KDL Recommends > Staff Picks > September 2007
The Perfect Summer: England 1911, Just Before the Storm
Title: The Perfect Summer: England 1911, Just Before the Storm
Author: Juliet Nicolson
Chronicling four months during 1911, an evocative portrait of an English society on the brink of turbulent change describes such milestones as the crowning of a new king, strikes that paralyzed British industry, and the first London appearance of the Ballets Russes, from the viewpoints of a debutante, a suffragette, a trade unionist, a butler, a politician, the queen, and others.
The Perfect Summer chronicles a glorious English summer a century ago when the world was on the cusp of irrevocable change. Through the tight lens of four months, Juliet Nicolson’s rich storytelling gifts rivet us with the sights, colors, and feelings of a bygone era. That summer of 1911 a new king was crowned and the aristocracy was at play, bounding from one house party to the next. But perfection was not for all. Cracks in the social fabric were showing. The country was brought to a standstill by industrial strikes. Temperatures rose steadily to more than 100 degrees; by August deaths from heatstroke were too many for newspapers to report. Drawing on material from intimate and rarely seen sources and narrated through the eyes of a series of exceptional individuals — among them a debutante, a choirboy, a politician, a trade unionist, a butler, and the Queen — The Perfect Summer is a vividly rendered glimpse of the twilight of the Edwardian era.