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The Dukes: Origins, Ennoblement and History of 26 Families Paperback – 1 Feb 2001

4.4 out of 5 stars 10 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Paperback: 416 pages
  • Publisher: Pimlico; New Ed edition (1 Feb. 2001)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0712667245
  • ISBN-13: 978-0712667241
  • Product Dimensions: 15.3 x 3 x 23.4 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (10 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 366,860 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description

Review

"Excellent mightily researched and readable. Absorbing through so many pages" (Scotsman)

"Splendidly painstaking and enormously readable" (Arthur Marshall New Statesman)

"With a keen sense of precedence and an admirable grasp of the British peerage system, he darts from duke to duke... racing up and down the genealogies" (The Economist)

Book Description

'An excellent book. I found it completely fascinating, with new and delightful information on every page' - Auberon Waugh

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Customer Reviews

4.4 out of 5 stars
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Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
A really wonderful book. I would never, however, pick this book up to give me information on the British "class system" (if you have to read a book you will never understand it anyway). The brief history of each family only left me wanting to know more. Many of the people mentioned in this book deserve biographies of their own, but it was a pleasure to see their stories finally told. Also, most of the people the book deals with were the famous and/or infamous of their day but we hear very little of them today. I will admit having a thorough understanding of the history of England, Scotland, Wales and Ireland is useful.
As in most "common" families and any good story, fiction or non-fiction, there are good and bad guys. Sure there are some flaws in the system, but the author is telling a history not writing a political commentary.
If you enjoy reading about British history, both the sinners and the saints, this book spans the centuries and introduces you to some of the lesser known individuals who helped shape the United Kingdom.
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This book is interesting but only has a short chapter on each of the countries Ducal families with a short but accurate history of the title, and family behind these highest families in the countries aristocracy.
If you want a general starter book on Dukes it's ok, but you'll need a more detailed book on individual families if you want a more detailed account of each Ducal house.
It gives the general history, focussing primarily on the titles creation, with little to no information on the houses and artwork these Dukes own.
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Format: Paperback
This book is very good as far as it goes. As it says on the cover, it provides an overview of the 24 non-royal dukedoms currently existing in the UK as well as two which have recently become extinct. It gives facts and stories about the families before they were created Dukes, the circumstances surrounding the creations and the holders of them ever since, good, bad and unremarkable. As an overview of British Ducal families it is very good, but if you are looking for something more in-depth on the British class system and aristocracy then this isn't the book in which you will find it.
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Format: Paperback
I recently read a 1975 copy of this book. It's the most interesting book I've ever read about British nobility!
While BBC's Sceptered Isle's Dynasties was quite boring, Master's Dukes focusses on the - sometimes eccentric - characters of the nobles.
Examples are the mad Duchess of Albemarle, who thought she had married the Emperor of China, the Duke of Portland with his underground ballroom, library and stables, and Britain's most silly Prime Minister ever; the 1st Duke of Newcastle. Sad were the stories of Susan, daugher of a Duke of Newcastle, who eloped with the mad Lord Adolphus Vane, the life of lonely Hastings Russell of Bedford, and the Duke of Roxburgh, who wasn't allowed to marry his great love, because her younger sister had married the King.
I can recommend this book to anyone interested in Brittish nobility.
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I find Family Histories and Historical Biographies fascinating. The fact that for a long time this branch of history and category of biography has been viewed as outdated does not bother me in the least.

I found it interesting and useful that various Dukedoms that have become extinct were included.
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