In Seize the Fire, Adam Nicolson, author of the widely acclaimed God's Secretaries, takes the great naval battle of Trafalgar, fought between the British and Franco-Spanish fleets in October 1805, and uses it to examine our idea of heroism and the heroic. Is violence a necessary aspect of the hero? And daring? Why did the cult of the hero flower in the late eighteenth and nineteenth centuries in a way it hadn't for two hundred years?
"Fascinating but overly academic"
Adam Nicolson sees the Iliad and the Odyssey as the foundation myths of Greek - and our - consciousness, collapsing the passage of 4,000 years and making the distant past of the Mediterranean world as immediate to us as the events of our own time.
It is the greatest work of English prose ever written, and it is no coincidence that the translation was made at the moment “Englishness” and the English language had come into its first passionate maturity. Boisterous, elegant, subtle, majestic, finely nuanced, sonorous, and musical, the English of Jacobean England has a more encompassing idea of its own reach and scope than any before or since. It is a form of the language that drips with potency and sensitivity. The age, with all its conflicts, explains the book.
"A Committee That Actually Accomplished Something!"
Spanning England's most turbulent and dramatic decades---from the 1520s to the 1640s---Quarrel with the King tells the story of four generations of one of the greatest families in English history, the Pembrokes, and follows their glamorous trajectory across 130 years of change, ambition, resistance, and war.
"The Rise and Fall of the Pembrokes"
From lavish palace for Elizabethan nobles to dreary jailhouse for 18th-century prisoners of war, from well-manicured country house for a string of landed families to weed-choked ruin, Sissinghurst, in Kent, has become one of the most illustrious estates in England - and its future may prove to be just as intriguing as its past. In the 1930s, English poet Vita Sackville-West and her husband, Harold Nicolson, acquired land that had once been owned by Vita's ancestors.
From where does Homer come? And why does Homer matter? His epic poems of war and suffering can still speak to us of the role of destiny in life, of cruelty, of humanity and its frailty, but why they do is a mystery. How can we be so intimate with something so distant? The Mighty Dead is a magical journey of discovery across wide stretches of the past, sewn together by some of the oldest stories we have - the great ancient poems of Homer and their metaphors of life and trouble.
Prize-winning author Adam Nicolson tells the story he was born to write – the real story of England. It is the gentry that has made England what it was and, to a degree, still is. In this vivid, lively book, history has never been more readable. We may well be ‘a nation of shopkeepers’, but for generations England was a country dominated by its middling families, rooted on their land, in their locality, with a healthy interest in turning a profit from their property and a deep distrust of the centralised state. The virtues we may all believe to be part of the English culture each has their source in gentry....
"An interesting if complicated and slow read"
Sissinghurst is world famous as a place of beauty, a garden slipped into the ruins of an Elizabethan palace. But is it entirely what its creators intended? Adam Nicolson has uncovered remarkable new findings about its history as a medieval manor and on to the creation, by his grandparents Vita Sackville-West and Harold Nicolson, of a garden in a weed-strewn wreck.