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Long Life Hardcover – March 9, 1998

3.3 out of 5 stars 4 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com Review

Nigel Nicolson has been many things to many people, but throughout his life he has managed to remain his own man. The son of Harold Nicolson and the notorious Vita Sackville-West, Nicolson apparently inherited his parents' gift for writing; his autobiography, Long Life, is an illuminating chronicle of a life that spans eight decades. For aficionados of the Bloomsbury group, Nicolson obligingly offers up details of his parents' marriage, his mother's relationships with Violet Trefusis and Virginia Woolf, and his father's own indiscretion with a fellow (male) guest at a house party. Those interested in Nicolson's publishing career will find plenty of food for thought in his account of the house he founded with partner George Weidenfeld and the books they championed--most notably, Vladimir Nabokov's scandalous Lolita. Finally, readers who know Nicolson primarily as a war historian are rewarded with his reminiscences of his time as a soldier in North Africa and Italy during World War II--experiences that became the foundation of his excellent biography of Field Marshal Earl Alexander.

Love, war, and literature--could you ask for any more from one man? In the case of Nigel Nicolson, yes. Throw in politics--Nicolson was a member of Parliament in the 1950s--family, and famous friends, all charmingly depicted, and you have an extraordinary life encapsulated between the covers of one book. Readers of Long Life will be wishing the same to Nicolson and hoping for another installment.

From Library Journal

Nicolson, the younger son of Harold Nicolson and Vita Sackville-West and author of Portrait of a Marriage (LJ 10/15/73), has assembled the many experiences of his life into a fascinating memoir. Instead of a straight chronological work, Nicolson has chosen a thematic approach to his life. The chapters relate a varied life including friendship with Virginia Woolf when he was 11, attending Eton and Oxford, serving in World War II, launching a political career, and cofounding the publishing house Weidenfeld & Nicolson, among other accomplishments. Readers with literary interests will be fascinated by his thoughts on the writing of Portrait of a Marriage, publishing Lolita, and the relationship of his mother to Woolf. Nicolson's narrative flows with a charm that easily draws the reader into his life. A marvelous memoir of a rich, multifaceted life; recommended for all libraries.?Ronald Ray Ratliff, Chapman H.S. Lib., KS
Copyright 1998 Reed Business Information, Inc.
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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 294 pages
  • Publisher: Putnam Adult; First Edition edition (March 9, 1998)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0399143637
  • ISBN-13: 978-0399143632
  • Product Dimensions: 6.3 x 1.1 x 9.3 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 3.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,519,935 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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By A Customer on March 22, 1999
Format: Hardcover
Much of Long Life will be familiar to regular readers of The Spectator, but Nicolson's book is delightful nonetheless. From his father he inherited the ability to write well, and utterly without pretension; from his mother he learned how to make words and phrases sing. Nicolson does not shed his English reserve, but we learn just enough of him and his life to want to know much more. Somehow it is reassuring to think of him sitting in the gazebo at Sissinghurst, gazing out over the flower-ringed moat in the summertime. To Nigel: an even longer life!
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Format: Hardcover
I bought this book because I long ago read and admired Mr Nicolson's articles in The Spectator, in a column named Long Life. I enjoyed this book very much, not only because Mr Nicolson is a fine writer, but also because he has led such an interesting and well-balanced life. He has been an author, a publisher, a soldier and a politician. This book is important also because it relates events about people like Virginia Woolf and Nabokov which one will not find in scholarly tomes about them. Mr Nicolson has been in the thick of some of the more famous controversies of 20th century cultural history, such as the publication in Britain of the novel Lolita and the letters of Mrs Woolf.

Wonderful read.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Nigel Nicolson MBE OBE was an incredible man. He wrote lovingly about his parents' unconventional marriage but he also writes about his own life in this book. He writes about growing up with nannies and privilege that people like me won't get to experience. His experiences during World War II earned him an MBE which he plays down. He loved both his parents and brother Benedict as well. He writes about his marriage and children. He writes lovingly about America as well. He also is very open and honest about his divorce and failed marriage. I think people who would be interested to know Nigel Nicolson who wasn't the son of parents who engaged in homosexual relationships. His mother was a lover of Virgnia Woolfe and Violet Keppel Trefusis. He is still a man who fought in World War II for his country and became both a politician and an author and editor of Virginia Woolfe's diaries as well. He writes lovingly about the home of Sissinghurst Castle where his parents devoted so much time in restoration and where he lived until his death as well.
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By A Customer on July 17, 1998
Format: Hardcover
Very pretentious. Nicolson comes from the upper middle class in England and writes as if the reader should be familiar with the mores and values of his class. His continuous name-dropping (2/3 of whom I have never heard of), the occasional French phrase and references to places, ideas and times in an idiom that puzzles the reader who does not mix in the same circles shows that Nicolson has written his book for the insider. NOT RECOMMENDED.
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