fractured the self-contained politics of medieval kingship, opening the way to a broader polity. This book gives the Wars of the Roses a new dimension, showing a political society divided over the nature of authority and the common good. It forms a valuable complement to Professor Griffiths's exhaustive analysis of the power struggles between rival factions. G. L. HARRISS Magdalen College, Oxford STATE AND STATUS: THE RISE OF THE STATE AND ARISTOCRATIC POWER IN WESTERN EUROPE. By Samuel Clark. University of Wales Press, Cardiff, 1995. Pp. xiii, 502. £ 14.95 (paperback). Scholars have recently been taking stock of the current state of research on the nobilities of early modem Europe. In 1995 H. M. Scott edited a valuable two-volume collection of essays by various historians, each concentrating on a particular country or area, while in 1996 Jonathan Dewald surveyed the entire field single-handed in a useful short synthesis. Samuel Clark's State and Status adopts yet another approach. The author is concerned with 'the effect of rise of the state on the power of the aristocracy', examining the problem in the context of seven related regions England, Wales, Scotland, Ireland, France, the Southern Netherlands and Savoy and treating these comparatively. The book is written from the point of view not of a historian but of a sociologist, though one who envisages students of history among his potential readers. Chronologically, the focus is mainly on the sixteenth, seventeenth and eighteenth centuries, with occasional glances back to the Middle Ages and a second volume is in preparation which will carry the enquiry forward into the nineteenth century. The first third of the book (pp. 27-125) sets the scene by giving a competent, if at times rather abstract, account of the political histories of the chosen regions, with particular emphasis on the emergence of southern England and northern France as administrative 'centres'. But the heart of the matter comes in Part Two (pp. 127-379), where the changing fortunes of the nobility are analysed and compared systematically. From the thirteenth century onwards, autonomous lordship was in decline through- out the West (though the process was slower on the Continent than in Britain) and it was increasingly the monarchical state that took control of aristocratic status, dispensing privileges, titles, and offices and in the