The Devonshires: The Story of a Family and a Nation.pdf
"A magnificent old duffer of a book that deftly knits together a national story into the fabric of a family drama" -- Ian Kelly The Times "Jostling with the eccentric and engaging characters from a grand family, Hattersley deftly tells a jaunty story about Britishness through the ages" -- Kathryn Hughes Mail on Sunday "Remarkable. The genius of this work is that it serves up a feast of details from a whole dynasty of remarkable men and women" -- Jenny Barlow Daily Express "An engaging account of a gallery of historical figures" -- Noel Malcolm Sunday Telegraph Seven "A vivid read, crowded with characters and colour" -- Lucy Lethbridge Observer
Roy Hattersley was elected to Parliament in 1964. He served in Harold Wilson's government and in Jim Callaghan's Cabinet. In 1983 he became deputy leader of the Labour Party. As well as contributing to a host of national newspapers, he has written twenty-two books, including The Edwardians; Borrowed Time: the story of Britain between the wars; and In Search of England as well as much acclaimed biographies of John Wesley and, most recently, Lloyd George. Roy Hattersley has been Visiting Fellow of Harvard's Institute of Politics and of Nuffield College, Oxford. In 2003 he was elected a Fellow of the Royal Society of Literature.
William Cavendish, the father of the first Earl, dissolved monasteries for Henry VIII. Bess, his second wife, was gaoler-companion to Mary Queen of Scots during her long imprisonment in England. Arbella Stuart, their granddaughter, was a heartbeat away from the throne of England and their grandson, Lord General of the North, fought to save the crown for Charles I. Fifty years later, the First Duke of Devonshire conspired to depose James II, and make William of Orange king. For the next two centuries the Devonshires were at the heart of fashionable society and the centre of political power. The Fourth Duke became prime minister and Georgiana, wife of the Fifth, scandalised even the Regency. Spencer Compton, the last of the great Devonshires, was three times offered the preimership, and three times refused it. Even the Devonshire servants made history. Joseph Paxton was their gardner and Thomas Hobbes was the family tutor. With the help of previously unpublished material from the Chatsworth archives, The Devonshires reveals how the dynasty made and lost fortunes, fought and fornicated, built great houses, patronised the arts and pioneered the railways, made great scientific discoveries, and, in the end, came to terms with changing times. It is popular history at its very best.