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Sylvia, Queen Of The Headhunters: An Outrageous Englishwoman And Her Lost Kingdom


Sylvia, Queen Of The Headhunters: An Outrageous Englishwoman And Her Lost Kingdom

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    Available in PDF Format | Sylvia, Queen Of The Headhunters: An Outrageous Englishwoman And Her Lost Kingdom.pdf | English
    Philip Eade(Author)

The biography of the last Ranee of Sarawak, born into the aristocracy as Sylvia Brett in 1885 and destined to become 'Queen of the Headhunters'.

'An incredible story' DAILY MAIL
'Jaw-dropping ... If you thought WHITE MISCHIEF the last word in English expatriate decadence, you haven't yet met Sylvia and the Brookes' THE TIMES

Sylvia Brooke was the consort of His Highness Sir Vyner Brooke, Rajah of Sarawak, the last in a bizarre dynasty of English despots who ruled their jungle kingdom on Borneo until 1946. The White Rajahs were long held up as model rulers, but the spectacularly eccentric behaviour of Ranee Sylvia - self-styled Queen of the Headhunters - changed everything. This is the compelling story of her part in their downfall.

An incredible story (DAILY MAIL)In Philip Eade this 'most charming of despots' has met her match. He is a natural writer: percipient, sympathetic, amusing . . . those who have never heard of Sylvia Brooke are in for a treat (Michael Holroyd)It's fantastic material. Well spotted, Eade. Does he do it justice? Yes . . . Alongside the complexities of colonial politics, Eade brings her loves and losses, her heights and depths, to poignant life. It's all here: the bonking, the boozing, the pathos and the bathos . . . This is a delightful book, and proof that truth is stranger than fiction (Ross Leckie THE TIMES)Eade has uncovered a mine of marvellous material and handles it all with consummate wit and style . . . a dazzling debut (Hugh Massingberd COUNTRY LIFE)Juicily entertaining . . . an exceptional life, one to which Eade does rich justice (Miranda Seymour MAIL ON SUNDAY)Eade is eminently readable, with a detective's pertinacity at finding the clues to forgotten secrets and a raconteur's gift for sustaining his narrative interest . . . a rollicking good read (Richard Davenport-Hines SUNDAY TELEGRAPH)A scrupulous researcher . . . [Eade] writes with panache (Sara Wheeler DAILY TELEGRAPH)Jaw-dropping . . . If you thought White Mischief the last word in English expatriate decadence, you haven't yet met Sylvia and the Brookes (THE TIMES)Amazing and hilarious (Christopher Foyle DAILY EXPRESS)The kind of gift subject that biographers must dream of . . . Colourful anecdotes of eccentricity, lunacy and infidelity crowd every page (Christopher Hart SUNDAY TIMES, Books of the Year)A thorough, fascinating and rather giddying book . . . sensational (Lynne Truss SUNDAY TIMES)The unbelievable story of the outlandish last Ranee of Sarawak was the most gripping biography of 2007; stylish, funny, poignant, crammed with eccentrics, it may yet be a slow-burn bestseller (Bartle Bull PROSPECT, Books of the Year)Philip Eade's stylish narrative never flags, nor his command of humour and irony. It is an altogether memorable work, the first I hope of many (Kenneth Rose)Richly entertaining (IRISH TIMES)

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Book details

  • PDF | 384 pages
  • Philip Eade(Author)
  • W&N; First paperback edition. edition (15 May 2008)
  • English
  • 7
  • Biography
Read online or download a free book: Sylvia, Queen Of The Headhunters: An Outrageous Englishwoman And Her Lost Kingdom

Review Text

  • By Dianame on 31 July 2007

    Interesting and well written, a must read this summer! I thoroughly enjoyed this book and would recommend it to anyone wanting a biography of eccentric people in tropical lands.

  • By Cormac Quinn on 22 June 2007

    "A fun and stylish romp through the life of an extraordinary socialite - and the age and class which she inhabited. Sex, drama and absurdities abound. Do yourself a favour - buy your wife or girlfriend a copy and read it yourself."

  • By G.I.Forbes on 30 September 2014

    This is the fascinating story of Sylvia Brooke (1885-1971) second daughter of the second Viscount Eisher who in 1912 marries Vymer the Third Rajah of Sarawak and in 1918 became Ranee of Sarawak when her husband became ruler of the jungle kingdom.Sylvia lead a riotous life of luxury and excess becoming known as the Queen of Headhunters much to the annoyance of the Colonial Office and M.Ps.Unfortunately her husband lost interest in the kingdom and was not present when theJapanesetook over in 1941.Sarawak was handed to the UK in 1946.A truely fascinating story.

  • By N. A. Spalding on 25 May 2015

    A refreshing contrast to the traditional story of Vyner Brooke and the standard sanitised tale of the White Rajas that continued since Bamflydes publication at the turn of the century. The original title did not have the term "outrageous" as this reprint does and the description by Amazon of the Raj's as despots is similarly sensationalist. It is quite untrue the suggestion that Vyner 'lost interest'; His was a tale of the decline of the British Empire in general but in this case, personal. Sylvia keeps to her own experience and refrains from broad speculation.This is fascinating, the only tale of the workings of Vyner, of open marriages, of civil service insights, of all the oddities of what is Sarawak even today. Missing is any suggestion of James's real lifestyle and the absents of any detail of the impact of the Japanese occupation, possibly showing how little she was involved with the Chinese community. There is an obvious resentment to one individual in particular but no real explanation of why. Should be read in conjunction with the title published by her predecessor.

  • By Tim Horton on 19 January 2013

    Early twentieth century women like Sylvia had self belief and arrogance that make any modern trend in feminism look unadventurous! Her single minded assertion of self really did impact on Borneo and its indigenous peoples less than a century ago. But what a story! A vital read towards an understanding of the texture of a peculiarly English colonialism..

  • By owen63 on 17 February 2009

    Unlike other reviewers of this title,I found this book rather disappointing. The subtitle "An outrageous Englishwoman and Her Lost Kingdom" was not lived up to. There was very little outrageous that Sylvia did apart from have three daughters who made some showbiz marriages. There is lots of outrageous behaviour hinted at,, but very little detail. As for the 'Lost Kingdom' part after reading the book one still has very little idea over what life in Sarawak was like.

  • By Lord J G Haddington on 27 April 2013

    A woman's account of a Ladie`s life in the jungles of Borneo which was full of Passion. The last gasp of the Empire.

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