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The Worlds of Philip and Sybil

Peter Stanskey

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Sir Philip Sassoon (1888–1939), a glamorous and well-known figure in Britain for the first four decades of the twentieth century, was the most eligible bachelor and the greatest host of his time. He attained prominence in the art world, high society, and politics. In contrast, his sister Sybil (1894–1989) lived a much more private life. Yet she was fascinating in her own right, marrying into the grandest level of the English aristocracy, restoring Houghton—formerly the house of Sir Robert Walpole—to magnificence, and serving in the high command of the Women’s Royal Naval Service during both world wars.

In this generously illustrated book, distinguished historian Peter Stansky brings the Sassoons and their period into sharp focus. He also explores what their lives reveal about the nature of English life, particularly at the highest reaches, and its relation to wealth, power, politics, Jewishness, and art.

Peter Stansky is Frances and Charles Field Professor of History, Stanford University.

"This latest book from the justly renowned Stanford historian Peter Stansky is direct in its aims and nuanced in its presentation. . . . Peter Stansky has largely succeeded in showing the worlds that watched the Sassoons: how they were seen, and how they may now be remembered." —Karen L. Levenback, Albion

“A book full of sparkling anecdotes.”—Richard Edmonds, Birmingham Post

“It was a good idea of Peter Stansky’s to write about Philip and Sybil Sassoon. . . . Philip would have been pleased. . . . Gracefully written, acute, fun to read.”—Max Egremont, Financial Times

"Peter Stansky’s book is excellently researched and elegantly written. . . . A thoughtful biography."—Geordie Greig, Literary Review

“In the elegantly produced Sassoon, Peter Stansky, chronicler of upper bohemian Bloomsbury, offers an expert tour through these glossier lives.”—Benita Eisler, Los Angeles Times Book Review

"A detailed study of the day-to-day lives of [the Sassoons]. . . . Lavishly published."—David C. Itzkowitz, The Historian

“If you want to escape from war, sex and shopping, join Philip and Sybil on their magic carpet and read this book.”—Deborah Devonshire, The Spectator

“Peter Stansky’s excellent study gives a full account of Philip’s public career, but its principle appeal lies in the pages devoted to Philip and Sybil’s social life, their lavishly decorated houses and their patronage of the arts.”—John Gross, The Sunday Telegraph

"[A] perceptive joint biography. . . . A fascinating commentary on the workings of English society."—Sarah Curtis, Times Literary Supplement

ISBN: 9780300186765
Publication Date: April 24, 2003
310 pages, 7 1/2 x 9 1/4
45 bw, 25 color
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September 7, 1940

Peter Stansky

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