Little, Brown imprint Robinson, has acquired World English rights to the story of London’s hidden world of private members’ clubs.
With a keen eye for the juicy anecdote, Thévoz tells the fascinating and entertaining story of the rise, decline and resurgence of London’s Clubland, from the late-eighteenth century to the present day. If we think of these clubs as predominantly white, male and aristocratic, we could not be more wrong. Their true story is infinitely more interesting.
This is a chronicle, as informative as it is entertaining, of the ups and downs of London clubland, and how it had an impact on parts of the world far from London. It is packed with amusing anecdotes and illustrative examples of the growth of this quirky, unique institution, which grew to spread around the world. London, though, with its four hundred clubs, was always at the heart of this distinctively British form of leisure, across more than three centuries.
Thévoz is an investigative journalist specialising in corruption. His work has also appeared in the Observer and he has been a part-time research assistant to Michael Crick. Major stories he has worked on or broken include over-spending scandals around the 2016 EU referendum, the Cambridge Analytica–Facebook scandal, and the 2021 government ethics scandal. In 2020, he was shortlisted for a British Journalism Award for his investigative work with OpenDemocracy. His first book, Club Government, which was shortlisted for the Whitfield Prize, was praised by Ian Hislop as a ‘fascinating forensic study of the period’s networks of power’. He also contributes to Private Eye, allegedly.
As the librarian at the National Liberal Club, he is a clubland insider. Behind Closed Doors is a distillation of a decade of research and writing on London’s clubs, based on exclusive behind-the-scenes access to archives and proceedings, as well as a love of gossip and scandal.
Duncan Proudfoot, publishing director of Little, Brown’s Robinson imprint, said: ‘This promises to be a wonderfully entertaining book that will overturn everything we thought we knew about London’s clubs and reveal them for the unexpectedly varied yet still peculiarly British cultural institution that they have remained through over three centuries.’
Seth Thévoz said: ‘I am thrilled to be signing up with Robinson. I’ve had this book in mind for a long time, drawing on over a decade of research, and getting to know the secrets and pressures of clubs from the inside. There’s a lot of lurid speculation around this hidden world; the truth is, if anything, even more bizarre.‘