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All the Devils Are Here

3.76  ·  Rating details ·  266 ratings  ·  37 reviews
In this study of East Kent, David Seabrook combines his observations of the towns’ cultural and political landscapes with their literary associations. In Margate and Westgate, Seabrook detects the desperate merriment of T.S. Eliot’s The Waste Land; in Rochester and Chatham, he senses the ghosts of Dickens and the drug fantasies of Thomas De Quincey; and in Broadstairs, he ...more
Paperback, 176 pages
Published March 1st 2003 by Granta UK (first published March 7th 2002)
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Average rating 3.76  · 
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Feb 02, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
All the Devils Are Here is a short volume compiling three of David Seabrook's essays about the Kent coast. Reissuing the book 16 years after its original publication, and nine years after Seabrook's death, seems to have deepened its mysteries, made it even more enigmatic. The essays (plus a prelude) are rambling psychogeographical excursions that rarely attack a topic directly, preferring to linger in the margins. Seabrook is concerned with literature, crime and the underbelly of celebrity.

Eric Anderson
Living in England my whole adult life has given me a feel for some of the characteristic quirks of Englishness. It’s not a mistake that some national identities get associated with certain stereotypes and emotional repression is definitely a badge commonly worn in this great nation. Reading this reissue of David Seabrook’s “All The Devils Are Here” it felt to me like this book exemplifies this condition better than any book I can recall - except for maybe the recent novel “First Love” where it ...more
Jul 17, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
'All the Devils Are Here' by David Seabrook was published in 2002 by Granta. I heard about it on the marvellous Backlisted Podcast, who discussed it on their 17 April 2016 episode.

'All the Devils Are Here' is about Kent. Kent past and present, but mainly past. It has an acute sense of place, and I enjoyed David Seabrook's constant linking of disparate places, events and other information, often relayed via a feverish inner monologue.

In Rochester, Seabrook finds a heritage town trapped in its
Apr 23, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
4.5 rounded down

Brilliant stuff - David Seabrook writes about the Kent coast and the history of its memorable inhabitants in the three extended essays which comprise All the Devils Are Here. The perfect blend of psychogeography (new favourite genre), history and true crime, written in a truly distinctive and adept way.
Jan 14, 2018 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: books-read-2018
For the uninitiated, the towns of Margate, Rochester, Chatham, Northfall, Broadstairs and Deal, Seabrook on the north Kent coast seem relatively normal. People go to work, fall in love, fall out, go to the pubs and live life as you'd expect. But underneath this veneer is an unexpected world. It is full of dark secrets, tantalising glimpses of literary and artistic roots, hotbeds of pre-World War 2 fascist supporters and a raft of unsolved murders.

The literary threads that entwine the start of
Mark Joyce
Mar 24, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
What do TS Eliot, Charles Dickens, William Joyce, Charles Hawtrie and Audrey Hepburn’s father have in common? Answer – they were all deeply troubled characters who spent significant, for the most part unhappy periods of their lives in coastal Kent.

It is fair to say that David Seabrook does not paint Kent in a flattering light, but neither is this an outright hatchet job. There is a lot more going on here than the humourous travel observations of a Bill Bryson or Paul Theroux. Yes, Rochester
Jan 29, 2017 rated it really liked it
All the Devils Are Here, by David Seabrook, is a very strange, wholly enthralling, account of Kent's seaside towns, with particular focus on the seedy and unsettling literary and celebrity history. It is murders and fascists, gone to seed famous people, filtered through a strangely evocative gay subtext. Seabrook writes with great skill, often needling his reader with strange asides, where the prose drops tantalising hints of something just outside of the history and biography. I read this ...more
Andreas Loizou
Oct 19, 2012 rated it it was amazing
A wondrous slice of pyscho-geography from a much-missed author.

Kent is the great in-between county of England. It's got snooty commuter towns, SE London overspills, shifting coastlines and pre-CE monuments. Seabrook covers it all - the horrors of Medway, the blues of the Dartford Delta, the liminal space that is the Isle of Thanet - with Dickens, Wilkie Collins and the frankly terrifying Charles Hawtry by his side.

Original, wise and well-written.

NB - quite a few of the comments on GoodReads
Sam Tornio
Mar 18, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Remarkably its own thing. Like walking around inside someone else’s head on a cloudy day.
Jul 24, 2009 rated it did not like it
The only book I have ever begun to read and given up on!!
Stephen Curran
May 26, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Essays mainly concerning the tragic, violent and often sordid lives of the famous sons of various Kent coastal towns, with digressions into art and film criticism. Linking them all - aside from geography and the general tone of sadness and horror - are oblique glimpses into the life of the author/narrator. And something is clearly up: “There are things I haven’t mentioned. Private matters. They’re on me all day long.” More than the essays themselves, it’s this that gives the book its weird ...more
Mario Hinksman
Jan 14, 2017 rated it really liked it
A unique look at one of England's most remarkable counties.

The late David Seabrook explores Kent from its seamier edges. This is not the Kent of oast house-themed picture postcards. There is no cricket played on monied village greens and horses ridden in summer by flaxen-haired girls are not to be seen.

Instead the focus is on the 'compost heaps' of more vivid imagination to be found mainly on the 'Garden of England's' shores. For most writers, the shores of Kent and its down at heel coastal
Apr 28, 2011 rated it it was ok
If you want to understand ALL the mechanisms, timelines, characters, and consequences (e.g. enrichment of the devils, impoverishment of homeowners and taxpayers) of the recent financial meltdown, here's the book you want. The detail killed it for me, but I still love the title!
H Lee
Apr 20, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I would have never known about this book had I not listened to “Backlisted”, an awesome books podcast hosted by two men based in the UK. When I heard about it on the program, I had to get it because I still couldn’t figure out what the book was really about and it made a great impression on me. I realized these two things can be conceptually opposite but it is the best way I can describe what impact the book had on me. The book blurb on the dust jacket reads “Dark, strange and immediate, All the ...more
Jackie Law
Feb 09, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I have read several books recently that intertwine the facts, lore and local gossip about a place with an author’s personal interest and experience. The Stone Tide by Gareth E. Rees explored Hastings; Hollow Shores provided a fictionalised exploration of Kent. All the Devils Are Here is also focused on Kent although the ripples spread further afield – including to London, Europe and the Middle East. The book contains a series of essays that meander around and muse about the licentious and often ...more
Aug 14, 2017 rated it liked it
Like a good number of other Goodreads reviewers I was prompted to read All the Devils are Here by listening to the edition of the excellent Backlisted podcast that focused on David Seabrook's dark and peculiar travelogue. Now hard to get hold of in physical format (a consequence of its new found popularity among Backlisted listeners I suspect), I was able to get my hands on a copy quickly and cheaply through the excellent public library interlending system - one of the overlooked glories of ...more
Dec 16, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This is an odd book. It's like a dark version of a Bill Bryson book. Interesting tales from English - specifically Kentish - towns. It is, as the blurb says, 'no advert for the local tourist board.'

Through Margate, Rochester, Deal, and other places. Walking in his own footsteps and those from the margins of popular culture: murderers, forgotten fascists, and authors. A book haunted by ghosts, some of which are the author's own.

It's hard to get a firm handle on but it is superbly well-written
Clare Boucher
Aug 11, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This isn’t the Kent of oast houses and cherry trees. Seabrook takes us to some of the less loved parts of the county in a discursive reflection that takes in Dickens, Richard Dadd, TS Eliot, John Buchan, William Joyce (Lord Haw-Haw), Freddie Mills and Charles Hawtrey. I love both the way he saw and the way he wrote. Seabrook seems to revel in the strangeness of the everyday. Recommended for lovers of WG Sebald, Iain Sinclair and Jonathan Meades.
Peter Doherty
Jun 25, 2019 rated it liked it
I gave this book three stars because I’m not quite sure what I think of it. In one way it’s absolutely remarkable and yet the convoluted gossipy style keeps the reader constantly wondering what exactly he/she is reading. Is it history? Is it (as the cover suggests) psychgeography? Or is it complete bollocks? Personally I think I err towards it being a really quirky and hugely interesting read and just maybe the first of the psychogeography genre.
Stewart Marshall
Oct 24, 2018 rated it it was amazing
I came at this from a strange place. An article in the Guardian series of move to... Deal. It was referenced and as I have ancestors from the area I thought it would be a good read. Didn't know the author from Adam. I do now!

Wow! Wonderful descriptive prose, plenty of humour and writing that makes me think of Hunter S. Thompson and others.

A captivating read. Odd. But my life is better for reading.
Jill Bowman
Feb 11, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Was there ever a book written that had JILL so strongly pegged?
A book about a bunch of stuff that not many people care about, about a bunch of people that I (mostly) don’t recognize in places on the English coast that most people don’t know about and the ones that do probably don’t care? Perfect!!!!
Richard Dadd in Margate. Peter Arne and Deal. Oh, how I loved this book. If only I could find someone to talk to.
Jun 17, 2019 rated it really liked it
Absorbing exploration of the seamier side of North East Kent's coastal towns and their literary connections, including T.S. Eliot writing The Waste Land in a sea shelter on the coast of Margate, Dickens's connection to Richard Dadd's murder of his father in Cobham, and William Joyce and Britain's neo-fascist connections to a villa near the North Foreland lighthouse. Certainly captures the grimy flavour of the area, which is undimmed. Not much changes.
Mar 11, 2018 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
The most successful parts are the sections where Seabrook is relating his travels through Kent, but there is far too much literary and art criticism in between that is well-written but its role in the narrative is never fully fleshed out. A bit of a swing-and-a-miss, but there are some excellent moments.
John Newcomb
May 08, 2019 rated it liked it
Crime, celebrity and general sordidness around Thanet and North East Kent. Lots of fun with Richard Dadd and his patricide, Jack the Stripper, Charles Hawtrey, Lord Curzon, the 39 Steps and Audrey Hepburn's Nazi father. This is really three essays, quite rambling but also quite compelling.
Frank Farrell
Dec 18, 2017 rated it really liked it
Never realised Margate and Deal had collected such colourful characters. Lots of stories ranging from Audrey Hepburn's father to Charles Hawtery (outrageous drunk: barred from every pub in Deal). Good stuff
Kathryn Castles
Sep 21, 2019 rated it liked it
Odd, enjoyable little book. Doesn't go anywhere in particular, but some brilliant stories along the way, and creates a nice, weird vision of Kent that feels unique. I was probably expecting more folklore and less true crime, but really enjoyed the read.
Apr 20, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Pretty darn good read, practically full of surprises, swings, oddly touching moments, strangely erudite yet meandering a ton as well. The focus is sharp, but the looking-glass muddled, so to speak.

Might deserve a re-read sometime soon. There's a lot hidden under the hood here.
Caitlin N
I picked up this book because the cover featured my hometown. It took me many months to read this, I’m not sure if my disjointed reading caused me to not like it or the fact that I haven’t a clue what was going on in various parts of the book! Still an interesting and informative read.
Jul 15, 2018 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
impenetrable / boring
Kimberley Frost
Jun 08, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A non-fiction stream of consciousness narrative about the horrors hidden in the history of Kent. Without judgement, and probably a lot of alcohol, the writer touches upon some pretty uncomfortable topics including murder, bigotry, Nazism and pedophillia. At points it was a compelling read with puddles of atmospheric description; at times it was journalistic and inquisitive, but sadly the vast majority of this book is bad exposition where the reader is needlessly confused because the author mixes ...more
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The Patrick Hamil...: 'All the Devils Are Here' by David Seabrook 6 15 Jul 19, 2017 04:36AM  

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David Seabrook studied English at the University of Kent (Canterbury). Following his BA, he continued his studies at UKC and completed his MA with a dissertation on French author Marcel Proust. Following his studies, Seabrook relocated to Greece, where he worked as a teacher. He returned to the UK in order to pursue his literary ambitions.

David Seabrook's "All The Devils Are Here" was his first
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