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Ceaseless Turmoil: Diaries 1988-1992

Ceaseless Turmoil: Diaries 1988-1992

Hardback

By (author) James Lees-Milne

List price $44.99

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  • Publisher: John Murray Publishers Ltd
  • Format: Hardback | 368 pages
  • Dimensions: 161mm x 243mm x 35mm | 693g
  • Publication date: 3 February 2005
  • Publication City/Country: London
  • ISBN 10: 0719565782
  • ISBN 13: 9780719565786
  • Sales rank: 1,015,977

Product description

In this penultimate volume, James Lees-Milne is as engaging and readable as ever; his sharpness and wit are undiminished as he forges into his eighties. He discusses architecture with the Prince of Wales and royal mistresses with Princess Michael of Kent. As the grand old man of country house conservation, he becomes a media celebrity, but he declines a C.B.E. and refuses to be photographed by Lord Snowdon. He reads in The Times of the death of the boy who seduced him at Eton, and publishes a novel about a German count who seduces first an English schoolboy, then the boy's mother. Candid, touching, penetrating and often hilariously funny, these diaries chronicle a way of life and a view of the world that are rapidly vanishing.

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Author information

James Lees-Milne died in 1997. Once Country Houses Secretary of the National Trust, he is now best known for his memoirs and diaries, described by Jeremy Lewis as second to none in their comicality, rueful self-knowledge and feline observations. Michael Bloch, his friend and literary executor, is now writing his life.

Review quote

'Lees-Milne aficionados will find much here to divert and delight' -- House and Garden 20041201 'A quirkily fascinating book...a candid and jaundiced view of contemporary life in the hectis world of high culture' -- Antiques Trade Gazette 20050730 'Sharp but humane, alarming but life-enhancing, brisk, amusing, unexpected' -- Oldie 20041201 'His diaries are a marvel' -- Week 20041120 'Travelling with him, we readers are introduced to people and places we would never otherwise meet' -- Oxford Times 20041105 'We all register mercurial changes of mood and opinion from day to day ! but few have the courage or the talent to chart them so compellingly. But this is only part of Lees-Milne's greatness as a diarist' -- James Knox, The Spectator 20041105 'The wittiest and most elegant of writers ... The greatest diarist of our times - funny, feline and disconcertingly honest, wielding a rapier to Alan Clark's cudgel.' -- Jeremy Lewis, The Oldie 20041105 'The greatest diarest of our times - funny, feline and disconcertingly honest' -- Oldie 20041201 'Peculiarly addictive' -- Evening Standard 20080725 'Lively stuff' -- Sunday Telegraph 20050717 'The author of these erudite, waspish and witty diaries deserves to rank alongside other great practitioners of the genre, such as John Evelyn, Samuel Pepys and James Boswell.' -- Glasgow Evening Times 20050723 'Throughout Ceaseless Turmoil ! the comments, asides and character sketches are as sharp and amusing, as generous and jaundiced, as ever.' -- Times Literary Supplement 20041112 'One of the treasures of contemporary English literature. They make the most strangely addictive reading ... They are a marvel' -- Evening Standard 20041112 'One reads, one deplores - and one reads on with vindictive delight.' -- Patrick Skene-Catling, Sunday Telegraph 20041112 'The greatest diarist of our times - funny, feline and disconcertingly honest, wielding a rapier to Alan Clark's cudgel.' -- Jeremy Lewis, The Oldie 20041112 'We all register mercurial changes of mood! but few have the courage or the talent to chart them so compellingly.' -- James Knox, Spectator 20041112 'Ceaseless Turmoil ! will delight those who have become addicted to this chronicle of the haute monde.' -- Independent On Sunday 20041107 'Contains the same heady mixture of overpowering, suffocating affection for the privileged life and its appurtenances and a distaste or detachment about it all' -- Literary Review 20041107 'A superb chronicler of the human condition' -- Hugh Massingberd, Spectator 20041107 'The elegiac tone, the wintriness, gets to be very moving...A major work of literature' -- Roger Lewis, Spectator 20041127 'A superb chronicler of the human condition' -- Spectator 20041120 'He is such a snob, he is snobbish about snobbery!' -- The Daily Telegraph 20041120 'He still haunts the houses he so loved, in the tour of Ancestral Voices, Massingberd's brilliant play.' -- Telegraph 20041120 'It's hard not to develop a serious addiction to the James Lees-Milne diaries.' -- Catholic Herald 20041120 'Strangely addictive reading.' -- Evening Standard 20041120 'As funny, melancholy, and outrageous as ever' -- The Sunday Times 20050807

Editorial reviews

Prospective readers of James Lees-Milne's latest instalment of diaries might reasonably wonder of what interest the thoughts, opinions and recollections of this rather obscure, old-fashioned intellectual could possibly be. But if the phrase "justifiably overlooked" could perhaps be applied to Lees-Milne's life, it certainly should not be to his diaries. He is the type of character novelists wish they had invented: opinionated and vainglorious, yet equally fragile, sympathetic, cultured and insightful. By 1988, he is being treated for cancer and and his decrepit and declining friends are pegging out around him. But these diaries are no morbid reading. Lees-Milne faces both life and death philosophically and wholeheartedly. If these diaries have a fault, it is that, unlike other journals - perhaps Tony Benn's, or Kenneth Tynan's - they can seem rather devoid of context. But then part of Lees-Milne's fascination is his pugnacious refusal to bend to any external force. He is quite resolutely his own man.(Kirkus UK)