The Real Life Downton Abbey

The Real Life Downton Abbey

How Life Was Really Lived in Stately Homes A Century Ago

Book - 2011
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Step back a hundred years to the world of the pampered, privileged upper classes and find out exactly what went on behind the magisterial doors of Edwardian stately homes. Rubbing shoulders with wealth and privilege, the staff were privy to the most intimate secrets, but faced ruin if they ventured to make even the smallest step outside the boundaries of their class-ridden world.
Publisher: London : John Blake, 2011
ISBN: 9781843589556
Characteristics: xv, 239 p. : ill. ; 20 cm
Alternative Title: Real Downton Abbey


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Aug 04, 2016

I got about halfway through this before I got too bored to finish. Based on the title, I thought there would be more information about the "upstairs" people, but the focus of the book seemed almost exclusively on the servants. The information was interesting, but was presented in a "list of facts" sort of way, when some stories from real individuals would have added a lot more to the book. The writer also did not seem interested in making his or her writing and information accessible to as many people as possible, as there was a lot of British slang (the aristocrats are always called "toffs" for some reason. I was under the impression that was a pejorative term so that struck me as a bit odd) and in addition, when the author talks about money (wages, cost of food, whatever), he/she does not ever give a modern day equivalent (like "In 2010, that would be equivalent to 10,000 euros/ pounds/ whatever". The author instead presents a figure like, "in comparison to the 2 shillings that a chambermaid would earn, a farmer makes 10 pounds a year at that time". That does not help me whatsoever to understand the financial information presented in the book. Especially considering that I don't understand denominations of British money. I am sure I'm not the only American who is confused by this. Converting amounts of money into what would be a modern equivalent is vital to making sure readers understand the impact of the information the author is presenting, so this not only made the author look sloppy, it also decreased my understanding and interest.

hgeng63 Apr 13, 2013

Tells you some of what you'd like to know, though without footnotes or bibliography. Annoying written tic, like a nudge in the ribs.


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