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Book Cover for: Behind Closed Doors, Seth Alexander Thévoz

Behind Closed Doors

Seth Alexander Thévoz

With a keen eye for the juicy anecdote, Thévoz tells the fascinating and entertaining story of the rise, decline and resurgence of London's private members' clubs, from the late-eighteenth century to the present day. In doing so he looks at cultural and political developments beyond the clubs, revealing how while the clubs may have been products of their city and country, they also exerted significant influence on London, Britain and places far beyond.

This is a chronicle, as informative as it is entertaining, of the ups and downs of London clubland, and how it had an impact on parts of the world far from London. It is packed with amusing anecdotes and illustrative examples of the growth of this quirky, unique institution, which grew to spread around the world. London, though, with its four hundred clubs, was always at its heart.

Thévoz reveals how everything we might have thought we knew about these clubs is wrong. They may have started out as white, male, aristocratic watering holes - but that's only part of the story. All sections of society built their own clubs and lived their lives there: highbrow and lowbrow; women and men; working-class, middle-class and upper-class; international and British. The club has been central to a distinctively British form of leisure over more than three centuries.

Behind Closed Doors is a distillation of a decade of research and writing on London clubs, based on exclusive behind-the-scenes access to archives and proceedings, as well as a love of gossip and scandal.

Book Details

  • Publisher: Robinson Press
  • Publish Date: Dec 13rd, 2022
  • Pages: 304
  • Language: English
  • Dimensions: 9.29in - 6.06in - 1.50in - 1.49lb
  • EAN: 9781472146465
  • Categories: Europe - Great Britain - GeneralGeneral

About the Author

Dr Seth Alexander Thévoz is a freelance historian and journalist. He holds degrees from the Universities of Cambridge, London and Warwick, and is a former research associate of the History of Parliament Trust and Nuffield College, Oxford. He has variously been shortlisted for the Whitfield Prize for his first book, Club Government, and a British Journalism Award for his investigative work with openDemocracy. Since 2013, he has been Librarian of the National Liberal Club in London. He has been known to contribute to Private Eye in some capacity or another, allegedly.
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Praise for this book

Praise for Club Government: Seth Thévoz has undertaken the most comprehensive and rational analysis of the part clubs played and how they were enabled to do so. He has demystified some of the aura that Trollope and Disraeli tried to create around clubland.--Journal of Liberal History
Praise for Club Government: Dr Thévoz's scholarly and readable book is an outstanding and important contribution to our understanding of politics in nineteenth-century Britain.--Sherlock Holmes Journal

Praise for Club Government: Excellent . . . a carefully sourced study . . . It's an easy and educative read from someone who not only researches (and then writes) well, but whose understanding of what drives politicians to do what they do is weaved throughout the book.

Praise for Club Government: Magisterial.--Professor Sunny Singh, novelist
An entertaining glimpse into an anachronistic world--Guardian
A lively and comprehensive study of London clubs ... an entertainingly readable and well-researched glimpse into a world--Observer
[A] secretive world of arcane rules, unbelievable anecdotes and disreputable behaviour--The Times
Praise for Club Government: A fascinating forensic study of the period's networks of power.
Praise for ClubGovernment: We are in Seth Thévoz's debt for this splendid book, at once a scholarly work and an insider's account.
Praise for Club Government: This definitive study shows how smart London clubs played a crucial role in shaping mid-Victorian politics . . . Presenting a wealth of new evidence, he has produced a tour de force of scholarship.
Praise for Club Government: Skilful presentation as well as uniquely well-informed content.
Praise for Club Government: Magisterial.
Praise for Club Government: Compelling and detailed.