The Verneys: A True Story of Love, War, and Madness in Seventeenth-century England
The remarkable story of one English family during the tumultuous seventeenth century, as revealed through their original letters and documents, which paint an extraordinarily accurate and detailed picture of life in England, Europe, and even the American colonies.
"To know the Verneys is to know the seventeenth century," Adrian Tinniswood writes in this brilliant new book. The Verney family's centuries-long practice of saving every piece of paper that came into their possession-amassing some 100,000 pages of family and estate letters and documents-resulted in the largest and most complete private collection of seventeenth-century correspondence in the Western world to date.
Given exclusive access to these documents, Tinniswood draws a sweeping portrait of the Verneys and the world among Buckinghamshire gentry in which they lived. In vivid detail Tinniswood introduces us to generations of the family: We meet Edmund Verney, King Charles I's standard bearer, who died in battle during the English Civil War in 1642 (his hand still clutching the king's standard). Edmund's son and heir, Ralph, struggled to hold the family together after his father's death, but lost the respect of his brothers and sisters because he alone of the family supported the Parliamentarian cause. Parliament, however, suspicious of his royalist connections, hounded him and his family into exile. Ralph's sons fared both better and worse than their father: Jack went to Syria and made a fortune, while Edmund married a girl who was rich, beautiful, and deeply in love with him-but within months of the marriage she succumbed to insanity.
Rigorously researched, intensely insightful, and alive with drama, The Verneysis narrative history at its very best: fascinating, surprising, and enthralling.
What people are saying - Write a review
LibraryThing ReviewUser Review - lsg - LibraryThing
This was an extremely impressive book. The author made copious use of the letters and other documents from the Verney family, but also supplemented that with extensive research into social aspects of ... Read full review
THE VERNEYS: A True Story of Love, War, and Madness in Seventeenth-Century EnglandUser Review - Kirkus
Absorbing chronicle of a prominent 17th-century English family. With characteristic aplomb, British architectural historian Tinniswood (By Permission of Heaven, 2004, etc.) adjusts his gaze to focus ... Read full review
Map of the British Isles xi
Francis Turns Turk
A Little Fading Honor
The Best of Men
Fortunes Wheel Is Ever Turning
This World Is Full of Changes
Is Mend Me or End Me
Perfect Empress of My Heart
All the Physic in the World
She Doth Not Rave
The Levant Trader