Earls of Paradise

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9780007240524: Earls of Paradise

A fascinating portrait from award-winning author, Adam Nicolson, of a family, a portrait, and a quarrel with a king that would tear that family apart.

'Et in Arcadia Ego–I too am in Arcadia'
Was our country once a better place? Has modernisation destroyed as much as it has improved? And can we see in an earlier Britain a way of living, an Arcadia, which now seems both ideal and remote?
In the Arcadian vision, tomorrow would always be the same as yesterday. This dream became ever more alluring as the changes of an approaching modernity-the growing power of the state; the disruption of the traditional bonds of society; the breaking of communities; the marginalisation of the great families who had once balanced the power of the crown–accelerated through 16th–and 17th–century England.
It was the clash of a new mercantile, individualist world with the increasingly defended, communal and chivalric ideals of the old. To tell this story from the 1520s to the 1640s, Adam Nicolson takes a single great family, the Earls of Pembroke, their wives, children, estates, tenants and allies, and follows their high and glamorous trajectory across three generations of change, nostalgia, ambition, resistance and war.
It is a rich and detailed evocation of England on the hinge of medieval and modern: its rivalries and ambitions, duties and rights, longings and compulsions. The Pembrokes straddled their world, politicking at court, while on their vast estates in Wiltshire maintaining the customs of the manor and setting up the hunting parks, great houses and sophisticated gardens which constituted their vision of perfection.
In this wide-ranging book Adam Nicolson explores a world in transition, moving from the intrigues, alliances and vendettas of the court to the intricate, everyday business of rural communities managing their affairs in times of stress. It was an England caught up in its first taste of modernity, yet divided over how to react to it, split between the old and the new, the moment at which the world we have lost turned into the world it has now become.

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Review:

‘A brilliantly imaginative and beautifully written coup of scholarship…Nicolson has written well about the English landscape before, but here he surpasses himself…fascinating…absorbing.’ Observer

‘Nicolson is a terrific writer. The countryside scenery essential to his drama is described with transcendent sensitivity.’ Independent

‘A beautifully written and finely balanced book…above all, it is a sensual, even rapturous tribute to the beauties of the countryside and a disarmingly readable contribution to the history of ideas…Earls of Paradise is an elegant, thoughtful, imaginative book…Nicolson's carefully crafted prose never strikes a false note. With its love of natural beauty, its affection for small communities, its trust in the past and its customs, his book will give abiding pleasure.’ Sunday Times

‘An elegantly written and intellectually adventurous lament for an England that has long since disappeared…as a past winner of the British Topography Prize, Nicolson might have been expected to write well about the Wiltshire countryside, but he surpasses all expectations here. His opening description of the rippling downs and shadowed woods around Wilton…is a miniature masterpiece…and since Nicolson's touch is just as sure with people as it is with places, we get a wonderful sense of everyday rural life in early modern England.’ Evening Standard

‘Immensely readable.’ Daily Telegraph

‘Fascinating…a rich, informative and original book…it weaves its three themes together in a deft and beguiling way.’ Sunday Telegraph

‘A superb book, beautifully written, subtle, passionate, questioning, mind-altering and wise.’ Daily Mail

‘Absorbing…Nicolson recreates, with admirable vigour and a sure control of complicated details a country in crisis…his wonderful, lyrical and contemplative book.’ Guardian

‘Brilliant *****’ Mail on Sunday

‘Nicolson does a brilliant job of showing us English rural society in the last throws of feudalism’
Guardian Summer Reading

‘There is much to savour in his keenly felt and delicately phrased descriptions of landscape and agricultural activity.’
Spectator

Praise for ‘Men of Honour’:

‘His descriptions of the battle itself, and of the personalities of those who engaged in it, are seamanlike, assured and informative’ Independent

‘The story of the battle has been told before, but rarely with the literary aplomb and almost cinematic realism that are to be found in Adam Nicolson's new book.’ Sunday Telegraph

'Argued with vigour and written with grace, this is an illuminating piece of interpretive cultural history.' Sunday Times

‘Vividly clear…Vibrant…Compelling.’ Observer

‘Nicolson does not aim (to give)a blow-by-blow account of the battle. Instead he takes a philosophical and literary approach…In this he succeeds exceptionally well.’ Independent on Sunday

‘Sparkling … Adam Nicolson's account of Trafalgar is majestic, poetic and, at base, authentic.’ Literary Review

‘Of the hundreds of books written about Nelson and Trafalgar over the past two centuries, perhaps a dozen will be worth re-reading at the tercentenary. This is one of them' Spectator

‘Of the many books marking the bicentenary of the Battle of Trafalgar, Adam Nicolson's can claim to be one of the most original' The Week

'Strikingly original … Mr. Nicolson brings to life superbly the horror, devastation and gore of Trafalgar' Economist

'As the 200th anniversary of the Battle of Trafalgar approaches, a tsunami of Nelson books can be expected, but few will be more thought-provoking than this one … Mr. Nicolson brilliantly characterises each navy – British, French, Spanish – as an expression of the countries to which they belonged. The picture is vivid' Country Life

Praise for Adam Nicolson and his books:

'Nicolson writes so well, with such modesty and deep feeling, that the book fairly sings in your hands.' Daily Telegraph

'Exceptionally well done, beautifully written, personal yet panoramic' Observer

'An extraordinarily outward-looking book… a truly passionate attention to detail…. A love-letter no one else could hope to write so well.' Sunday Telegraph

'A passionate evocation, a compression of observation and anecdote which catches you up in its intelligence as well as its enthusiasm, and fill you with homesickness for a place you've never been to.' Daily Telegraph

'Generous, exuberant and a vividly written narrative…. history, travel-writing and memoir of the best sort.' Spectator

'Sharply observed, a finely written work, one to be savoured, turned over and over like a good whisky.'
Sunday Times

From the Publisher:

A fantastic new title from award-winning author Adam Nicholson which looks closely at the prestigious Pembroke family and the upheavel and quarrel that began with the king at the on-set of the British Civil War.

* In 2004, Adam Nicolson won the WH Heinemann Award for his book `Power and Glory: Jacobean England and the Making of the King James Bible'.

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Book Description HarperCollins Publishers, United Kingdom, 2008. Hardback. Book Condition: New. 236 x 156 mm. Language: N/A. Brand New Book. A fascinating portrait from award-winning author, Adam Nicolson, of a family, a portrait, and a quarrel with a king that would tear that family apart. Et in Arcadia Ego--I too am in Arcadia Was our country once a better place? Has modernisation destroyed as much as it has improved? And can we see in an earlier Britain a way of living, an Arcadia, which now seems both ideal and remote? In the Arcadian vision, tomorrow would always be the same as yesterday. This dream became ever more alluring as the changes of an approaching modernity-the growing power of the state; the disruption of the traditional bonds of society; the breaking of communities; the marginalisation of the great families who had once balanced the power of the crown--accelerated through 16th--and 17th--century England. It was the clash of a new mercantile, individualist world with the increasingly defended, communal and chivalric ideals of the old. To tell this story from the 1520s to the 1640s, Adam Nicolson takes a single great family, the Earls of Pembroke, their wives, children, estates, tenants and allies, and follows their high and glamorous trajectory across three generations of change, nostalgia, ambition, resistance and war. It is a rich and detailed evocation of England on the hinge of medieval and modern: its rivalries and ambitions, duties and rights, longings and compulsions. The Pembrokes straddled their world, politicking at court, while on their vast estates in Wiltshire maintaining the customs of the manor and setting up the hunting parks, great houses and sophisticated gardens which constituted their vision of perfection. In this wide-ranging book Adam Nicolson explores a world in transition, moving from the intrigues, alliances and vendettas of the court to the intricate, everyday business of rural communities managing their affairs in times of stress. It was an England caught up in its first taste of modernity, yet divided over how to react to it, split between the old and the new, the moment at which the world we have lost turned into the world it has now become. Bookseller Inventory # WBC9780007240524

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Book Description HarperCollins Publishers, United Kingdom, 2008. Hardback. Book Condition: New. 236 x 156 mm. Language: N/A. Brand New Book. A fascinating portrait from award-winning author, Adam Nicolson, of a family, a portrait, and a quarrel with a king that would tear that family apart. Et in Arcadia Ego--I too am in Arcadia Was our country once a better place? Has modernisation destroyed as much as it has improved? And can we see in an earlier Britain a way of living, an Arcadia, which now seems both ideal and remote? In the Arcadian vision, tomorrow would always be the same as yesterday. This dream became ever more alluring as the changes of an approaching modernity-the growing power of the state; the disruption of the traditional bonds of society; the breaking of communities; the marginalisation of the great families who had once balanced the power of the crown--accelerated through 16th--and 17th--century England. It was the clash of a new mercantile, individualist world with the increasingly defended, communal and chivalric ideals of the old. To tell this story from the 1520s to the 1640s, Adam Nicolson takes a single great family, the Earls of Pembroke, their wives, children, estates, tenants and allies, and follows their high and glamorous trajectory across three generations of change, nostalgia, ambition, resistance and war. It is a rich and detailed evocation of England on the hinge of medieval and modern: its rivalries and ambitions, duties and rights, longings and compulsions. The Pembrokes straddled their world, politicking at court, while on their vast estates in Wiltshire maintaining the customs of the manor and setting up the hunting parks, great houses and sophisticated gardens which constituted their vision of perfection. In this wide-ranging book Adam Nicolson explores a world in transition, moving from the intrigues, alliances and vendettas of the court to the intricate, everyday business of rural communities managing their affairs in times of stress. It was an England caught up in its first taste of modernity, yet divided over how to react to it, split between the old and the new, the moment at which the world we have lost turned into the world it has now become. Bookseller Inventory # WBC9780007240524

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