostesses. As the hot summer drew on, the newspapers filled with ever more ominous reports of the relentless progress toward war. There was nothing to do but wait - and dance. The last season of peace was nearly over.

©1989 Anne de Courcy (P)2021 Tantor
  • Unabridged Audiobook
  • Categories: History

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Costume, Movement and Manners...

If you look at the book titles Anne deCourcy has penned, you will notice that she has a keen interest in opulent historic customs and rituals. She has taken several periods in history - the 1920s-1940s and has devoted years of uncovering letters, stories, and evidence of those who lived during this time. Guest lists, china patterns, dinner menus, wine served
- she even includes the cost of throwing a party down to each item used and what household staff was paid, according to their role in the household. Finding fashionable dressmakers and milliners, (and the different bird feathers which were in vogue and used in hat designs) - all written down by people's diaries who were the "Who's Who" of players during that time. You wonder how they folded up all of those outfits into luggage trunks or had them cleaned without a dry cleaner. Some hefty ironing was certainly going to be needed. How far in advance you would have to plan to have dresses custom-made for you and your family if you were lucky enough to be requested to attend a social event or host one? Or, the shame of it if you weren't invited! If you like "Upstairs/Downstairs" or "The Crown" or any of these period social dramas, you will be enthralled. Maggie Ollerenshaw has a lovely voice and narrates beautifully.

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More about politics and less about society

More about politics and less about society than I had expected. Some nice nuggets that, as a Yankee, I was unfamiliar with i. e. the meaning of the colors and dress at Eton. Nicely narrated although it was hard to tell if some words were British pronunciations or just generally mispronounced. Interesting, but not anything to rave about.

2 people found this helpful