Book Review of Charmed Life: The Phenomenal World of Philip Sassoon

Published in 2016 with 400 pages, Damian Collins is the author of Charmed Life:  The phenomenal world of Philip Sassoon.  The book was first published in hardcover in June by William Collins and on paperback in February 2017.

Damian Collins was elected as a Member of Parliament (PM) for Folkestone Hythe during the 2010 general election from the Conservative Party in the United Kingdom. The author wrote the book due to his curiosity about the life of his predecessor Phillip Sassoon and his famous Kent Mansion and man homes. He covers the path taken by Philip, from being the youngest in parliament and known as the “Baby of the House”, to becoming a Parliamentary Private Secretary.

If ever there was man who embodied the “glamourous life” it was surely Philip Sassoon.  Collins brings out the history as well as the glamour and celebrity of Sassoon in his book.

Charmed Life:  The Phenomenal World of Philip Sassoon is a documentary of Philip Sassoon’s social world and his contribution to the politics during the inter-war period; between the end of First World War and the beginning of the Second World War. It tells about a story of a man who’s a politician, artist, and social host, that entertains celebrities and politicians at his home; a man with great power and influence.  Sassoon inherited a fortune and a baronetcy in his early 20s. His mother was part of the famed powerful and wealthy Rothschild family.

Philip’s life as one of the richest man in his time, with a high-level ranking not just in politics but also in society status. It contains personal information of Philip from his early life to his political career to his relationships with other celebrities, politicians, and even with the Royal family.  

The book is divided into 9 chapters:

1 Son of Babylon

2 The Generals Staff

3 Brave New World

4 Centre Stage

5 Flying Minister

6 Cavalcade

7 The Gathering Storm

8 The Kings Party

9 Philip Sassoon Revisited

The book starts off with a poem made by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow entitled “Haroun Al Raschid.” The author described Philip like the king of Persia Haroun Al Raschid from the famous tale “One Thousand and One Knights” as he is surrounded with beauty and luxury as well as and interesting, famous and successful people.

The book talks about his family, from his grandparents to his parents’ generation to his early life, his political career, and on how he treated and entertained guests that make him known as one of the greatest hosts in Great Britain.

Philip Sassoon may be well known as a social host but also had an extremely successfully career in politics.  From being the youngest member of the Parliament to becoming a First Commissioner of Work he held various positions with great success.  Sassoon was also an accomplished aviator. He championed the growth of aviation in Parliament and also owned his own airplane which was unusual in the first half of the 19th century.  

Charmed Life:  The phenomenal world of Philip Sassoon touches on a pivotal era for Britain, Europe and World and the presence that Sassoon brought to both society and government at that time – one of the glamorous successful politician.