Sir Henry (Chips) Channon was born in Chicago in 1897. The son of a wealthy businessman, he accompanied the American Red Cross to Paris in 1917, was an undergraduate at Christ Church, Oxford, and then settled in London where he mingled with society and enjoyed the high life. He married into the Guinness family, and became a Conservative MP for Southend from 1935 until his death.
An instant classic. The thing that makes the diary so
compelling is [Channon's] ability to characterise the privileged
elite of London Society. The diary is his masterpiece,
written with freshness and verve . . . In spite of Chips's
prejudices and snobbishness, his diaries are quite simply the
greatest social and political diaries of the 20th century. The
three published volumes, each one 1,000-plus pages long, record a
vanished world of privilege, promiscuity and inequality - a vast
cast of characters, aristocrats, royalties and American socialites.
Simon Heffer has done a marvellous job of editing the manuscript.
He identifies everything the reader needs to know, but his notes
never get between the reader and the text. * Daily Telegraph *
Another 1,000-plus pages of Chips Channon's unexpurgated diaries - with barely a dull passage among them, Simon Heffer's editing has been as adroit as the task is monumental, and his stamina as bottomless as his subject's . . . It is never less than diverting. * New Statesman *
Nothing compares with the unexpurgated Channon diaries. They are rich, exuberant, copious and shatteringly honest. For those interested in the parliamentary politics of 20th-century England, in the conniving and jostling among European traders of influence, in the swansong of aristocratic glamour in Mayfair and Belgravia, in the capering duplicity necessitated by a criminalised sexuality, the diaries are matchless . . . His editor Simon Heffer, who has been deftly aided by Hugo Vickers, deserves a lifetime award for his strenuous efforts in mastering 3,000 pages of text with such precision and nimble wit. * The Spectator *
[The diaries] have disappointed no one in search of gossip, breathtaking snobbery and prejudice, as well as being a window on the political scene . . . It's the parliamentary picture that is of chief value. Channon was a political lightweight, but his diaries will be a historians' resource for centuries. * Country Life *
Wickedly entertaining . . . scrupulously edited and annotated by Simon Heffer. Genuinely shocking, and still revelatory. -- Andrew Marr * New Statesman *