A RAKE AND HIS TIMES by John Harold Wilson


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Dryden called him a ""Blest mad-man"", others have labelled him the wicked duke, but this author sets out to redeem George Villiers, 2nd Duke of Buckingham, setting him in his period and examining his multiple personality. Product of the Restoration, knowing fame, fortune and awe, through his father, Bucks early developed his prodigal talents, was an in and out royal favorite, fought duels, kept a wife and a mistress under one roof, intrigued, and was out-witted, and lived out his days among the wreckage of his fortunes, with his hunting, music and chemistry. He's quite a character, this person of quality, whose life runs from romance to farce, from near-greatness to buffoonery, from personal maglo to public enmity. His story is energetic, if at times exasperating in its lack of responsible achievements, but his advanced attitude towards religious toleration, his dream of a British Navy, his belief in treaties showed the promise that might have been. A lively familiarizing this captures some of the exuberance of the 17th century, much of the detail and a lot of contemporary gossiping.

Pub Date: April 11th, 1954
Publisher: Farrar, Straus & Young