“…a detailed and enjoyable political history of the British aristocracy…a readable, chronological account packed with lively and interesting anecdotes…James’s writing is easy and fluent, and (that) his book is written for the general reader, not for the scholar, the historian or the professional genealogist. His chapters on the Irish aristocracy, on American republicanism, on the Whig movement and on aristocratic sporting habits are all first rate, but where he excels is in his frequent and fine descriptions of the shifting balance in relations between the aristocracy and the Crown, and between the aristocracy and the middleclass. He demonstrates considerable skill in marshalling vast amounts of disparate material and forming it all into a coherent and structured whole. There is not a single page without some peculiarly interesting fact upon it…This is atavistic history, to be read aloud at the fireside, a book that returns to the once popular notion that English history is essentially a history of the monarchy and the aristocracy. Does anyone remember Our Island Story? A wonderful book – well, this is the same sort of thing, only for grown-ups.” Alexander Waugh, Literary Review

“Lawrence James’s stylish book is a reminder of the extraordinary staying power of Britain’s aristocracy from 1066 into the 20th century….one of the delights of this book is its attention to noblemen who tend to be overlooked in histories preoccupied with the big political families.” Sunday Express

“James traces the history of the aristocracy at breakneck speed in two dozen short and snappy chapters with few pretensions to scholarship but a keen eye for amusing details…he keeps the anecdotes flowing nicely. “ Dominic Sandbrook, Sunday Times

“…paints the nobility with all its warts….he has a gift for illustrating points with memorable examples and writing generally pithy prose…” Financial Times

“…an entertaining work…” Noel Malcolm, Spectator

“…this erudite history…He is brilliant at dissecting the changing fashions of architecture as an expression of power…He has an aptitude for the literary flourish and caustic aside…” Times Literary Supplement

“An accessible history of the last 900 years through the perspective of the aristocracy, and of the aristocracy through that of this history, Lawrence James’s well-written book…” Jeremy Black, BBC History Magazine

“…this engaging history.” Bookseller

“Impeccably researched, balanced and brilliantly entertaining, Aristocrats is an enthralling history of power, influence and an extraordinary knack for survival of a class that has always wielded power and exerted influence on culture, sport, politics and much else besides…” Warwick Books

“Lawrence James has written the story of this ruling class and its nine-hundred-year rule with an insight and accuracy that lays bare the infrastructure that supports a much misunderstood function, whilst putting it vividly in context.” The Resident