Book: Forsythia - A Memoir of Lost Generations by Peter Longleycategories: Book, Social History, British Empire, British History, Social Class, Classic Literature, Twentieth Century, London, British Royalty, Duty and Service, Rural England, Domestic Servants, Memoir
Peter Longleyabout this book: FORSYTHIA describes the lost world of the British upper-middle class as seen through the author's childhood in the 1940s and 1950s. He reflects on his family from the 1880s to 1960s, hanging his observations on a precis of John Galsworthy's Nobel prize winning fictional saga of the British upper-middle class, THE FORSYTE SAGA. Both Galsworthy and the author see the rise and fall of the British upper-middle class related to the rise and fall of the British Empire. Many of the seeds of collapse in this world are found in the periods 1900, 1914-18, the 1920s and the 1950s and 1960s. These are the same challenges that face the Crawleys in the very popular PBS mini-series DOWNTON ABBEY. Through the parralel lenses of Galsworthy's fiction and the true historical reflections of the author on his own family, this fascinating period of class-ridden English history is explored.
As members of the three-per-cent, the author and his contemporaries were educated to be the rulers, administators, professional and commercial venturers of the greatest Empire the world had ever known, yet within a few short years the whole global network fell apart, and with it the social system that held it together. Within the reflections, however, we are introduced to an interesting family of characters that echo that bygone age. They become every bit as fascinating as their parallel characters from Galsworthy's fiction. This is a book that shows an intimate side of social history that helps to understand the English character. The cover design depicts members of the author's family when their world seemed invincible in 1904, when they were the beneficiaries of the Empire on which it could be truly said the sun never set.
• "Unveiling the mystery and rigidity of social class in intimate and minute detail, where 'Forsythia' becomes a term referring to the attitudes, unwritten laws, and sometimes outright chutzpah of the haut monde, this precis on not only THE FORSYTE SAGA but Victorian and Edwardian periods heading into the transitional periods of wartime and upheaval, provides a meticulous, comprehensive history replete with ciopious detail and entertaining stories. A genuine reading pleasure especially for students of history or classic literature."
— THE SAN FRANCISCO/SACRAMENTO BOOK REVIEW
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