A faithful portrait of an era, of which Lord Chesterfield was a symbol, this is an oddity in the field of biography. To the multitude, the name Chesterfield is synonymous with dandy, fop, perfectionist in the art of gracious living. To the reader of this volume, he is representative of worldly rationalism, the leader of Vanity Fair, a wit, a clubman- and in his day, a diplomat of no mean order. Twice assigned to Holland, he showed himself of high calibre, firm and supple as occasion demanded. In his role as Lord Lieutenant of Ireland, he made himself known as a popular and able administrator. As one of two Secretaries of State, he was little more than a mere clerk; his unpopularity at Court, his sustained battle with Walpole and the King, negated what he had to offer. Today's literary world knows him through his extraordinary letters, most of them revolving around the love and ambitions he held for his graceless disappointing illegitimate son, -- letters of admonition, encouragement and advice to the boy himself, letters to those in the world he knew who might help him. A period lives again. How large a market the record can command is a question.