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Thursday, 17 March 2011

Chips with Everything



Lord of Hosts: The Life of Sir Henry 'Chips' Channon
Author: Richard Carreño
Publisher: WritersClearinghousePress
ISBN: 978-1-257-02549-7
Paper 174 pp $24.99
Publication: April 2011
Press Contact: Writers.Clearinghouse@comcast.net
Website: www.LORDofHOSTSChipsChannon.webs.com

Lord of Hosts
Sir Henry 'Chips' Channon

He was a friend of the Duke and Duchess of Windsor. Fabulously rich. Married to a beautiful Guinness heiress. A Member of Parliament, an Oxford grad, a knight who owned London's most luxurious townhouse where he reigned as 'Lord of Hosts.'

Sir Henry Channon III, pre-war Britain's most eminent and outrageous pre-war politician and Society doyen, was also American-born and gay -- with lovers ranging from playwright Terrence Rattigan to the Duke of Kent, King George VI's brother.

Remembered as the irreverent 'Chips,' Channon is best known as a diarist, the proverbial 'fly on the wall.' The 'wall,' in Chips' case, being the halls of Parliament, the apartments of the rich and powerful, and his own pleasure dome at No. 5 Belgrave Square.

Channon's memoirs, compiled in a single volume more than 40 years ago as Chips: The Diaries of Sir Henry Channon, offer a compelling view of the tumultuous period from the 1930s through War World II. At least, for historians.

For most of the rest of us, Chips, whose preposterous adventure starts in Chicago en route to Paris, Oxford, and finally to London where he died in 1958, has just been a footnote. Quite literally. In scores of period histories. To be sure, a tantalising footnote. But a footnote, nonetheless.

It was a tale never fully fleshed out.

Until now.

American author Richard Carreño takes the Chips saga to another dimension in a first-ever, full-length biography of Britain's 'last' courtier. Especially so, since Carreño's Lord of Hosts: The Life of Sir Henry 'Chips' Channon makes it plain that some of the best and most scandalous bits of Channon's life were censored from the posthumous, official diaries.

The result, thanks to Carreño, is Chips' unofficial joyride, a reckoning of power, sex, drugs, and wealth -- and even skulduggery regarding the very publication of the diaries themselves.

Carreño researched Lord of Hosts, over several years, in Chicago, New York, and in Paris, as well as in Britain. Based in Philadelphia, he a is free-lance writer, academic, and bookseller. His other books include Clotheshorse: A History and Guide to Riding Apparel, also published by WritersClearinghousePress. The author's website is www.RichardCarreno.webs.com.