Little, Brown imprint Robinson has acquired Behind Closed Doors: The Secret Life of London’s Private Members’ Clubs by Seth Thévoz, author of Club Government (I B Tauris, 2018).
Duncan Proudfoot, publishing director, acquired world English rights from Thomas Cull of Cull & Company. The title will be published in summer 2022.
Thévoz is an investigative journalist specialising in corruption and a "clubland insider" as the librarian at the National Liberal Club. In Behind Closed Doors he will tell the "fascinating and entertaining" story of the rise, decline and resurgence of London’s private members’ clubs, from the late-18th century to the present day. It will be packed with amusing anecdotes and illustrative examples of the growth of these quirky, unique institutions, which grew to spread around the world, says the publisher.
Proudfoot 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 of ups and downs."
Thévoz commented: "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.
"People tend to imagine clubs as something rather stale. The reality is they’ve completely reinvented themselves several times over. The slightly stuffy world that first comes to mind is what they looked like when they were in terminal decline. They looked very different before that, and they look very different today."