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Playboys and Mayfair Men : Crime, Class, Masculinity, and Fascism in 1930s London - (Hardcover)

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This book recounts the 1937 robbery of a representative of Cartier at London’s Hyde Park Hotel by four young men from elite English public schools, who bludgeoned the diamond salesman Etienne Bellenger and stole eight rings. He describes the trial that followed and what it reveals about the men’s behavior, who lived in the Mayfair district and the press called “Mayfair men” or “Mayfair playboys,” as well as class, gender, politics, crime, and punishment, and how it popularized the term “playboy” in Britain. He details the attack, theft, testimony of eyewitnesses, and the spotting of the suspects; the police investigation and the question of whether the suspects’ capture was because of their incompetence or Scotland Yard’s efforts; the suspects John Lonsdale, Peter Jenkins, David Wilmer, and Robert Harley and their families, schooling, social networks, and earlier problems with the law; their trial and courtroom drama, from turning on each other to conviction; and their prison time and attempts to reintegrate into society after their release. The second half of the book considers the social and cultural context of the robbery, including the corporal punishment debate, as two of the men were sentenced to be flogged; the history of the playboy identity, the origin of the term, and how a modernizing culture popularized a new style of masculinity; the emergence of the playboy as a criminal, including the example of Victor Hervey; the class to which the men belonged; and political issues and the rise of fascism associated with the playboy, focusing on Lord Kinnoull and Oswald Mosley, who switched political allegiances. Annotation ©2017 Ringgold, Inc., Portland, OR (
Number of Pages: 264.0
Genre: Social Science, History
Sub-Genre: History
Format: Hardcover
Publisher: Johns Hopkins Univ Pr
Author: Angus McLaren
Language: English
Street Date: September 15, 2017
TCIN: 52772169
UPC: 9781421423470
Item Number (DPCI): 248-47-6367

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