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on December 9, 2011
This book was released in the US earlier this week; I received my copy today and spent a couple of hours this afternoon looking through it. I wanted to review it right away in case anyone is considering buying it as a present for a Downton Abbey fan. It's a beautiful book and one that I'd have been thrilled to get as a gift. It's printed on thick, high quality paper and the photography is stunning. I would note that as Series 2 has not yet aired in the US, if you want to see the show without knowing anything in advance, some of the text is spoilerish here and there. The first instance that I found came at the end of Chapter 2, "Society." The photos are from both Series 1 and 2. There are also a number of "behind the scenes" photos. There are no extensive profiles of or interviews with the principal actors, if you are particularly interested in that, just short (1-2 sentence) snippets, and quotes now and again. There is some history to provide context for the fictional world of Downton (American heiresses marrying into the aristocracy, including Julian Fellow's inspiration for Cora, for example) as well as some information related to the series' production and filming. I did learn things from this that I hadn't heard before, and particularly enjoyed Julian Fellow's stories about ancestors of his who (unknowingly) inspired or gave him ideas for scenes and characters. Fans who have researched and read a lot about the Edwardian era will not likely learn anything new from the text, but I bought the book mainly for the photographs and information about the series, particularly so was not disappointed at all. In summary, I can't imagine any Downton fan not liking this book! The suggestions for further reading are good, though the section on life below stairs could be more extensive. I would second the recommendation of Juliet Gardiner's Manor House: Life in an Edwardian Country House (listed as The Edwardian Country House, its UK title) for anyone interested in the era's country house life - likewise very beautifully done.
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TOP 500 REVIEWERon December 17, 2011
This is a handsome book, whether or not you have seen the Downton Abbey series or not - it will make you want to. One can see how this series has enthralled and enchanted many.
It contains sections on family life, society, change, life in service, style, house and estate, romance, WWI and behind the scenes. The writer, Julian Fellowes pens an eloquent introduction that sums up the series and book perfectly..."the shadows of what used to be". A page of portraits introduces us to the characters.

This is a story not only of the filming, but a way of life - in fact two ways of life - the aristocracy and those in service. It is well explained, in an interesting manner, the difficulties and advantages both classes had. We learn how and why American heiresses became the wives of many of the English aristocracy and what the differences in philosophies of the two were.

The social history is described, again of both classes and why they behaved as they did. There are historical pictures and inserts that are relevant. We learn so completely what this period of Edwardian history was like and also how the filming of this series was accomplished. The creating of the costumes is thoroughly detailed. There are some comments from the actors themselves, but the star of this book is the era itself.

This is a book for Anglophiles, fans of Downton Abbey, those interested in English history especially of the Edwardian- WWI period and a social commentary on the English classes, It would be appropriate for anyone interested in filming and costume making also - a book that absolutely countless readers would enjoy.
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on June 5, 2017
If you are a fan of the series, this is a must read book. Very enjoyable, great pics, and easy to read. Interesting background info that made the series even more enjoyable.
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on December 13, 2012
I love this series and was excited to read more about the show and the history of the period and characters portrayed. I found the content very informative.

I purchased the kindle version and later found at least one of the photos wasn't in the kindle version. I think the ebook versions should be clearly described if there are edits and omitted text or omitted photos that are in the print versions. Ideally technology should adapt pictorial works in full glory for ebook versions or the publisher should abstain from selling an ebook without full disclosure.

I will think twice before purchasing any ebook version of an illustrated book. I do wish Amazon would disclose any variations between the print and kindle versions.
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on September 21, 2017
Wonderful, eye-popping delight continued as a PBS series! Thanks---
Great to have a written account and photos in this great book.
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on September 1, 2016
A nicely illustrated, light read. It is full of facts, stories, and snippets about the real history of the house & family as well as the cast and characters of the show. Easy to pick up and read just a short section -- or to marathon your way straight through. Chances are you'll be back to re-read it!
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And full of lovely photos and period illustrations to boot. This book cover the period thru Season 2, but there are only mild spoilers.

Lots of stuff on "service" and where in the hierarchy each job fell. And just as much on "society" such as how American heiresses became known as "buccaneers".

Beautiful, lovely book, good to look at when you need a quick Downton "fix".
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on January 18, 2014
I love history, especially the everyday lives of people in a particular time period. This book tells us about how the people really lived and how events in history affected them. There were monumental changes effected by World War I, and the story shows them beautifully. But the commentary in this Kindle Edition of The World of Downton Abbey further fleshes out and clarifies the whys behind many of the changes. I addition, the book explains the behind the scene making of the series and introduces us to the men and women who make the characters come alive on screen. Some of the descriptions were so eloquent and lyrical that I found myself in the middle of the servants quarters or on a battle field or in the grandeur of the abbey. Beautifully written and eagerly devoured by this Anglophile!
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on March 7, 2017
Great picture book and conversation piece. A must for the shows true fans.
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on September 22, 2013
While finishing up another book, I started reading this official companion book to the wonderful ITV series, both series 1 and 2. I opted to buy the physical version to enjoy the photographs, a great decision on my part. in addition to photographs from the series, you are also provided with the history the series exists in as well as behind the scenes articles. They all serve to enhance your viewing experience.

Anyone who is a fan of this terrific series needs to read and experience this book. The events touched upon in the series are connected to the real historical people, places and events that inspired them. A fan of history, I was delighted to not only learn more about the times the series is set in, but to gain a list of books to read and people to learn more about. A definite 5 out of 5.
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