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The Conscience Of The Rich (Strangers and Brothers) [Paperback]

Charles Percy Snow
3.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
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Book Description

11 Oct 2008 Strangers and Brothers (Book 7)
Seventh in the Strangers and Brothers series, this is a novel of conflict exploring the world of the great Anglo-Jewish banking families between the two World Wars. Charles March is heir to one of these families and is beginning to make a name for himself at the Bar. When he wishes to change his way of life and do something useful he is forced into a quarrel with his father, his family and his religion.

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The Conscience Of The Rich (Strangers and Brothers) + A Time Of Hope (Strangers and Brothers) + George Passant (Strangers and Brothers)
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Product details

  • Paperback: 328 pages
  • Publisher: House of Stratus; New edition edition (11 Oct 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1842324268
  • ISBN-13: 978-1842324264
  • Product Dimensions: 20.5 x 13.6 x 2.1 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 3.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 308,081 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Product Description

About the Author

C.P. Snow was born in Leicester, on 15 October 1905. He was educated from age 11 at Alderman Newton's School for boys where he excelled in most subjects, enjoying a reputation for an astounding memory. In 1923 he gained an external scholarship in science at London University, whilst working as a laboratory assistant at Newton's to gain the necessary practical experience, because Leicester University, as it was to become, had no chemistry or physics departments at that time. Having achieved a first class degree, followed by a Master of Science he won a studentship in 1928 which he used to research at the famous Cavendish Laboratory in Cambridge. Snow went on to become a Fellow of Christ's College, Cambridge, in 1930 where he also served as a tutor, but his position became increasingly titular as he branched into other areas of activity. In 1934, he began to publish scientific articles in Nature, and then The Spectator before becoming editor of the journal Discovery in 1937. However, he was also writing fiction during this period and in 1940 'Strangers and Brothers' was published. This was the first of eleven novels in the series and was later renamed 'George Passant' when 'Strangers and Brothers' was used to denote the series itself. Discovery became a casualty of the war, closing in 1940. However, by this time Snow was already involved with the Royal Society, who had organised a group to specifically use British scientific talent operating under the auspices of the Ministry of Labour. He served as the Ministry's technical director from 1940 to 1944. After the war, Snow became a civil service commissioner responsible for recruiting scientists to work for the government. He also returned to writing, continuing the Strangers and Brothers series of novels. 'The Light and the Dark' was published in 1947, followed by 'Time of Hope' in 1949, and perhaps the most famous and popular of them all, 'The Masters', in 1951. He planned to finish the cycle within five years, but the final novel 'Last Things' wasn't published until 1970. He married the novelist Pamela Hansford Johnson in 1950 and they had one son, Philip, in 1952. Snow was knighted in 1957 and became a life peer in 1964, taking the title Baron Snow of the City Leicester. He also joined Harold Wilson's first government as Parliamentary Secretary to the new Minister of Technology. When the department ceased to exist in 1966 he became a vociferous back-bencher in the House of Lords. After finishing th

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Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Likeable book about unlikeable people 24 July 2010
By Graham R. Hill VINE VOICE
Most people will read this as part of the 'Strangers and Brothers' sequence of novels and it would be difficult to recommend that anyone read it as a stand alone book. It isn't great literature although Snow could certainly turn a phrase (a fair number of which are now so well known that they are regarded as cliches, but actually originate with him) and there some nice comic turns in the books such as the unseen, but often referred to, Hannah.

However, the main problem is that the plot revolves around the potential exposing of the misdemeanours of an insider-dealing junior minister in Chamberlain's appeasement government of the 1930s and the emotional impact of this on his brother who lives a life of extreme luxury on inherited wealth. Frankly it would be a stretch for most people to raise much sympathy for these two, but overlaid on that is that despite their Jewishness (seemingly a major element of the author's intention for the book notwithstanding the fact that the only evidence of their religion that one can discern in what he writes is that they like getting together as a family on a Friday night) they prefer to hide their heads in the sand about the rise of Hitler and what it might mean.

So it is a well-crafted, often amusing, book about problems brought on themselves by people that one doesn't like in the first place.
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A fine portrait of a family dynasty in decline 26 July 2001
By A Customer
One of the author's "Strangers and Brothers" sequence, in this novel, Lewis Eliot recounts his encounters during the 1930s with an Anglo-Jewish merchant banking family whose great days are past. They are still wealthy, but have been overtaken by the modern world. Some members of the family have "married out" of the Jewish faith, unheard of a generation before. Now the great young hope of the family, Charles March, shocks them by turining his back on a lucrative legal career and decides to train to be a doctor instead.
This is a slow-moving book, but with many pleasures, notably excellent characterisation. The picture the reader gets of Charles March's father, a quite likable crusty old windbag, is a particular joy.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Four Stars 6 July 2014
By George
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) 4.4 out of 5 stars  7 reviews
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A fair and sympathetic outside observer 2 Sep 2007
By Shalom Freedman - Published on
Format:Mass Market Paperback
In this novel Snow's alter ego, Lewis Elliot tells of his friendship with a wealthy Anglo- Jewish family the Marches. The son Charles who studied Law with Elliot brings him home to meet the father and sister. And the tale begins in which the history of the Marches is told, and we have a glimpse of two- hundred years in the life of aristocratic Anglo -Jewry. The center of the book is father March's attempt to control and direct the lives of his children, Charles and Katherine. But neither follows their father's wishes. Charles rejects the Law as a career and becomes a physician. Here he has the satisfaction of earning his own living and not relying on the family wealth. The sister Katherine marries outside the Jewish religion which is a distressing act for her father, in part because it reflects so poorly in the eyes of the extended family.
Elliot is a sympathetic outsider who portrays the Marches and their story with a kind of calm and disapassionate objective perception.
It is interesting that there is no real understanding presented of the Jewish religion which the Marches ostensibly practice. In fact religion seems to be not really 'spiritual' in any sense, and certainly not a passion. It is rather a social tradition. There is that is no depth in the Marches' religious observance and so Snow is not to be faulted for not portraying it in depth. What seems to remain of the religion is a kind of real moral value, a conscience and caring which makes them decent people. This 'conscience' too plays a part in one of the main elements in the story- line the radical left politics of Charles' attractive wife, and the effect that has on the whole family.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars nice book 4 July 2013
By James Spindler - Published on
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
i love CP Snow. Nobody knows him anymore. I would guess that only of handful of humans know of his fabulous work and way of thinking are known or appreciated. By the way, He rewrote the entire Strangers and Brothers series (or, I should say, rearranged) before he went to the other side to see what was going on there. Hmmm....
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A very enjoyable read 9 Oct 2012
By hamilton - Published on
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
It has been many years since I first read CP Snow's noevel, The New Men, and returning to the Strangers and Brothers series recently, I have been even more impressed with the quality of the narrative and engrossed in the story of Lewis Eliot and his circle. Quality writing and, "a good story, well told."
2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars no title 7 Feb 2006
By C. L Wilson - Published on
"The phrase that the old Japanese used to describe the love of parents for their children was a darkness of the heart." The last parts of this book made me want to weep. A very sad novel. But magnificent nonetheless, like "The Dollmaker" by Harriet Arnow. Every bit as compelling as "Time of Hope", the first in chronological order in the "Strangers and Brothers" series. But it seems to me there might be one flaw; if Ann loved Charles as Eliot thought she did, how could she let herself be the cause of this chasm between Charles and his father? She left the choice to her husband, but why didn't she simply act on her own? Eliot seems to imply that her nature was to subjugate herself to Charles, but she had the power to save her husband so much pain. The implication being, that she loved the "Note" more than Charles, and Lewis is wrong.

On rereading this book six years later, I find I have not changed my opinion, but this time, reading it right after "The Affair", which takes place so much later in time, I was struck by how much both novels, at their core, are about reputation and honor and conscience. The Fellows at Cambridge wanting to see Howard's reputation and honor reinstated, even though he is so very unlikable, and by doing so to clear their consciences, and to make sure of Cambridge's, or at least their college's, honor and reputation. This book is about the conscience of Leonard March and his son Charles, the former a great character in literature. I see the conscience of Charles as rather skewed, all the to-do could have been so easily resolved. To cut off your favorite child because his wife was responsible, as was Charles, is one thing, responsible for Phillips' sack from the government, but Phillip was 73 - why couldn't he just offer his resignation? He had done no wrong. While Mr. March took perhaps too much the high road, I view Charles' actions as rather reprehensible, choosing his wife and her political beliefs over his own father and family. The owner of the Note had already snubbed Ann, yet she stays more loyal to it than to the family she married into. Too much pride all around.
1.0 out of 5 stars Poorly told tale 3 Feb 2014
By Harold J. Bershady - Published on
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase had many talents; good novel writing was not among them. This book was part of Snow's effort to chart the social makeup of England, an enormously ambitious project that he did not accomplish well. The novel is badly constructed. The narrator's diction is stiff, he thinks stiffly even to himself, with the result that his place and personal tensions in a social milieu grander than his origins never quite comes off. The social milieu at the center of the novel -- a rich Jewish family no longer on the economic ascendency in England of the 1920s -- is interesting, but described essentially from the outside. The characters thus appear for the most part like caricatures, which does not seem to have been Snow's intention. The prose is tedious. The sentences overlong. One needs a very strong interest in this milieu to plow through the book.
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