Decline and Fall of the British Aristocracy

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"A brilliant, multifaceted chronicle of economic and social change." —The New York Times

"No praise can be too high." —The New York Review of Books

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, ...
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Overview

"A brilliant, multifaceted chronicle of economic and social change." —The New York Times

"No praise can be too high." —The New York Review of Books

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.

"Cannadine has produced a great book, one that is comprehensive in its scope, and of critical importance." —London Review of Books
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Editorial Reviews

Library Journal
Columbia historian Cannadine offers a detailed study of the decline of the ``British landed establishment'' from 1880 to the present, due to political, economic, and social changes. Most of his analysis is centered on the period which saw the biggest changes, 1880-1930, and concentrates on England, while touching on Scotland, Ireland, and Wales. Intertwined in the overall picture are tidbits about notable families. Cannadine has synthesized a multitude of secondary sources for this work. He includes a detailed index which, however, lacks some names and subjects. His dense book is much too long for the general reader. Primarily for students and specialists working on this topic.-- Kathleen Farago, Lakewood P.L., Ohio
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780385421034
  • Publisher: Knopf Publishing Group
  • Publication date: 4/18/1992
  • Edition description: 1st Anchor Books ed
  • Pages: 832

Meet the Author

David Cannadine lives in England.

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Table of Contents

Preface to the Vintage Edition
Preface to the 1992 Edition
List of Abbreviations
A Note on Sources
1 Prologue: Presuppositions and Problems 1
2 The Embattled Elite 35
3 The Decline and Dispersal of Territorial Wealth 88
4 The Erosion of Local Control 139
5 The Eclipse of a Senatorial Order 182
6 The Demise of Patrician Professionals 236
7 The 'Corruption' of Public Life 297
8 The Dilution of Select Society 341
9 From Leisured Class to Labouring Aristocracy 391
10 Lost Causes and Disappointed Hopes 445
11 The Politics of Paranoia 500
12 The Reconstruction of Social Prestige 557
13 The Second World War 606
14 The End of the Affair 637
15 Epilogue: Perceptions and Perspectives 697
App. A The Greatest British Landowners, c. 1880 710
App. B Patrician Members of British Cabinets, 1880-1980 711
App. C Senior Posts in the Foreign and Diplomatic Services 712
App. D Titled Company Directors, 1896 and 1920 717
App. E Patrician Mayors of British Towns, 1880-1945 718
App. F Chancellors of British Universities, 1880-1945 720
App. G Viceroys of India and Governors-General of British Dominions 723
App. H Patterns of Estate Ownership, 1876-1976 725
Notes 727
Index 794
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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 15, 2008

    great book

    This book is defenitely a must for anyone interested in british contemporary history.It certainly helps in the understanding of the develepments of the british goverment from being based in landed aristocracy over to a modern industriliazed democratic country with its social , political and economical consequences

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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