THE AGE OF ILLUSION by Ronald Biythe


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Lord Curzon asked, on observing naked Tommies bathing in the sea, ""How is it that I have never been informed that the lower orders had such white skins?"" This lack of awareness for his countrymen strangely qualified him to take charge of the State Funeral for England's Unknown Soldier of WWI. From the anachronistic Curzon in 1920 to Winston Churchill on the eve of WWII, the author's point -- that the '20's and '30's were England's ""age of illusion"" -- is well proved. It was an ra of change in public morality, but the incredible Sir William Joynson-Hicks pursued sex out of cafes, across the stages, away from the art galleries and on to pyres of burning books. Amy Johnson, a rather substandard version of Amelia Earhart, was puffed by the newspapers as the epitome of the new woman but exemplifies just how unprepared the heiresses of the suffragettes were. The violence of the changes might have been softened by a strong symbol of continuity, but the popular Edward VIII skip-jumped the throne. Oswald Mosely reflected, the Nazi chaos in microcosm on the island that Neville Chamberlain Prime Ministered with cloistered sense of ""we/I"". The author provides the kind of overview for territorial England that Allen in Only Yesterday and Leighton in The Aspirin Age have the U.S. He does it with the bite of fine phrase making and the materials available to one who once worked in a large public library. Characters, Kings and Courts that nickname an age.

Pub Date: March 19th, 1964
Publisher: oughton Mifflin