Sissinghurst: An Unfinished History

Front Cover
HarperCollins Publishers Limited, 2009 - Castles - 400 pages
19 Reviews
A fascinating account from award-winning author Adam Nicolson on the history of Nicolson's own national treasure, his family home: Sissinghurst.
Sissinghurst is world famous as a place of calm and beauty, a garden slipped into the ruins of a rose-pink Elizabethan palace. But is it entirely what its creators intended? Has its success over the last thirty years come at a price? Is Sissinghurst everything it could be? The story of this piece of land, an estate in the Weald of Kent, is told here for the first time from the very beginning. Adam Nicolson, who now lives there, has uncovered remarkable new findings about its history as a medieval manor and great sixteenth-century house, from the days of its decline as an eighteenth-century prison to a flourishing Victorian farm and on to the creation, by his grandparents Vita Sackville-West and Harold Nicolson, of a garden in a weed-strewn wreck. Alongside his recovery of the past, Adam Nicolson wanted something else: for the land at Sissinghurst to live again, to become the landscape of orchards, cattle, fruit and sheep he remembered from his boyhood.Could that living frame of a mixed farm be brought back to what had turned into monochrome fields of chemicalised wheat and oilseed rape? Against the odds, he was going to try. Adam Nicolson has always been a passionate writer about landscape and buildings, but this is different. This is the place he wanted to make good again, reconnecting garden, farm and land. More than just a personal biography of a place, this book is the story of taking an inheritance and steering it in a new direction, just as an entrepreneur might take hold of a company, or just as all of us might want to take our dreams and make them real.

"From the Hardcover edition."

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Adam Nicolson is a brilliant writer. - Goodreads
The book seems incredibly well-researched. - Goodreads
The book is packed full of wonderful writing. - Goodreads
He's an extraordinarily good writer. - Goodreads

LibraryThing Review

User Review  - satyridae - LibraryThing

Nicholson's got both a sense of place and a sense of prose in his genes. He's an extraordinarily good writer. I loved this book, which chronicles the entire history of Sissinghurst from ancient times ... Read full review

Review: Sissinghurst: An Unfinished History

User Review  - Barbara Sibbald - Goodreads

Goodreads has the title wrong: it's actually "Sissinghurst: A Castle's Unfinished History, Restoring Vita Sackville-West's Celebrated Estate." For those of you longing to know more about Vita ... Read full review

About the author (2009)

Adam Nicolson is the author of many books on history, travel and the environment. He is winner of the Somerset Maugham Award and the British Topography Prize and lives at Sissinghust Castle in Kent.This is his fifth book for HarperCollins - his previous five being 'Arcadia' ('Earls of Paradise' in hardback), 'Men of Honour', 'Sea Room', 'Power and Glory' and 'Seamanship'.

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