Shopping, Seduction & Mr. Selfridge

Shopping, Seduction & Mr. Selfridge

by Lindy Woodhead
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Shopping, Seduction & Mr. Selfridge by Lindy Woodhead

If you lived at Downton Abbey, you shopped at Selfridge’s.

Harry Gordon Selfridge was a charismatic American who, in twenty-five years working at Marshall Field’s in Chicago, rose from lowly stockboy to a partner in the business which his visionary skills had helped to create. At the turn of the twentieth century he brought his own American dream to London’s Oxford Street where, in 1909, with a massive burst of publicity, Harry opened Selfridge’s, England’s first truly modern built-for-purpose department store. Designed to promote shopping as a sensual and pleasurable experience, six acres of floor space offered what he called “everything that enters into the affairs of daily life,” as well as thrilling new luxuries—from ice-cream soda to signature perfumes. This magical emporium also featured Otis elevators, a bank, a rooftop garden with an ice-skating rink, and a restaurant complete with orchestra—all catering to customers from Anna Pavlova to Noel Coward. The store was “a theatre, with the curtain going up at nine o’clock.” Yet the real drama happened off the shop floor, where Mr. Selfridge navigated an extravagant world of mistresses, opulent mansions, racehorses, and an insatiable addiction to gambling. While his gloriously  iconic store still stands, the man himself would ultimately come crashing down.

The true story that inspired the Masterpiece series on PBS • Mr. Selfridge is a co-production of ITV Studios and Masterpiece

“Enthralling . . . [an] energetic and wonderfully detailed biography.”—London Evening Standard
“Will change your view of shopping forever.”—Vogue (U.K.)

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780812985047
Publisher: Random House Publishing Group
Publication date: 02/12/2013
Pages: 336
Sales rank: 330,213
Product dimensions: 5.10(w) x 7.90(h) x 0.90(d)

About the Author

Lindy Woodhead worked in international fashion public relations for more than twenty-five years. During the late 1980s she spent two years as the first woman on the board of directors of Harvey Nichols. Woodhead retired from fashion in 2000 to concentrate on writing. Her first book, War Paint, a biography of Helena Rubinstein and Elizabeth Arden, was published in 2003. She is a regular contributor to The Spectator and The Times Saturday Magazine. A Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts, she is married with two sons and lives in southwest London and southwest France.

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Shopping, Seduction & Mr Selfridge 4.1 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 8 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
The TV series took bits and pieces from the events in this book and wove them together into historical fiction. This book talks not only of Mr. Selfridge and the store, but the changes the Industrial Revolution made, changes in women's clothing styles, the changes that came about because of the World War, etc. If you like reading about the late 1800s and early 1900s and the many changes that were taking place in society it is fascinating. If you wanted a book that focused mainly on Mr. Selfridge and the activities of his family you will be disappointed.
ProfessorMS More than 1 year ago
Very well-written, detailed history of an era and a man. Growing up in Chicago, I have been a long-time customer of Marshall Field's and had heard of Mr. Selfridge, but had not really developed an interest in him until I happened to catch an episode of the PBS series. At first, I thought that the book would be yet another condensation of a man's life and would not have a comprehensive portrait of the time period but this book was richly detailed, extremely well-written and researched. It illustrates the history of the retail environment, the context of the time, and delves into the rise and fall of a remarkable man who ultimately gave away all that he had spent his life creating. It is insightful and  well worth reading. I think it is much better than the series that was based on the book,  so much so that I wish they had  kept the integrity of the book and of the man's story.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I have really enjoyed this book. The pictures are great. Not a snoozer. Lots of information!!! Love it!!! If you like the show you will like this!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I had never herd of George Selfridge until I accidently saw an episode of Selfridge on PBS. Seeing the episode got me interested in finding out about Selfridge, so I purchased Shopping, Seduction & Mr. Selfridge. I found the book very informative and learned quite a bit about the man and the development of the retail industry. Selfridge was certainly a man ahead of his time. Lindy Woodhead does a great job of bringing the man to life. I was especially fascinated by all the historical figures he came into contact with and who played a part in the development of his department store. Figures like Anna Pavlova, Arthur Conan Doyle, Charles Lindberg and many others played a part in his life. The book was well written. My only complaint was the author seemed to resort to a lot of name-dropping of many people of whom I not knowledge or interest. All in all a good read and a helpful accompaniment to the PBS series.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I have found the book enjoyable. The historical aspect of the book is interesting. I also like comparing the book to the tv show Mr. Selfridge.
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