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Comments on Jobs for the Boys

"What a wonderfully varied cross-section of the aspiring Victorian middle classes, and how they developed, all in one family - like the Forsytes, only more so." - Professor Mark Girouard, author and architectural historian.


"What a real triumph in both production and content . . . fascinating insights into 19th Century life" - John Whitley, former Literary Editor, The Sunday Times


"Family histories are not known for their wit and poise . . . Jobs for the Boys, however, is the exception. It is a funny, magnificently researched account of the Stevenson family . . . What is fascinating about this book is the light it shows on the prosperous, forgotten rentier class of Victorian Britain" - Clive Aslet, Country Life


". . . it has gone down very well in Mimi's [age 8] class at Fettes Prep. They happen to be studying the Victorian era . . . and Mimi used it as the subject of her class talk - to great approval". - Andrew Stevenson-Hamilton


"I have read it with complete fascination and admiration. . . You have marshalled your material quite brilliantly to provide a clear narrative and lively characterisation. . . a splendid contribution to social history" - James Joll, chairman, Sir Winston Churchill Archive Trust


"It is a lovely book in every way - looks wonderful, reads beautifully, so neatly constructed". - Elizabeth Crawford, author of The Women's Suffrage Movement.


"What a wonderful cast of characters and you have brought them to life so vividly as well as illustrating the times in which they lived . . . I kept thinking of an Arnold Bennett novel or the Forsyte Saga." - Janet Ede, Norwich


". . . a stunning example of what can be done with a family's history . . . "
"Not only does [the author] write lucidly but he has avoided the trap of too much dry detail, instead distilling the material into a narrative which his readers cannot find tedious. Where historical background to certain events and decisions must be explained, he has done so in a manner which does not disrupt the flow: it becomes part of the story . . . and he doesn't shy away from recounting family disputes, clashes of temperament, sibling rivalries, unpleasant traits, mental illness, profligacy, scandals and disgraces, etc . . . It's not just one family's history and a very readable story, it's a slice of our common history . . . a fascinating read and I commend it to all without reservation" - Caroline Gerard, The Scottish Genealogist.


"Of course the family has its share of oddities, but the works on the Tyne, the buildings, the newspapers, the Kruger National Park, and the people who founded them, all add up to a splendidly impressive story. A wonderful piece of social and personal history." - Jenifer Glynn, Cambridge author and historian.


"The story is fascinating. The characters are enormously interesting . . . The span of the book's history and geography covers a period of particularly wide social change but you've carefully kept to the main thread and your narrative utterly involves the reader. . . Your excellent writing makes the book easy reading . . ." - Gillian Vincent, literary agent


"Really the Stevensons are Scots Forsytes, with knobs on . . . And of course some wonderful scallywags like the kleptomaniac wife with the extraordinary story of putting an engagement notice into the paper re her cousin....." - Micky Macgregor, Northumberland.

"an extraordinary global family saga. . . It's a story with an epic sweep, from Tyneside to Europe to Africa and the Americas. . . It covers five generations of the family from the 19th Century to the present and dip into any section and a remarkable story leaps out". - Michael Kelly, Evening Chronicle (Newcastle upon Tyne)


"This is a family history studded with historic references and worldwide significance. . . It is the stuff of a cracking television drama" - Richard Bryson, Suffolk Magazine


"What a family - and what a masterpiece . . . It's the small stories, the quotations, the pictures which makes it all so interesting." - Robin Carver, Norfolk


"It is the snippets . . . that make the book so fascinating. . . it shows the successes and the military campaigns of a past century through the eyes of one family, but the human element makes it so much more than that." - Helen McCall, Carluke Gazette


". . . this book is far more than a family tree - it is the story of where one family fits in British social history." - Chris Lloyd, The Northern Echo


"a rich, complex tale of adventurers, inventors, playboys, suffragists, philanthropists and bad eggs, which spans the globe . . . a hugely enjoyable account of one family's historical journey." - Janis Blower, Shields Gazette