PRINCELINGS PRIVILEGE AND POWER: THE TIVYSIDE GENTRY IN THEIR COMMUNITY L. Baker-Jones Gomer Press, 1999, 376 pp. There have been a number of significant additions to the historiography of the Welsh landed gentry during the last decade including important works from Mathew Cragoe, David Howell and Melvyn Humphreys. Leslie Baker- Jones lends further lustre to this distinguished list in a book which is at once beautifully written, deeply researched, logically organised and profoundly detailed. A comprehensive study of the Tivyside gentry, it serves admirably as a counterpoise to the unashamedly nostalgic apologia published by H. M. Vaughan in the 1920s. Much of the early part of the book, dealing with estate structure, management and organisation is largely standard fare, but the later chapters covering home life, education and cultural affairs are fascinating in the minutiae of detail, and comprise as good a snapshot of the quotidian life of the Cardiganshire gentry as we are likely to have. In common with revisionists like Cragoe and Howell, Baker-Jones has the good sense to avoid the all-embracing condemnation of the gentry and their works which has featured with such tedious regularity in many books and articles in the past. After all, if some of the Tivyside gentry were 'boors, drunkards, whoremongers, rogues, and avaricious knaves', they were very little different to the rest of mankind who indulged in 'gossip and flirtatious intrigue' with all the gust of the gilded occupants of the plas. Like the unreformed House of Lords, the Tivyside gentry were a broad church, and for every booze-sodden fornicator and crook, there was a religious reformer and a crusader for moral rectitude. Sex was no more the monopoly of the ruling class than was avarice, venality and hauteur and I strongly suspect that the general morality of the gentry was little different from that of their tenants. David Pretty, among others, has demonstrated the yawning social gulf between Welsh farmers and their labourers, while the evidence of written labour agreements raises serious questions as to the 'deep bond' between farmer and labourer which probably went little further than an interest in mutual co-operation at important times of the farming year. Inevitably, then, we must have some doubts as to Baker-Jones' assertion that a Welsh rural middle class was non-existent. Is it really the case that 'by the end of the nineteenth century the werin had at last opened its eyes to the truth of nonconformist and radical enlightenment'? Did this lifting of the veil promote more humane treatment of labourers and servants by their farmer