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Publisher's Summary

A wonderful portrait of British upper-class life in the season of 1939 - the last before the Second World War.

The season of 1939 brought all those 'in Society' to London. The young debutante daughters of the upper classes were presented to the king and queen to mark their acceptance into the new adult world of their parents. They sparkled their way through a succession of balls and parties and sporting events. 

The season brought together influential people not only from society but also from government at the various events of the social calendar. Prime Minister Neville Chamberlain chaperoned his debutante niece to weekend house parties; Lord Halifax, the foreign secretary, lunched with the headmaster of Eton; cabinet ministers encountered foreign ambassadors at balls in the houses of the great hostesses. As the hot summer drew on, the newspapers filled with ever more ominous reports of the relentless progress towards war. There was nothing to do but wait - and dance. The last season of peace was nearly over.

PLEASE NOTE: When you purchase this title, the accompanying PDF will be available in your Audible Library along with the audio.  

©1989 Anne de Courcy (P)2021 Orion Publishing Group

What listeners say about 1939: The Last Season

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Wonderful Social History

The title of this book is a little misleading. It gives the impression, as does the cover, that it is about alot of upper class girls faffing about in tulle and satin. However, it is a snapshot of England just before WW2 and a life that has since disappeared, not just for the aristocracy, but for everyone. I was particularly struck by the fact that the book is purely descriptive and not at all judgemental.

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  • Robert
  • 15-11-2021

A Dangerous Time Well Described

This was a good to very good listen I should say, with one or two avoidable pronunciation howlers and some very dodgy working class accents, verging on the
gor blimey/t'coal 'ole type. That said, the narrator reads with brio and thoughtful intonation for the most part.
More importantly, the book provides a well researched glimpse in to social history and a world about to be changed irrevocably by war. Framed within tales of debs, parties and 'the season', the author's reach is much wider than that, providing the reader/listener with a real sense of how life in the UK (from a largely London-centric POV) was conducted in that last summer of peace for several years. Wel worth listening to if 20th century history's your bag.

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  • Hibley
  • 02-09-2021

Exceeded my Expectations

This book is about lots of aspects of 1939 - not just about debutantes. It is very interesting if you like social history as it covers topics like servants, fashion and food in the run up to the start of WW2.
Well read too by a good narrator.

1 person found this helpful

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