British restraint, common sense, and dislikernof exhibitionism, by contrast especiahyrnwith the dignified funeral givenrnWinston Churchill in 1965. One of thernmost effective parts of the book is thern”transplantation” of a mourner from therngates of Kensington Palace in 1997 to thernBritain of 1965, where this “time traveller”rnis confronted not just by lovable,rncheeky Cockneys and polite shop assistants,rnbut also by poor-quality food,rndowdv clothes, and “rather low” standardsrnof hygiene. Yet there is no doubtrnwhich period Hitehens prefers. Thernbook is divided into 15 chapters, plus anrnintroducHon and conclusion, dealing respectivelyrnwith emotionalism, history,rnclass, patriotism, Anglicanism, television,rnsatire, marriage and illegitimacy, the Englishrnlanguage, the family, pornography,rnsoap operas, family planning, liberal intellectuals,rnand the influence of America.rnEach is rich in elegiac observations, suchrnas Hitehens’ comments on historicalrnawareness:rnThirb.’ or forty years ago, we mightrnall have known the stories of Alfredrnand the cakes, of Canute and thernvvaes, of Caractaeus and Boadicea,rnHereward the Wake and Thomas arnBccket. The titles of the parablesrn—the Sower, the Prodigal Son,rnthe Talents—would have instantlyrnconjured up a picture in the richrncolors of a stained-glass window . . .rnNow these things are as meaninglessrnto millions as the forgottenrnmyths of Greece. We drive past ancientrnchurches, Victorian townrnhalls, abandoned grammar schoolsrnand guano-spattered statues, quiternunaware of the forces that broughtrnthem into being, the struggles thevrncommemorate or the sort of peoplernwho built them.rnThe list of topics, while demonstratingrnHitehens’ ambition with this book, alsornsuggests, perhaps, an undue degree ofrnpessimism. Like many conservativernworks. The Abolition of Britain may evenrntend to incidcate pessimism, althoughrnthe author does remark that “it is not certainrnthat the struggle is finished or thatrnthe modernizers have already won,” andrnthat the forthcoming referendum on thernsingle currency represents an historicalrnopportunity to reject the “liberal conformist”rnworldview. He advocates a patrioticrnalliance with those on the left whornarc concerned about nationhood and therndecline in morality, although the detailsrnare sketchy—and how many on the leftrnreally care about the nation-state? Yet thernexperiment ought to be tried.rnConfirmation of Hitehens’ pessimisticrnconclusions might be found in a comparisonrnof Prime Minister Blair and thriee-rnPrimc Minister Lord Salisbury. ThernBeatles-and-color TV PM can only berncontrasted unfavorably with the manrnwho presided over the British Empire atrnthe moment of its greatest extent, andrnwhose wise stewardship ensured peace inrnEurope during decades of expansionistrnrestiveness. (To be fair to Blair, mostrnmodern Tories also look bathetic whenrnplaced alongside this Victorian titan.)rnAndrew Roberts, commissioned by thernsixth Marquess of Salisburv’ to write thernlife of his great-grandfather, took pleasurernin the task of rescuing his subject fromrnundeserved obscurity. “I have an unpleasantrnsuspicion,” he says, “that, agedrn36,1 will never again find so congenial arnsubject.” Roger Scruton, editor of thernSalisbury Review, has said that the journal’srntitle pays honor to an ideal primernminister who “never did anything,” i.e.,rnnever passed any legislation. Jokingrnaside, not only did Salisbur)’ for the mostrnpart eschew legislative remedies, but hisrndiplomatic labors were carried out exceedinglyrndiscreetiy. Salisbur)- despisedrncompliments, which he called “discreditablernto the utterer and odious to the receiver,”rnand discouraged personalityrncults of the sort which grew up aroundrnDisraeli and Gladstone. As the authorrnnotes sardonically, “There could neverrnbe a People’s R o b e r t . . . ” It is probablyrnfor these reasons that Salisbury is neglectedrneven by thoughtful Conservatives. Yetrnhe wrote over two million words of trenchantrnpolitical commentar)’ and book reviews,rndisplaying a profound knowledgernof such varied non-political fields as Germanrnphilosophy, science, and theology.rnHistorian Robert Blake has called himrn”the most formidable intellectual figurernthat the Conservative Part)- has ever produced.”rnHow many could combine thernoffice of prime minister with the presidencyrnof the British Association for diernAdvancement of Science, or present arnhighly regarded critique of the theory ofrnevolution to an audience made up ofrnsome of the greatest scientists of the time?rnObviously, any man who could be describedrnas “too Conservative for modernrntimes . . . a man of a past age, [who] hasrnno sympathy with life, the stir and growthrnof the present and no belief in the future”rnis worthy of study.rnRoberts combines scholarship withrncaustic humor. He takes particular delightrnin remembering the verses of thernjingoist Alfred Austin, including the masterfulrncouplet from a poem attributed tornhim on the illness of the Prince of Wales:rn”Across the wires the electric messagerncame: / He is no better, he is much thernsame.” Also, he enjoys quoting Salisbury’srnfamous red-inked tons mots andrnmarginalia. “If Admiral Hornby is a coolheaded,rnfearless, sagacious man, hernought to bring an action for libel againstrnhis epistolar)’ style,” Salisbury commentedrnon an 1878 letter. Touches like these,rnas well as the realization that one isrnsailing in little-known waters, make readingrnSalisbury an unmitigated pleasure.rnThere may never be another PM qititernlike him, but while there are enough peoplerninterested in Lord Salisbury for a majorrnpublisher to bring out his biography,rnsurely all cannot be lost. crn,—RECEIVED WISDOMForrnGood and Evil: The Impact ofrn’Taxes on the Course of Civilization byrnCharles Adams (Madison Books;rn$29.95).rnMaverick economic historian CharlesrnAdams has produced a second edition ofrnhis acclaimed historj’ of taxation. Tracingrnthe course of this dreaded necessit}’rnfrom ancient Egq3t to the present,rnAdams offers original and sometimesrnquirky insights into tlie impact of taxes.rnThe American War Between the States,rnfor example, turns out to have beenrnfought more over tariffs than over slaves:rn”The tax issue in the Civil War was not arnglamorous cause like slaver)’. It involvedrnno high purpose on either side. Tlie noblernissues wliich both sides held up asrnthe cause for their struggle remind onernof the lofh’ purposes superpowers oftenrnprofess to cover their imperialism. Thernpoint here is that the North did not go tornwar to free the slaves and the South didrnnot secede because of a trigger-happy anti-rnslaverj- crusader in the Wliite House.”rnAlthough he has praise for the intentionsrnof reformers who have proposed arnflat tax or a consumption tax, Adams isrnnot sanguine about the immediaternprospects for tax reform: “The current effortrnto reform the income tax bv a fewrnband-aid remedies has been tried so oftenrnas to be nothing otlier than a joke.”rnMARCH 2000/27rnrnrn