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The Real Life Downton Abbey: How Life Was…
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The Real Life Downton Abbey: How Life Was Really Lived in Stately Homes a…

by Jacky Hyams

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Adequate history of country house life in the Edwardian era, capitalizing on 'Downton Abbey Fever' on both sides of the Atlantic. DA characters are briefly referenced, but with little specific commentary. If one is looking for a book specific to the television program. You will be disappointed. Likewise, if you are looking for serious social history. At least the ebook version I had failed to have end notes, bibliography or index. Nevertheless, there were entertaining aspects. I particularly enjoyed the minute-by-minute telling of a typical servant's day. ( )
  michigantrumpet | Oct 25, 2013 |
An interesting, but shallow, look into Edwardian lifestyle. There are twelve chapters on various aspects of Edwardian life (money, relationships, transportation, health, etc), and each chapter is separated between "the toff" and the servants. As you'd expect from the title, there are occasional comparisons to the TV show, but they mostly involve just referencing a character's name (eg "Scullery maids, like Daisy..."). While there are a lot of interesting factoids, there's very little actual commentary, and it feels a bit like a high school paper rather than something by an actual historian. I do have some qualms about the information presented - while googling for more information on Edwardian calling cards, I came across a webpage (that appeared to pre-date the book) with nearly verbatim text.

I'd recommend Bill Bryson's At Home for a more interesting history of the home, though it's not specific to the Edwardian period. ( )
1 vote lalawe | Jun 7, 2013 |
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"They were the super rich of their times, pampered beyond belief-- the early 20th-century Edwardian gentry, who lived like superstars, their every desire or need catered to by an army of butlers, servants, footmen, housekeepers and grooms. Class, money, inheritance, luxury and snobbery dominated every aspect of the lives of the upper-crust Edwardian family. Below stairs the staff inhabited a completely different world, their very lives dependent on servicing the rich and pandering to their masters' every whim. Rubbing shoulders with wealth and privilege, they were privy to the most intimate and darkest secrets. Yet they faced ruin and shame if they ventured to make even the smallest step outside the boundaries of their class-ridden world. From manners and morals to etiquette and style, The Real Life Downton Abbey opens the doors to this fascinating period in British history"-- P. [4] of cover.… (more)

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