David's most recent work of non-fiction is Bright Young People: The Rise and Fall of a Generation: 1918-1940 (2007), currently available in the UK as a Vintage paperback and in the US as a Farrar, Straus & Giroux hardback and paperback.
But the Bright Young People's quest for pleasure came at a price. Beneath the veneer of hedonism, parties and practical jokes was a tormented generation, brought up in the shadow of war, whose relationships - with their parents and with each other - were prone to fracture. For many, their progress through the 'serious' Thirties, when another war hung over the horizon, led only to drink, drugs and disappointment, and in the case of Elizabeth Ponsonby - the original of Waugh's Agatha Runcible - to a family torn apart by tragedy.
Moving from the aftermath of the Great War to the opening salvoes of the Blitz, Bright Young People is a chronicle of England's 'lost generation' of the Jazz Age, and a panoramic portrait of a world that could accommodate both dizzying success and paralysing failure. Drawing on the writing and reminiscences of the Bright Young People themselves, and mingling social history, literary criticism and straightforward gossip, D.J. Taylor has produced an enthralling and definitive portrait of a vanished age.
Review of Bright Young People in the Telegraph, 13 October 2007
Click here to read the review