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Oh, What a Lovely Century

One man's marvellous adventures in love, war and high society

Roderic Fenwick Owen



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01 August 2021
'I would be most unhappy to think that any part of this memoir should be cut on grounds of 'decency', for those bits are essential...' So begins the lively true story of aristocrat and travel writer Roderic Fenwick-Owen.

Born in 1920, Fenwick-Owen had an extraordinary life, which careered between some of the biggest moments in history and took him to the ends of the earth, meeting (and even living with) some of the 20th Century's most well-known people along the way, including Eisenhower, Jackson Pollock and Marlene Dietrich.

After eye-opening schoolboy exploits with his classmates Christopher Lee and Queen Elizabeth II's cousin (whilst his father ran away with the family's nanny), Roderic spent the 1930s trying to fit in at Eton and Oxford and getting into various mischief all the while. In the summer of 1939, he witnessed Nazi Germany when he went to stay with a friend, and only managed to get home the day before war broke out. He served first in the ambulance service in the north of England and then in air raid shelters during the Blitz, before joining the RAF and being stationed in Italy. In the years afterwards he travelled far and wide, was briefly married to a Tahitian princess and became the court poet to Sheikh Shakhbut in Abu Dhabi. Dripped throughout his life are his numerous and passionate love affairs with both men and women, and the effects the decriminalisation of the former had on his happiness.

A 20th Century Sort of Life is a marvellous obituary of an ever-changing and now lost world, that was frequently the best of times, and sometimes the worst.
Imprint:   Sphere
Country of Publication:   United Kingdom
Dimensions:   Height: 232mm,  Width: 152mm,  Spine: 42mm
Weight:   740g
ISBN:   9780751583014
ISBN 10:   0751583014
Pages:   592
Publication Date:  
Audience:   General/trade ,  College/higher education ,  Professional and scholarly ,  ELT Advanced ,  Primary
Format:   Paperback
Publisher's Status:   Active

Roderic Fenwick Owen (1921-2011), a relation of a jockey who won the Grand National, the founder of the National Trust, the High Sheriff of Lincolnshire and as many Dukes and Duchesses as you like, was at one time or another a travel writer, a beachcomber, a husband to a Polynesian princess, a painter, a court poet and a Royal Air Force veteran. He was at all times a romantic and never passed up on love, even if only for the night. He died shortly before his 90th birthday and left behind three Encyclopedia-sized volumes of memoirs, which have been abridged into the book OH, WHAT A LOVELY CENTURY.

Reviews for Oh, What a Lovely Century: One man's marvellous adventures in love, war and high society

Gamey, rollicking and hugely entertaining ... I can think of no better recommendation * Spectator *

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