• Noble Ambitions

  • The Fall and Rise of the English Country House After World War II
  • By: Adrian Tinniswood
  • Narrated by: Roger May
  • Length: 13 hrs and 35 mins
  • 4.3 out of 5 stars (15 ratings)

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Publisher's Summary

A rollicking tour of the English country home after World War II, when swinging London collided with aristocratic values.

As the sun set slowly on the British Empire, its mansions fell and rose. Ancient families were reduced to demolishing the parts of their stately homes they could no longer afford, dukes and duchesses desperately clung to their ancestral seats, and a new class of homeowners bought their way into country life. A delicious romp, Noble Ambitions pulls us into these crumbling halls of power, leading us through the juiciest bits of postwar aristocratic history - from Mick Jagger dancing at deb balls to the scandals of Princess Margaret. Capturing the spirit of the age, historian Adrian Tinniswood proves that the country house is not only an iconic symbol, but a lens through which to understand the shifting fortunes of the British elite in an era of monumental social change.

©2021 Adrian Tinniswood (P)2021 Basic Books
  • Unabridged Audiobook
  • Categories: History

Critic Reviews

"Erudite and delightfully gossipy.”—Wall Street Journal

"Tinniswood [is] an erudite historian of country-house life in all its anecdote-worthy vagaries.”—Financial Times 

"If you’re still mourning the end of ‘Downton Abbey,’ this book, charting the rise and fall of the English country house, is most definitely the book for you. A lively history of post-World War II England as told through its grandest estates and ancestral seats.”—New York Post 

What listeners say about Noble Ambitions

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Story could be told in a 10th of the time

I didn’t finish. The subject is interesting to me but the story is drawn out with the details of the history of just a few houses. I just got bored.

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  • Agnes
  • 08-01-22

Very enjoyable

I bought this on a whim and enjoyed every minute of it. If you’re interested in social history but don’t want anything too dry and academic then this is a great place to start. The narration is excellent too.