Now a major ITV drama series, Mr Selfridge is a tale of Edwardian excess and the rise and fall of maverick retailer Harry Gordon Selfridge. In 1909 London's first dedicated department store opened in a huge blaze of publicity. Zola called Selfridges a 'great cathedral of shopping', and its high priest was Harry Gordon Selfridge, father of modern retailing, philanderer, gambler, dandy and showman. Selfridge's talents were for shopping and seduction: and as his shop grew in success, so did his list of mansions, yachts, racehorses - and conquests. He lived through the turmoil of the First World War and the glittering excesses of the 1920s before losing millions at French gaming tables and being ousted from his store in 1939.
To this irrepressible man, 'the store was a theatre with the curtain going up at 9 o'clock': Mr Selfridge reveals the captivating story of what happened before the curtain fell.
©2008 Lindy Woodhead (P)2012 AudioGO Ltd
Up at the top. It has been a while since I have listened to a book that both entertained and, informed me.
The book was a journey through turn of the 20th century England and, to an extent Europe and the US. Mr. Selfridge kept me on my toes as he did his staff and, the shoppers of a now forgotten age. Did you know that television was invented and indeed used in the 1930's. In Mr. Selfridtge I saw woman's fashion tuned on its head from a dress that did not dare show an ankle to one that barely covered necessities. Every time we are entertained by newpaper ads filled with the latest gadgets Harry Selfridge lives behind them. We can blame him as well for our forming wants rather than needs. It is also a cautionary tale as he skipped across the wild and extravagent jewel filled hedonistic life of his middle years to end up as an old man whose only riches were his memories. But what memories they were. Mr. Selfridge was a well loved and considerate boss but he never provided his employees with any sort of a retirement plan. He felt that they should each provide their own. He never followed his own advise. Harry Selfridge was in many, many respects not a nice man. He was one of the most complex individuals I have met in books for many a year.He was the little boy who was very, very good or horrid.
Too many favorites. The TV show cannot give the full extent of his escapades. I would have loved to have seen his office window which was signed with a diamond tipped pen. Every celebrity who visited his store signed the window. it was distroyed in a bombing in WW2.
No, too much. Like eating a rich dessert all at once.
If you like history and are fond of rogues this is the book for you. Kudos to suthor Woodhead for her excellent, tntensive research.
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