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

Author(s): Richard Davenport-Hines

United Kingdom

A sharp focus snapshot of Britain in the late 1950s and early 1960s, published to coincide with the fiftieth anniversary of the Profumo Affair. 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 the early 1960s was dominated by the legacy of two world wars. Prime Minister Harold Macmillan, the Edwardian stalwart, led a Conservative government dedicated to tradition, hierarchy and, above all, old-fashioned morality. But the tide was changing. 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 masterly biographer Richard Davenport-Hines introduces us to the key players and brings seedily glamorous Swinging London to life. The cast list includes familiar names such as louche society doctor Stephen Ward, good-time girls Christine Keeler and Mandy Rice-Davies, and Secretary for War John Profumo himself. But here for the first time we also encounter the full complement of tabloid hacks, property developers and hangers-on whose roles have, until now, never been fully revealed. As the drama builds to its deadly climax, Davenport-Hines exposes the hypocrisy and prejudice of a country undergoing extraordinary change. 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.

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Product Information

From the reviews of Titanic Lives: 'An astonishing work, of meticulous research, which allows us to know, in painful detail, the men and women on that fateful voyage. Even now, a hundred years later, Mr Davenport-Hines finds a new, and heart-breaking, story to tell' Julian Fellowes 'Eloquent and absorbing... As well as being a fascinating work of social history, Titanic Lives is a remarkable study of empathy and its absence. As such it will stay afloat long after the armada of other Titanic books have gone down' Frances Wilson, Daily Telegraph 'Though it seems shameful to admit it, the one certain benefit we have derived from the tragedy is a shattering human story that is also, when told as well as Davenport-Hines tells it, utterly compelling' John Carey, Sunday Times 'A richly detailed and haunting history...This will not be the last book on the Titanic but it is a safe bet to say that there will not be a better' David Crane, Spectator

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.

General Fields

  • : 9780007435845
  • : HarperCollins Publishers
  • : HarperPress
  • : 0.8
  • : December 2012
  • : 240mm X 159mm
  • : United Kingdom
  • : books

Special Fields

  • : Richard Davenport-Hines
  • : Hardback
  • : good
  • : 416
  • : 32 b/w illus