In this collection of essays, David Cannadine starts with the birth of a truly British upper class between the 1780s and 1820s, when a comparatively small group of families consolidated their grip on the levers of wealth, power and prestige. This broad historical background explains the careers of people like Lord Curzon, the Viceroy of India who became the great ceremonial impressario of the British Empire, and Winston Churchill, who, even in 1940, was widely regarded as a typical patrician adventurer. In considering some of the more famous aristocratic dynasties, Cannadine reconstructs the financial history of the dukes of Devonshire and offers his own assessment of Harold Nicholson and Vita Sackville-West. The text concludes with an attack on the way in which present aristocrates have managed to become subsidized guardians of their former stately homes.
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Cannadine (The Decline and Fall of the British Aristocracy, Doubleday, 1992) offers this set of "occasional pieces," written over the period 1977-93, which serve the purpose of filling in background for the larger work. The essays are divided into three sections: an overview of class issues in modern Britain; an examination of unusual examples of the aristocratic family unit, including the now-famous unorthodox marriage of Harold Nicolson and Vita Sackville-West; and a profile of less well known aspects of individuals' lives and careers. Included in this latter section are Lord Curzon's penchant for organizing ceremonial occasions, Lord Strickland's career in Malta and Tasmania, and the scandals of some of the less savory members of Winston Churchill's family. While they are most likely to appeal to those with some background in the subject matter, the essays are written in a lively style that should have broad appeal. Recommended primarily for academic collections.
Linda Smith, Mobil Corp. Lib., Fairfax, Va.
Copyright 1994 Reed Business Information, Inc.
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Book Description Penguin Books, 1998. Paperback. Book Condition: New. Never used!. Bookseller Inventory # P110140249532
Book Description Penguin Books, 1998. Paperback. Book Condition: New. Bookseller Inventory # DADAX0140249532
Book Description Penguin Books. PAPERBACK. Book Condition: New. 0140249532 New Condition. Bookseller Inventory # NEW7.0962757