Henry ‘Chips’ Channon: The Diaries (Volume 1) - 1918-38 BookRegular price £35.00 Sale price £31.50
"A renegade Florence Nightingale cares for the ill in a remarkable tale of compassion and combating prejudice" The Guardian
'Breath-taking courage and compassion [...]a beautiful book' The Sunday Times
'An extraordinary tale' Evening Standard
'If I have one message with this book it's that we all have to care for one another. Today, not just in 1986. Life is about caring for each other, and I learned more about life from the dying than I ever learned from the living. It's in an elephant ride, it's in those wildflowers dancing on their way to the shared grave of two men in love, and it's in caring for that young man who just needed information without judgement.'
In 1986, 26-year-old Ruth Coker Burks visits a friend in hospital when she notices that the door to one of the patient's rooms is painted red. The nurses are reluctant to enter, drawing straws to decide who will tend to the sick person inside. Out of impulse, Ruth herself enters the quarantined space and begins to care for the young man who cries for his mother in the last moments of his life.
And in doing so, Ruth's own life changes forever.
The amazing diaries of flamboyant bisexual Chips Channon!
The unexpurgated edition of Chips Channon's remarkable diaries.
Born in Chicago in 1897, 'Chips' Channon settled in England after the Great War, married into the immensely wealthy Guinness family, and served as Conservative MP for Southend-on-Sea from 1935 until his death in 1958. His career was unremarkable. His diaries are quite the opposite.
Elegant, gossipy and bitchy by turns, they are the unfettered observations of a man who went everywhere and who knew everybody. Whether describing the antics of London society in the interwar years, or the growing scandal surrounding his close friends Edward VIII and Wallis Simpson during the abdication crisis, or the mood in the House of Commons in the lead up to the Munich crisis, his sense of drama and his eye for the telling detail are unmatched.
These are diaries that bring a whole epoch vividly to life.
A heavily abridged and censored edition of the diaries was published in 1967. Only now, sixty years after Chips's death, can an extensive text be shared.
'Chips perfectly embodied the qualities vital to the task: a capacious ear for gossip, a neat turn of phrase, a waspish desire to tell all, and easy access to the highest social circles across Europe.[...] Blending Woosterish antics with a Lady Bracknellesque capacity for acid comment. Replete with fascinating insights.'
Jesse Norman, Financial Times
The greatest British diarist of the 20th century. A feast of weapons-grade above-stairs gossip. Now, finally, we are getting the full text, in all its bitchy, scintillating detail, thanks to the journalist and historian Simon Heffer, whose editing of this vast trove of material represents an astonishing achievement. Channon is a delightful guide, by turns frivolous and profound. -- Ben Macintyre ― The Times
Wickedly entertaining . . . scrupulously edited and annotated by Simon Heffer. Genuinely shocking, and still revelatory. -- Andrew Marr ― New Statesman
The between-the-wars diaries of the romping, social-climbing MP Henry Channon make for an irresistible, saucy read. There are plenty of anecdotes, bons mots and delicious tales of scandal . . . one of the most impressive editions of our time. ― The Telegraph
Channon's chief virtue as a writer is his abiding awareness that dullness is the worst sin of all, and for this reason they're among the most glittering and enjoyable [diaries] ever written ― The Observer
Sensation, spite, social climbing, high society, self-indulgence, sex; Chips Channon had the raw materials to make his uncensored diaries newsworthy a century after he began them. They shock, repel and compel because they don't conceal . . . He is calculating, selfish, amoral, vain, ambitious and deluded, and more of us should follow his example. Not in the living, but in the recording of it. -- Jenni Russell ― The Times
Although Channon was frequently wrong and occasionally repellent, there is no denying his talent as a diarist or the historical value of his diaries. Lacking pomposity or dissemblance, his entries are often witty, sometimes perceptive, and always fascinating ― Air Mail
The diaries are fascinating and sometimes a key historical record. And the man could write. ― Daily Mirror