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Fisher’s Face

Jan Morris

A biography of Lord Fisher, Edwardian socialite and founder of the World War I British Navy.

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Admiral of the Fleet Lord ‘Jacky’ Fisher (1841-1920) was one of the greatest naval reformers in history. He was also a colossal figure to contemporaries, both loved and loathed, a man of exceptional charm, presence and charisma. Since the late 1940s, Jan Morris has been haunted by his face – with its startling combination of ‘the suave, the sneering and the self-amused.’ This evocation is both biography and a love letter, a perfect expression of her passionate interest in mavericks and outsiders, in travel, ships and the glorious pageantry of the British Empire in its prime.

Critic Reviews

A pacey, intelligent and vibrant book.

Beryl Bainbridge, Times Literary Supplement
Critic Reviews

An intimate recreation of the man in all his extraordinary complexity, his mercurial humours, his ferocious energy and bloodthirstiness, his childlike innocence, his Machiavellian charm.

Christopher Hudson, Daily Mail
Critic Reviews

Morris paints a richly beguiling picture of the Victorian Navy, its profound inner security, its glorious assumptions, its extravagant social life and its traditionally eccentric leaders ... one feels oddly privileged to have looked at Fisher's face through Morris's eyes and shared with her his 'genius for delight.

Elspeth Barker, Independent on Sunday
Critic Reviews

An avowedly subjective, brilliantly vivid and constantly entertaining portrait.

Philip Ziegler, Literary Review
Critic Reviews

For forty years, Jan Morris has been fascinated by Fisher's face. She has followed him around the world from his birthplace on a Ceylon coffee plantation to Kilverstone graveyard ... Fisher's Face is funny, touching and informed by wide reading as well as wide travelling.

Piers Brendon, New Statesman & Society

Jan Morris was born in 1926 of a Welsh father and an English mother. She spent the last years of her life with her partner Elizabeth Morris in the top left-hand corner of Wales, between the mountains and the sea. Her books include Coronation Everest, Venice, the Pax Britannica trilogy and Conundrum. She was also the author of six books…

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