Trying to Please

Overview

His nanny said-and his life has reflected an appetite for life, enlivened by a sense of theater. John Julius Norwich's equally famous parents frequently entertained everyone of note in Britain, France, or the United States, including their good friend Winston Churchill, H.G. Wells, and Hilaire Belloc, who sang ancient French songs in an old, cracked voice.

Trying to Please is an engaging and often amusing memoir that breathes fresh life into the worlds he describes. From a ...

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Trying To Please: A Memoir

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Overview

His nanny said-and his life has reflected an appetite for life, enlivened by a sense of theater. John Julius Norwich's equally famous parents frequently entertained everyone of note in Britain, France, or the United States, including their good friend Winston Churchill, H.G. Wells, and Hilaire Belloc, who sang ancient French songs in an old, cracked voice.

Trying to Please is an engaging and often amusing memoir that breathes fresh life into the worlds he describes. From a walking tour of the monasteries on Mt. Athos to a camel trek across the Sahara, the book shows how his passions-for history, for travel, for music-have combined with simpler pleasures like friendship and a close family. His recollections evoke a world now extinct, such as a Beirut of cloudless sunshine and moonlit dinners where eleven different religions peacefully coexisted.

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Editorial Reviews

The Wall Street Journal
John Julius Norwich has lived a charmed life and would be the first to acknowledge it…. In Trying to Please [he] … records his life…. There are grim events—infidelity, divorce, deaths—but there is much more travel, discovery and insouciance.
Boston Sunday Globe
[Norwich] writes ... with typical cheerfulness.... This is a genial, old-fashioned book. Its value lies…in its anecdotes and details about great persons and places from a vanished era.
Booklist (ALA)
To the superficial reader, Norwich's recounting of his life offers a surfeit of name-dropping, but ultimately his intelligence and sound taste shine through. Additionally, more than a few of his well-crafted anecdotes about personalities and institutions he encountered may provoke outright laughter. These memoirs illuminate the history of the postwar era with insight into both politics and the arts.
The Washington Times
“…Mr. Norwich is clearly very much his own man, not just interesting for being Duff Cooper’s son-- Trying to Please is a success, for it is indeed attractive and winning--all in all a very pleasant read and, with its unusually modest price, a bargain to boot.”--(Martin Rubin )
Jonathan Yardley
…[a] thoroughly delightful memoir…Trying to Please is an absolutely delicious book, in part because Norwich writes so fluidly and engagingly, in part because he has been to so many places and done so many interesting things, and in no small part because he happens to be the only child of one of the most famous and mythologized couples of the first half of the 20th century.
—The Washington Post
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781604190311
  • Publisher: Axios Press
  • Publication date: 9/16/2010
  • Pages: 400
  • Product dimensions: 6.30 (w) x 9.10 (h) x 1.20 (d)

Table of Contents

1 Beginnings 1

2 Childhood 23

3 America and Eton 53

4 The Embassy 83

5 Strasbourg and the Navy 111

6 Oxford, Marriage and the Foreign Office 137

7 Belgrade 171

8 Beirut 197

9 Watershed 231

10 The Mountain and the Desert 253

11 The Stone Stops Rolling 269

12 The Moss Begins to Gather 295

13 The Pattern Fixed 313

14 Varied Pursuits 341

15 Work and Play 363

Index 399

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