In 1936, Henry 'Chips' Channon gave a lavish dinner for King Edward VIII and Wallis Simpson at his house in Belgrave Square.
Feasting on blinis, caviare, sole and beef, served by the ruthlessly-drilled precision of Chips' staff, it was a vivid demonstration of just how far the Americans had percolated high society.
The British aristocracy, impoverished by death duties, agricultural collapse and higher taxation, as well as morally shattered by the First World War, could only look on.
It was as if the world had been turned upside down. As Lady Londonderry observed, it seemed as if London was 'being run by an American syndicate'.
What had happened to bring about this change? How had the Americans become so powerful, so rich, so over here? "Them and Us" is a story of social upheaval, of the transformation which took place when British high society - that bastion against the forces of the New - gave in to America.
A lively mix of anecdote and social history, Charles Jennings' new book brings to life the most striking characters of the time and the extravagant, high-voltage period in which they lived, giving a real sense of their follies, dramas, tragedies and longings.