Macmillan Childrens Publishing Group


Power, Grace, and Decadence: Britain's Great Ruling Classes from 1066 to the Present

Lawrence James

St. Martin's Griffin


Trade Paperback

By the author of the acclaimed The Rise and Fall of the British Empire comes a "grand tour of the lives and impact of this truly remarkable breed." (The Washington Times)

Aristocracy means "rule by the best." For nine hundred years, the British aristocracy has considered itself ideally qualified to rule others, make laws, and guide the fortunes of the nation. Tracing the history of this remarkable supremacy, Aristocrats is a story of civil wars, conquests, intrigue, chicanery, and extremes of both selflessness and greed.

Lawrence James also illuminates how the aristocracy's infatuation with classical art has forged English heritage, how its love of sport has shaped its pastimes and values, and how its scandals have entertained the public.

Impeccably researched, balanced, and brilliantly entertaining, Aristocrats is an enthralling history of power, influence, and an extraordinary knack for survival.


Praise for Aristocrats

“[A] great, sweeping survey of the ups and downs of the British aristocracy.” —The Wall Street Journal

“Anyone who indulges in modern interpretations of Tudor courts or relishes details of British historical undercurrents should enjoy James's take on the power behind the British throne.” —Publishers Weekly

“This is a stylish, intelligent, and readable book.” —The New York Times Book Review on The Rise and Fall of the British Empire

Reviews from Goodreads

About the author

Lawrence James

Lawrence James was born in Bath, England, and was educated at York University and Merton College, Oxford. After a distinguished teaching career he emerged as one of the outstanding narrative historians of this generation. He lives in St. Andrews, Scotland.

Lawrence James

Lawrence James

From the Publisher

St. Martin's Griffin

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