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The polite anti-Semitism of 20th-century Britain

The Schlesingers were wealthy, public-spirited and highly cultivated British patriots. But London society still casually snubbed his grandparents, says Ian Buruma

5 March 2016

9:00 AM

5 March 2016

9:00 AM

Their Promised Land: My Grandparents in Love and War Ian Buruma

Atlantic Books, pp.320, £20, ISBN: 9781848879386

Though it seems to begin as an affectionate memorial to his maternal grandparents, a testimonial to a rare and perfectly happy marriage, Their Promised Land by Ian Buruma has a deeper purpose. The cache of letters to and from Winifred (‘Win’) and Bernard (‘Bun’) Schlesinger is the pre-email, daily correspondence of two people who could not bear to be apart, yet were separated for years at a time by both world wars.

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