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The Decline and Fall of the British Aristocracy (1990)

af David Cannadine

MedlemmerAnmeldelserPopularitetGennemsnitlig vurderingOmtaler
386249,389 (3.96)8
"A brilliant, multifaceted chronicle of economic and social change." --The New York Times At the outset of the 1870s, the British aristocracy could rightly consider themselves the most fortunate people on earth: they held the lion's share of land, wealth, and power in the world's greatest empire. By the end of the 1930s they had lost not only a generation of sons in the First World War, but also much of their prosperity, prestige, and political significance. Deftly orchestrating an enormous array of documents and letters, facts, and statistics, David Cannadine shows how this shift came about--and how it was reinforced in the aftermath of the Second World War. Astonishingly learned, lucidly written, and sparkling with wit, The Decline and Fall of the British Aristocracy is a landmark study that dramatically changes our understanding of British social history.… (mere)
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There was a Punch cartoon during WW II depicting a curate being asked by the vicar as to the state of his breakfast boiled egg (which both knew to have been off). The curate's politically expedient answer was, "Good in parts."

This seems to serve as an admirable description of this book. It does serve up some fascinating facts and figures but, my biggest argument is with the concept that the aristocracy has been beaten, rather than going underground. To read these seven hundred odd pages, one would presume that, since the early twentieth century, we have lived in some psephological heaven: all decisions are made for the people and by the people: yes, right!

It would be interesting to hear the thoughts of Mr Cannadine as we trudge through the second decade of the twenty-first century and a ruling elite is clearly being re-established. Ah, but I hear you cry, the old aristocracy of landed gentry has passed away and maybe, just maybe, something else is taking its place.

No. The true power brokers are still the same. Mr Cannadine has been fooled by a re-arrangement in their ranks into believing in the destruction of the ruling class. I cannot think of another country so ruled by class: it still counts if your great, great, great grand-daddie fought with Wellington - and don't think that becoming part of the nouveau riche will put you on a par - it won't. ( )
2 stem the.ken.petersen | May 23, 2011 |
Rather brilliantly researched, with some wittily astringent passages about the foibles and follies of the British and Anglo-Irish aristocracies of the late 19th and 20th centuries. Somewhat over-long and repetitive, however. ( )
  yooperprof | May 23, 2010 |
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"A brilliant, multifaceted chronicle of economic and social change." --The New York Times At the outset of the 1870s, the British aristocracy could rightly consider themselves the most fortunate people on earth: they held the lion's share of land, wealth, and power in the world's greatest empire. By the end of the 1930s they had lost not only a generation of sons in the First World War, but also much of their prosperity, prestige, and political significance. Deftly orchestrating an enormous array of documents and letters, facts, and statistics, David Cannadine shows how this shift came about--and how it was reinforced in the aftermath of the Second World War. Astonishingly learned, lucidly written, and sparkling with wit, The Decline and Fall of the British Aristocracy is a landmark study that dramatically changes our understanding of British social history.

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