The Gentry

The Gentry

Adam Nicolson

History / Home & Garden / Religion & Spirituality

Adam Nicolson tells the story of England through the history of fourteen gentry families – from the 15th century to the present day. This sparkling work of history reads like a real-life Downton Abbey, as the loves, hatreds and many times of grief of his chosen cast illuminate the grand events of history. We may well be 'a nation of shopkeepers', but for generations England was a country dominated by its middling families, rooted on their land, in their locality, with a healthy interest in turning a profit from their property and a deep distrust of the centralised state. The virtues we may all believe to be part of the English culture – honesty, affability, courtesy, liberality – each of these has their source in gentry life cultivated over five hundred years. These folk were the backbone of England. Adam Nicolson's riveting new book concentrates on fourteen families, from 1400 to the present day. From the medieval gung-ho of the Plumpton family to the high-seas adventures of the...
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God's Secretaries_The Making of the King James Bible

God's Secretaries_The Making of the King James Bible

Adam Nicolson

History / Home & Garden / Religion & Spirituality

A network of complex currents flowed across Jacobean England. This was the England of Shakespeare, Jonson, and Bacon; the era of the Gunpowder Plot and the worst outbreak of the plague. Jacobean England was both more godly and less godly than the country had ever been, and the entire culture was drawn taut between these polarities. This was the world that created the King James Bible. It is the greatest work of English prose ever written, and it is no coincidence that the translation was made at the moment "Englishness," specifically the English language itself, had come into its first passionate maturity. The English of Jacobean England has a more encompassing idea of its own scope than any form of the language before or since. It drips with potency and sensitivity. The age, with all its conflicts, explains the book. This P.S. edition features an extra 16 pages of insights into the book, including author interviews, recommended reading, and more. **From Publishers Weekly The King James Bible remains the most influential Bible translation of all time. Its elegant style and the exalted cadences of its poetry and prose echo forcefully in Shakespeare, Milton, T.S. Eliot and Reynolds Price. As travel writer Nicolson points out, however, the path to the completion of the translation wasn't smooth. When James took the throne in England in early 1603, he inherited a country embroiled in theological controversy. Relishing a good theological debate, the king appointed himself as a mediator between the Anglicans and the reformist Puritans, siding in the end with the Anglican Church as the party that posed the least political threat to his authority. As a result of these debates, James agreed to commission a new translation of the Bible as an olive branch to the Puritans. Between 1604 and 1611, various committees engaged in making a new translation that attended more to the original Greek and Hebrew than had earlier versions. Nicolson deftly chronicles the personalities involved, and breezily narrates the political and religious struggles of the early 17th century. Yet, the circumstances surrounding this translation are already well known from two earlier books-Benson Bobrick's Wide as the Waters and Alister McGrath's In the Beginning-and this treatment adds little that is new. Although Nicolson succeeds at providing insight into the diverse personalities involved in making the King James Bible, Bobrick's remains the most elegant and comprehensive treatment of the process. Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information, Inc. From Booklist Starred Review The quip about the Bible being the greatest book ever written by a committee is just a quip, but the English Bible that King James I commissioned in 1604 really was committee work. Each of six committees, or companies, as they were called, was charged with translating a different portion of the original Hebrew and Greek texts. The Translators (their official title, and as such, capitalized) were far-from-saintly Anglican clergymen and scholars, selected to exclude radical Puritan sentiments from the finished translation (James had had enough of Puritan divisiveness while on the throne of Scotland). Their handiwork was to be the preferred pulpit Bible, so it had to be accessible in vocabulary and tonally. In that respect, the Translators succeeded so brilliantly that their style remains the quintessence of sacred prose to this day. Religious utility wasn't, however, the primary original purpose of the King James Version. Rather, the KJV was an element of James' grand dream of forging a harmoniously united realm out of the faction-ridden one he inherited from Elizabeth I. In that respect, the book was a failure, for not until after the Puritan American colonies embraced it (ironically, given its anti-Puritan conception) did England accept it. Nicolson tells the KJV's story so well that his book may prove to be the KJV's indispensable companion for years to come. Ray Olson Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved
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Men of Honour

Men of Honour

Adam Nicolson

History / Home & Garden / Religion & Spirituality

The Battle of Trafalgar can claim to be one of the most known of the great human events. In Men of Honour, Adam Nicolson takes one of the greatest identifiable heroes in British history, Horatio Nelson, and examines the broader themes of heroism, violence and virtue.Trafalgar gripped the nineteenth century imagination like no other battle: it was a moment of both transcendent fulfilment and unmatched despair. It was a drama of such violence and sacrifice that the concept of total war may be argued to start from there. It finished the global ambitions of a European tyrant but culminated in the death of Admiral Horatio Nelson, the greatest hero of the era.This book fuses the immediate intensity of the battle with the deeper currents that were running at the time. It has a three-part framework: the long, slow six hour morning before the battle; the afternoon itself of terror, death and destruction; and the shocked, exultant and sobered aftermath, which finds its climax at...
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Sea Room

Sea Room

Adam Nicolson

History / Home & Garden / Religion & Spirituality

Have you ever wondered what it would be like to be given your own remote islands? Thirty years ago it happened to Adam Nicolson. Aged 21, Nicolson inherited the Shiants, three lonely Hebridean islands set in a dangerous sea off the Isle of Lewis. With only a stone bothy for accommodation and half a million puffins for company, he found himself in charge of one of the most beautiful places on earth. The story of the Shiants is a story of birds and boats, hermits and fishermen, witchcraft and catastrophe, and Nicolson expertly weaves these elements into his own tale of seclusion on the Shiants to create a stirring celebration of island life. Due to the level of detail, maps and diagrams are best viewed on a tablet.
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Quarrel with the King

Quarrel with the King

Adam Nicolson

History / Home & Garden / Religion & Spirituality

Spanning the most turbulent and dramatic years of English history--from the 1520s through 1650--Quarrel with the King tells the remarkable saga of one of the greatest families in English history, the Pembrokes, following their glamorous trajectory across three generations of change, ambition, resistance, and war. With vivid color and fascinating detail, acclaimed historian Adam Nicolson recounts the story of a century-long power struggle between England's richest family and the English Crown--a fascinating study of divided loyalties, corruption, rights and privilege, and all the ambiguities involved in the exercise and maintenance of power and status.
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Sissinghurst, an Unfinished History

Sissinghurst, an Unfinished History

Adam Nicolson

History / Home & Garden / Religion & Spirituality

Adam Nicolson's powerful memoir reveals the history of one of Europe's most famous gardens, and the ongoing battle over its future From lavish palace for Elizabethan nobles to dreary jailhouse for eighteenth-century prisoners of war, from well-manicured country house for a string of landed families to weed-choked ruin, Sissinghurst, in Kent, has become one of the most illustrious estates in England—and its future may prove to be just as intriguing as its past. In the 1930s, English poet Vita Sackville-West and her husband, Harold Nicolson, acquired land that had once been owned by Vita's ancestors. Together they created elaborate gardens filled with roses, apple trees, vivid flowers, and scenic paths lined with hedges and pink brick walls. Vita, a gardening correspondent for the Observer and a close friend of Virginia Woolf, opened Sissinghurst to the public. But the thriving working farm began to change after her death. Her son Nigel...
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Smell of Summer Grass

Smell of Summer Grass

Adam Nicolson

History / Home & Garden / Religion & Spirituality

The Smell of Summer Grass is based partly on the long out of print 'Perch Hill'. It is the story of the years spent in finding and building a personal Arcadia, sometimes a dream, sometimes a nightmare, by writer Adam Nicolson and his wife, cook and gardener, Sarah Raven. Adam Nicolson was determined to leave metropolitan life but the rundown farm in the Sussex Weald was not quite what he bargained for. The scenery was breathtaking and the rural neighbours charming but the hard end of real farming life was another matter - mud, cold, planning regulations and unco-operative livestock. But for the reader the whole enterprise is full of delight thanks to Adam Nicolson's writing: frank, witty and touching, it is a testament to the importance of holding on to your dreams and turning them into reality.
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Atlantic Britain

Atlantic Britain

Adam Nicolson

History / Home & Garden / Religion & Spirituality

Early in the year, Adam Nicolson decided to leave his comfy life at home on a Sussex farm and go on an adventure. Equipped with the Auk, a forty-two-foot wooden ketch, and a friend who at least knew how to sail, he set off up the Atlantic coasts of the British Isles: Cornwall to Scilly, over to Pembrokeshire and the west of Ireland, to the Hebrides and its offliers, St. Kilda and North Rona, before heading on to Orkney, and finally to the Faroes, a two hundred mile leap out into the autumn winds of the North Atlantic. But the book is not just a travel journal. Adam Nicolson writes of his own yearnings for the sea and for wide open spaces. His year is strung between the competing claims of leaving and belonging, of thinking that no life could be more exhilarating than battling a big gale driving in out of the Atlantic and of wanting to be back, in harbour, safe, still and protected. Running throughout the book is a dialogue within the author himself between the attractions of...
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