The Staffords were an unfortunate family, not, as the author suggests, because of their possession of great estates, but because of their lack of political prudence. The first duke, Humphrey, was killed supporting the losing Lancastrian side at Northampton in 1460 out of motives of com- mendable but dynastically misplaced loyalty. The second duke, Henry, filled with vaunting ambition, rebelled against Richard III and was executed for his treason in 1483. The third duke, Edward, died on the block in 1521, less justifiably perhaps, for alleged treason against Henry VIII, but partly because of his lack of sense in making a greater display of his position than did the king himself. Yet these magnates, and their fourteenth-century predecessors, left behind them a valuable memorial. 'Their collection of manuscripts still constitutes the largest and most comprehensive archive for any fifteenth- or early sixteenth-century noble family' (p. 4), if we exclude the duchy of Lancaster records, which be- came royal (although, in some ways, private still) after Henry Bolingbroke took the throne in 1399. Dr. Rawcliffe has made admirable use of her chance to attack these remarkable records. It is unfortunate, but no fault of hers, that so little survives for the second duke, Henry, because of destruction at Brecon and elsewhere during the civil wars. Duke Humphrey is well-documented, and for Duke Edward the material is 'superabundant'. A great deal of expert scholarship has gone into this obviously compressed version of her researches. The wealth of the sources has enabled her to survey not only the history of the estates, their finances, and the techniques of household and estate administration, but also (which would scarcely be possible for any other contemporary family) 'Changes in the Ducal Lifestyle, 1460-1521', perhaps the most interesting chapter in the book. She shows, for example, how expenditure on building and display in- creased in the later stages by comparison with the money which the first duke had lavished on personal retinues. In 1501 Duke Edward is said to have spent £ 1,500 (almost the annual income of an earl) on his outfit for a royal wedding. He was, Dr. Rawcliffe plausibly suggests, among the first English noblemen to whom the term 'Renaissance aristocrat' might properly be applied (p. 103). On one point, however, we are given something of a false contrast. Dr. Rawcliffe compares (pp. 68, 88) the 'large, expensive and often unmanageable households of former days' with those of Duke Edward's time. Edward IV's Black Book of the Household (c. 1472) prescribed 240 persons as suitable attendance for a duke (p. 68), but on p. 88 the ducal household c. 1511-14 turns out to be about 225. Dr. Rawcliffe points out that only about 130 were in attendance at any one time, but the same point applies to King Edward's estimates. In other words, a 'shift-system' operated. Dr. M. E. James has shown that in the earl of Northumberland's household his Yorkshire servants were there from Michaelmas to Lady Day; the Cumberland men from thence to Midsummer; the Northumberland men from Mid- summer to Michaelmas. The issue is not properly analyzed in this book, and it would be interesting to know how far the Stafford records support the notion of this apparently customary routine (in Burgundy, so much a fashion model, as well as England).