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Ferdinand Mount was born in 1939. For many years he was a columnist at the Spectator and then the Daily Telegraph and The Sunday Times. In between, he was head of the Downing Street Policy Unit and then editor of the Times Literary Supplement. He is now a prize-winning novelist, author of the bestselling memoir Cold Cream, and most recently the controversial The New Few. He lives in London.
Kiss Me Goodbye, Ferdinand Mount’s personal memoir of his mysterious millionaire Aunt Munca, dances with evocative detail - of people, place and period - and is an affectionate, fascinating delight. Elegantly appointed mansions. Upper echelon entertaining. Exuberant outings in a Rolls-Royce - these are among the author’s early memories (from 1945) of his enigmatic, affectionate Aunt Betty, who asks to be called Munca after a Beatrix Potter mouse. But through time, and little by little, big questions begin to gnaw - where did Aunt Munca’s adopted daughter go, and why? Why did she force her daughter to break-off her engagement to David Dimbleby? Why did Munca never mention her first marriage? Having seen “just enough through the half-open door into the next room”, the author cannot resist entering the next room: “I had tugged the thread and I could not resist following it to the end.” And so an exhilarating quest to untangle Munca’s truths begins. It’s a thrilling edge-of-your-seat journey as Mount uncovers documents, photos and articles that reveal the many fabrications of his mysterious Aunt Munca, and other family members. The tangled threads take tenacious Mount from mid-century high society to the back streets of industrial Sheffield, and wind-up with an unexpectedly joyous find.
The Tears of the Rajas is a sweeping, epic history of the British in India, seen through the experiences of a single family, the Lows, ancestors of the author, Ferdinand Mount, and also of Prime Minister David Cameron. When he was growing up, Ferdinand Mount used to wonder what stories the various Indian artefacts his family possessed from the days of the British rule of India could tell. Many years before his Aunt Ursie had written a family history of the Lows of India which was largely ignored by the family. When the story of the Lows recently hit the headlines after it transpired that these same relatives were those of David Cameron, and that they were responsible for a number of atrocities in India, Ferdinand Mount set out to uncover the truth behind their lives. What emerged was an evocative, intense and thrilling history of 19th century British rule in India. Vividly and poignantly capturing the lives of one family, Mount tells the story of some of the most dramatic and terrible moments of the Indian Raj, from the mutinies, battles, massacres and famines, to the ineptitude, folly and sometimes deviousness of British rulers themselves. An epic history, full of stories of love, war, treachery and intrigue, Tears of the Rajas will surely become one of the classics of its kind.
Ferdinand Mount has been fascinated by the great thinkers and politicians who have shaped human history over the past two millennia In this fascinating, and provocative book, he examines the proposals for a political theory from a number of widely different historical figures. Twelve key people, from the great orator and statesman of Ancient Greece (Pericles) to the inspiration of the founding of the state of Pakistan (Muhammad Iqbal) we take a colourful and rip-roaring journey through the historical figures who have both inspired and provoked Mount in equal measure. The lives of men such as Jesus Christ, Rousseau, Adam Smith, Edmund Burke, and Thomas Jefferson are discussed and comparisons are drawn between the various approaches each figure promoted in their works - whether philosophical, or political theories. For those wishing to be guided by Mount's choices and be swept along by his brilliantly erudite prose, this will be a particular enjoyable read. Lots of colour, humour and passion governed all these people careers and Mount brings them to life like no one else can. Praise for the international-bestselling Tears of the Rajas:- 'Mount is a skilled and fluent writer who does his subject justice' --Literary Review 'Mount relates this remarkable story with a gentle wit, a lightness of touch, a boyish enthusiasm as well as a genius for the telling pen-portrait... It is a remarkable story, and cumulatively amounts to an epic panorama of British Indian history much more substantial than the 'collection of Indian tales, a human jungle book', which Mount modestly describes as his aim in the introduction.' --William Dalrymple, The Spectator 'What [Mount] provides instead is of far greater value: a perceptive antidote to nationalistic prejudicial thinking, and an opportunity for a greater understanding of the aftereffects of British imperialism in some of the world's most troubled regions.' Sunday Times 'Although Tears of the Rajas is replete with stirring tales of adventure, it is a deeply humane book. Mount's heart is at all times with the people of India, whose lives are turned upside down by blundering attempts at modernisation.' The Times
'A sheer delight' Times Literary Supplement Ferdinand Mount has spent many years writing articles, columns and reviews for prestigious magazines, newspapers and journals. Whether reviewing great published works by some of England's finest authors and poets (both alive and dead) including Kingsley Amis, John Osborne, John le Carre, Rudyard Kipling, E.M. Forster and Alan Bennett. He also analysed the works of a variety of our Masters covering the past four hundred years such as, of course, William Shakespeare, Charles Dickens, John Keats, Thomas Hardy, Samuel Taylor Coleridge and Samuel Pepys. Whether it be holding up to account the writings of Winston Churchill, or celebrating the much-loved poems of Siegfried Sassoon, each essay reproduced in full here has been carefully chosen by Mount to weave a unique tapestry of the wealth of writings that have helped shape his own respected career as an author and political commentator. For anyone interested and passionate about writing and poetry across the centuries in the British Isles, this book will be a very welcome guide to the best one can pick up and read.
Aldous Cotton, commonly known as Gus, a civil servant of dry and melancholy humour, stands observing the November dawn from his North London doorstep. His calm existence is about to be disrupted by two events: the invasion of that unloved piece of imperial territory on the other side of the world, known as the Selkirk Strip; and the arrival of his wife's mysterious cousin, Alan Breck Stewart, a survivor of mysterious pasts, unwitting provoker of destruction. While the entire country embarks on a patriotic binge, Alan Breck Stewart pursues his own peculiar path, leaving behind him a wake of sexual disaster and personal disintegration. Splenetic journalists, strong-willed women, tortuously bland civil servants and West Country Catholic gentry - all come under Ferdinand Mount's finely ground microscope in this tragi-comedy or manners and morals. And in Alan Breck Stewart he has created one of those extraordinary characters who burst from the page in embarrassing abandon.
'We're a group, like in Mary McCarthy', says one of the girls in the Clique. On the other hand, their style may remind you more of Evelyn Waugh's Bright Young Things. And their know-all panache has a touch of J. D. Salinger's quiz-kid Glass family. But The Clique is unmistakably a satire for its own time. Gunby Goater, an up-and-coming reporter, 'hot or at any rate warmish' from the provinces, arrives in Fleet Street, keen for a taste of the fabulous Sixties. His assignment at the deathbed of the Last Great Englishman leads him into a series of adventures with the Clique, who alternately humiliate and delight him. From the author of The Man Who Rode Ampersand, The Clique is a novel of exuberant wit trained sharply, though not without affection, upon a variety of phonies, conmen, topers and hacks.
In this updated edition to his provocative and ruthlessly frank book, Ferdinand Mount argues that there is a new class divide in Britain which is just as vicious and hard to get rid of as the old one.
Pheasant-shooting on the Wiltshire downs; East-West conflict in a Berlin night club; infighting in city boardrooms; and sexual skirmishing in the Kensington outback, on the fringes of Winkhill golf club and in a smart Basque resort are some of the elements of this novel. The story concerns the Whale family: Hervey, a less than brilliant Tory Minister; his father, an amiable retired Brigadier; his vague wife Cynthia, and their son George, a young man working in a merchant bank. The Whales are solid, passive and prone to daydreams but their respectable facade threatens to crumble when external forces infiltrate their family unit. Very Like a Whale, Ferdinand Mount's first novel, displays quiet wit and elegance as he explores the underlying theme of power in personal relations.
Cold Cream is a sparkling autobiography in the great tradition: wonderfully perceptive, exquisitely rendered and bursting with characters and anecdotes of every shade and hue. A tender, moving and witty portrait of Ferdinand Mount's family and his early life, it follows his bumbling path from his decadent upbringing in the world of 'Hobohemia' to his schooldays at Eton, and from the boozy depths of Fleet Street in the 60s to his years at the vortex of Downing Street in the 80s as speech writer (much to his own bemusement) for Margaret Thatcher. Every sentence radiates with fondness, intelligence and humour in this utterly charming anthology of an eccentric and colourful cast of people who defined their generation.
How does Jeremiah Mount, the dealer in pornography, come to be the lover of the Duchess of Albemarle and the colleague of the great Samuel Pepys? In Pepys' Diary, Jem Mount plays a shadowy role, but in Jem's own memories Sam looms large. Friends and drinking partners at first, they become vicious rivals for fame and women. In his struggle to survive and triumph over his adversary in a rackety world, Jemm stumbles into many trades: chemist, butler, soldier, secretary and, now and then, lover.This 'newly discovered autobiography' - with its disconcerting echoes of our own time - takes its dubious hero from the shaky days of Cromwellian England, through the unbuttoned license of the Restoration, to the panic of Monmouth's Rebellion and the Jamaica sugar boom.
British politician and writer, Ferdinand Mount, challenges contemporary beliefs about society and family-including the history of divorce, childcare, and the concept of the nuclear family. In Subversive Family, politician and writer Ferdinand Mount argues that society is shaped by a series of powerful revolutionary movements, the leaders of which, whether they be political ideologues, theologians, feudal lords, or feminist writers, have done their utmost to render the family a subordinate instrument of their purpose but that, in spite of it all, the family endures. Mount maintains that many widely held contemporary beliefs about the family are based on a willful misreading of the evidence: among the myths are that arranged marriages were the norm until this century; that child care is a modern innovation; that in earlier societies children were treated as expendable objects; that the nuclear family is not a 20th-century invention; and that romantic love never existed before the troubador poets glorified adultery. Divorce, he contends, is no great novelty either, he shows that in many times and places it has been almost as easy to obtain as it is today. Far from diminishing the general desire and respect for family life, Mount contends that the provision for divorce has been popularly regarded as an integral part of any sensible system of family law. This study should jolt the reader into a re-assessment of one of the most familiar and ancient institutions, and encourage greater consideration for policies today that support the family.
George Gordon, cousin to Byron, heir to a desolate Scottish estate, superficially enjoys a brilliant career: he dines at Malmaison with Napoleon and Josephine, excavates the Acropolis, shares a night in a hayloft with Metternich, inherits the Earldom of Aberdeen, marries two beautiful women, becomes Foreign Secretary twice and then ultimately Prime Minister. Yet Lord Aberdeen remains an awkward, tragic figure, increasingly at odds with his times, shattered by repeated bereavements, loathed, abused and eventually driven out of office by his fellow countrymen for his doomed efforts to prevent the Crimean War.