Synopses & Reviews
A history of England through the eyes of one its most famous and powerful families, the Devonshires
The story of the Cavendish family and the first eight Dukes of Devonshire is the story of England. From 1381—when Sir John Cavendish, Lord Chief Justice of England, was killed during the Peasant's Revolt—to 1906, when the Duke of Devonshire's resignation brought down the Tory government: the family's fortunes (and misfortunes) mirrored the life of the nation. This is also the story of the huge support networks of servants and labor needed to sustain the supremacy of a family whose accumulated wealth, from the Dissolution of the Monasteries to the coming of the railways, saw them found ship ports, holiday resorts, scientific laboratories, stud farms, and some of the most significant buildings in the land. For this new history, Hattersley has been given unique access to the archives, based at Chatsworth, the family seat. Whereas previous books on the Devonshires have dealt with one or two key figures, Hattersley gathers the dynasty in one place: an astonishing accumulation of scientists, soldiers, patrons, politicians, house builders, racehorse breeders, philanderers, and powerful women. The huge personalities in the Devonshire story, and the vibrant details that Hatterley uncovers, make for a lively and illuminating path in to the political, social, and cultural changes that England has endured and enjoyed. Brilliantly researched, this is delicious popular history at its very best.
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 nineteen 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.
About the Author
Roy Hattersley served as deputy leader of the Labor Party from 1983 to 1992. He has written 19 books, including Buster's Diaries and The Life of John Wesley.