Not the Episcopalians but specifically the ""Episcocrats,"" whose social history is Society history and, in turn, the...


THE POWER OF THEIR GLORY: America's Master Class: The Episcopalians

Not the Episcopalians but specifically the ""Episcocrats,"" whose social history is Society history and, in turn, the American history that counts. After an introductory sweep that approaches a handbook of conventions--e.g., ""pretty is not something a house should be. . . . Episcocratic houses and women are handsome""--the Konoliges enlarge on Dean Acheson's ""present at the creation"" line with some valid reasons why the Colonial Anglican population was already rarefied by the end of the Revolutionary War. From then on it was only a matter of snowballing: the adherents became increasingly rich and the rest of the rich became adherents; bluebloods and blackguards like J. P. Morgan (whose conversion set off a trend) intermarried, infusing new money into the old-boy network that fed--and to some extent still feeds--into and out of the same exclusive prep schools, colleges, and professional and social preserves. The Konoliges cite anti-Semitism as a corollary of the growing xenophobia, calling it ""logical"" around the turn of the century ""because the emphasis on things English and aristocratic was only too dearly not shared by the Jews""; today, ""persistent, though diminishing,"" anti-Semitism may be fostered by the fact that ""Jews challenge Episcopalians as leaders in almost every category measured by Gallup""--but, hearteningly (?), ""Having Jewish friends has actually carried a certain social cachet."" A little more penetration might have been expected in a book capacious enough to talk lineage and Endicott Peabody to death--as well as to discuss Thomas Hoving's stewardship of the N.Y. Metropolitan Museum (where he fit ""like an Auchincloss at Groton""). The Konoliges' priorities won't be everybody's, nor will their view of the Episcopal Church--as morally and theologically undemanding, less a religion than a way of life.

Pub Date: Dec. 12, 1978


Page Count: -

Publisher: Wyden--dist. by Simon & Schuster

Review Posted Online: N/A

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 1, 1978