Book Review: Douglas Sutherland ~ The English Gentleman (1978)

This is a wonderful quirky book. I read it in about two hours and every moment was a pleasure.

This is absolutely not a ‘how-to-be’ a gentleman; indeed it’s the opposite. Gentlemen are gentlemen to the core of their being. They are gentlemen from birth. Sutherland jog-trots through every aspect of life illustrating the life of a gentleman. His very first paragraph sets the tone-

Gentlemen do not usually live in cities. At whatever discomfort to themselves and their families they prefer to live in the country and then only in selected parts of it.

Fourteen short chapters illustrate what a gentleman is. You are a gentleman because of the totality of the lived experience. Chapter four, ‘The Gentleman and the Opposite Sex’ continues the exhilarating insights.

Unlike the under-privileged classes gentlemen are not exposed to members of the opposite sex during their formative years. Instead they are sent straight from their nanny’s knee to monastic establishments where the only visible female is likely to be a ferocious matron surrounded by rolls of sticking plaster and bottles of cascara evacuant.

Sutherland extends the P G Wodehouse genre into new territory with considerable skill. I cannot praise it highly enough.

Why you should buy this book: It will invigorate you, give you a zest for life.

Why you shouldn’t buy this book: It isn’t 500 pages long, isn’t a thriller, and there are no murders.

Buy it at


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