Enter your mobile number or email address below and we'll send you a link to download the free Kindle App. Then you can start reading Kindle books on your smartphone, tablet, or computer - no Kindle device required.

  • Apple
  • Android
  • Windows Phone
  • Android

To get the free app, enter your mobile phone number.

Buy Used
$0.77
+ $3.99 shipping
Used: Good | Details
Condition: Used: Good
Comment: Over 2 Million items sold. Fast dispatch and delivery. Excellent Customer Feedback. Most items shipped same or next working day from the UK.
Have one to sell? Sell on Amazon
Flip to back Flip to front
Listen Playing... Paused   You're listening to a sample of the Audible audio edition.
Learn more
See this image

West End Front: The Wartime Secrets of London's Grand Hotels Hardcover – November 1, 2011

4.0 out of 5 stars 7 customer reviews

See all 2 formats and editions Hide other formats and editions
Price
New from Used from
Hardcover
"Please retry"
$6.21 $0.77

The Amazon Book Review
The Amazon Book Review
Author interviews, book reviews, editors picks, and more. Read it now
click to open popover

Editorial Reviews

About the Author

Matthew Sweet presents Night Waves and Freethinking on BBC Radio 3, and is the summer presenter of The Film Programme on Radio Four. He is the author of Inventing the Victorians and Shepperton Babylon, which he adapted as a film for BBC Four. His TV programmes include Silent Britain, A Brief History of Fun, The Age of Excess, Truly, Madly, Cheaply and The Rules of Film Noir.
NO_CONTENT_IN_FEATURE

The latest book club pick from Oprah
"The Underground Railroad" by Colson Whitehead is a magnificent novel chronicling a young slave's adventures as she makes a desperate bid for freedom in the antebellum South. See more

Product Details

  • Hardcover: 362 pages
  • Publisher: Faber & Faber; 1St Edition edition (November 1, 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0571234771
  • ISBN-13: 978-0571234776
  • Product Dimensions: 6.3 x 1.3 x 9.4 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.3 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (7 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,181,347 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By Rudi Franke on March 7, 2013
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
An astonishing look into the occupants at some of the posh hotels in London during the war years. A bit fragmented as it discusses a number of anecdotal situations but most of it very amusing. I especially liked to lengthy coverage of the beautiful nymphomaniac/spy whom I looked up on my iPad where I found a few photos of her. To fully comprehend the text you have to have been born and living in London to understand the colloquialisms used. There were a lot of royals and other shady characters hiding out under luxurious conditions in London, read up on these goings-on, don't miss out on the fun!
Comment One person found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse
Format: Hardcover
This book is a fascinating account of a little recorded activity of WW11 namely the nightlife of London that swrilled round the famous hotels such as Ritz,Savoy,Claridges and Dorchester.
During the early stages of the war and the blitz activities were very quiet but eventually changed to a frenetic times with the oddities of life emerging eg.spies,royals,conmen,traitors and all forms of high and lowlife.
The author describes all in interesting detail mostly feom eye witnesses.
A first class book.
Comment Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse
Format: Paperback
With a combination of interviews, meticulous research and informed speculation, Matthew Sweet recreates the atmosphere prevailing in London's grand hotels during World War Two. The stereotype of Londoners bonding together during the Blitz is exploded; Sweet shows that high society often isolated itself from the hoi-polloi. Ultimately, however, the book becomes slightly repetitive; it seems that everyone was engaged in similarly nefarious actions, prompted by self-interest rather than the desire to serve the community.
Comment One person found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse
Format: Kindle Edition
This book looks at the wartime secrets of London's grand hotels, such as the Ritz, the Dorchester and the Waldorf. It begins very well, with Victor Legg, a phone operator at the Ritz eavesdropping on a call to Randolph Churchill informing him that Germans are to bomb Poland that morning. When Legg tries to tell a friend at the BBC about the impending war, he is interrupted by a voice telling him to be careful what he repeats. Legg, who spent half a century working at the Ritz, spends the night in London - the only man outside of the government who knows war is about to be declared.

The author then leads us through many different elements of hotels during wartime. They housed not only those from the government, but deposed royalty, spies, military leaders, governments in exile, writers, artists, musicians, prostitutes and homosexuals. They were a hotbed of suspicion, interrogations, decadence and wealth. Sweet sometimes stretches the link between hotels and characters too far, in order to unravel an interesting story, but overall this is an excellent read.

There is the story of hotel workers, many of whom were Italian, who were arrested and interned despite being British citizens and working in the UK for over twenty years. Although the original plan had been to distinguish between citzens of enemy countries who were a danger to the British state and those who posed no threat, apparently Churchill decided it was safer to "collar the lot!" One of the most interesting events was when demonstrators invaded the Ritz, asking for shelter - a situation which led the government to open the underground and allow people to have somewhere to go during air raids.
Read more ›
Comment Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse