Splendour & Squalor: The Disgrace and Disintegration of Three Aristocratic Dynasties

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Atlantic Books, Limited, Sep 1, 2010 - History - 413 pages
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From stately homes and prisons to the House of Lords and Edwardian asylums—the stories, spanning the 20th century, of the disintegrating fortunes of three of Britain’s most illustrious aristocratic dynasties and the scapegraces responsible

Splendour & Squalor traces the disintegration of three aristocratic dynasties through the twentieth century: families who seemingly had everything yet decided to take 'the down-escalator of life.' They include the Montagus, Dukes of Manchester, who had once employed Vanburgh—creator of Blenheim Palace, Churchill's birthplace—to remodel their principal family seat, Kimbolton Castle; shortly before the outbreak of World War II, the  Montagus oversaw further renovation—converting the Kimbolton chapel into a bar, and stocking it with glasses decorated with 'pornography of the most interesting kind,' for the benefit of guests like the restless, bisexual Duke of Kent, younger brother of George VI. Four consecutive generations of the family went to jail. The Herveys, Marquesses of Bristol, went inside too, although John Bristol (7th Marquess of Bristol, born 1954; died 1999) spent most of his time investing his inheritance in helicopters, heroin, and—for strictly recreational purposes—handcuffs: a blazing quest for self-gratification which led him into the company of Andy Warhol and Mick Jagger. Splendour & Squalor offers a riveting insight into the disintegration of a once seemingly impregnable elite. The resultant portrait is the authentic Downton Abbey—stripped of gloss, mythology and sentiment, and brought mercilessly up-to-date.

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LibraryThing Review

User Review  - Opinionated - LibraryThing

I bought and read this book based on an interview with the author on Late Night Live. Its a very well written, and well researched story of the decline of the FitzGeralds, Herveys, and Montagus. And ... Read full review

Review: Splendour And Squalor: The Decline And Fall Of Three Aristocratic Dynasties

User Review  - Goodreads

Marcus Scriven's "Splendour & Squalor" is a thoroughly researched and beautifully written work that I'd recommend thoroughly. Unlike some writers, the author has identified, tracked down and teased ... Read full review

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About the author (2010)

Marcus Scriven read history at Oxford before becoming a journalist, initially at the Sunday Telegraph, then at the Evening Standard. He is a leading contributor to Channel 4's documentary on Victor Hervey, 6th Marquess of Bristol, which broadcast in spring 2009. Splendour & Squalor is his first book.

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