Antonia Fraser's memoir describes growing up in the 1930s and 1940s but its real concern is with her growing love of History. The fascination began as a child - and developed into an enduring passion; as she writes, 'for me, the study of History has always been an essential part of the enjoyment of life'. Born Antonia Pakenham, the eldest of the eight children of the future Lord and Lady Longford, her childhood was spent in Oxford, where her father was a don at Christ Church. Evacuation at the beginning of the war to a romantic Elizabethan manor house nearby was an inspiration for historical imaginings. There were adventures in Anglo-Ireland at Dunsany Castle and Pakenham Hall, each offering her treasured links to the past which became private obsessions. North Oxford wartime life included four years as one of the few girls then admitted to the Dragon School for boys, followed by time at a convent school after her family's conversion to Catholicism. Her father joined the Labour Government in 1945 as a Minister, which provided an odd background for exploits such as working in a Bond Street hat shop and a season as a self- made debutante. A job in publishing, by a fortunate coincidence, followed Oxford University and the book ends with the dramatic leap forward with the publishing of Mary Queen of Scots which became a worldwide bestseller to general amazement (including the author's).
In a captivating memoir, historian Antonia Fraser describes growing up, one of eight children. Born in Oxford, where her father, Frank Packenham, was a don at Christ Church, she enjoyed an idyllically happy childhood, despite the intervening war years. At the start of the war, the family spent a year with friends in an Elizabethan manor house, which, she says, ignited her interest in history. Surrounded by her parents’ intellectual friends, and at the Dragon School, she acquired a rigorous education that including playing ‘rugger’ After leaving St Mary’s Ascot aged sixteen, Antonia fairly whizzes through her time selling hats, and doing ‘the season’, before going up to Oxford, where her father was her tutor. After graduating, she fortuitously landed a job with young publisher George Weidenfeld, and met and married Hugh Fraser MP. Antonia ends her memoir with the publication of Mary Queen of Scots, and the rest, as they say, is history!
Publication date: 08/01/2015
Publisher: Weidenfeld & Nicolson an imprint of Orion Publishing Co
|Publication date:||8th January 2015|
|Publisher:||Weidenfeld & Nicolson an imprint of Orion Publishing Co|
|Genres:||Biography / Autobiography,|
Antonia Fraser is the author of many widely acclaimed historical works including the biographies, CROMWELL: OUR CHIEF OF MEN, KING CHARLES II and THE GUNPOWDER PLOT (CWA Non-Fiction Gold Dagger; St Louis Literary Award). She has written five highly praised books which focus on women in history, THE WEAKER VESSEL: WOMEN'S LOT IN SEVENTEENTH-CENTURY ENGLAND (Wolfson Award for History, 1984), THE WARRIOR QUEENS: BOADICEA¿S CHARIOT, THE SIX WIVES OF HENRY VIII, MARIE ANTOINETTE: THE JOURNEY (Franco-British Literary Prize 2001), which was made into a film by Sofia Coppola in 2006 and now most recently LOVE AND LOUIS XIV: THE WOMEN IN ...More About Antonia Fraser