MORE EQUAL THAN OTHERS: The Changing Fortunes of the British and European Aristocracies by Lord of Beaulieu Montagu

MORE EQUAL THAN OTHERS: The Changing Fortunes of the British and European Aristocracies

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KIRKUS REVIEW

Some people are more equal than others and some aristocracies are more adaptable and less frivolous than others. ""We are,"" says Lord Montagu, a descendant ""on the wrong side of the blanket"" from King Charles II, ""the only aristocracy in Europe that anyone gives a damn for."" Having thus firmly stated his John Bull preferences, Montagu goes on to a quick historic overview of the flaws of the French, Spanish, Austrian, Italian, and Russian nobilities. The French succumbed to the alluring blandishments of Versailles and were soon ""living in the unreal and aimless world described by Marcel Proust""; the Spaniards were crippled by their religiosity and contempt for work; the Austrians lacked political sense; and the Russians mismanaged their estates and failed to take the lead in industrial development. Ah, but the English peerage! They knew enough to make timely concessions to democracy, shun vulgar display, hold fast to primogeniture and improve their estates and cultivate political expertise and power. And they still do. A concluding chapter contains a public opinion survey which shows that most Englishmen still think well of their dukes and earls and do not want the House of Lords reformed out of existence. Preening his plumage, Montagu is a graceful guide to the present and past life styles of Europe's blue bloods.

Pub Date: Feb. 11th, 1971
Publisher: St. Martin's Press