The Whim of the Wheel — The Memoirs of the Earl of Kimberley by Earl of Kimberley with Charles Roberts

Published by Merton Priory Press, 2001, Hardback in Dust Wrapper. 1st Ed.

Condition: Very Good in Very Good Dust Wrapper. Dust wrapper a little wrinkled at the edges. Leans slightly. Faint bow to the book. Text complete, clean and tight.

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Illustrated with black and white photographs. From the cover: Johnny Wodehouse was born with a golden spoon in his mouth old blood, old name, old titles, old wealth and the inherited old genes of a long succession of womanisers.

He succeeded his father as 4th Earl of Kimberley when he was barely 17, inheriting a vast mansion at Kimberley in Norfolk and estates there and at Falmouth in Cornwall.

Within less than 20 years it had virtually all gone, offered up to a cavalier playboy lifestyle which in the 1950s and 1960s led the Daily Express to dub him the brightest blade in Burkes. A fortune disappeared on good living, gambling (in one night he lost £10,000), endless booze, more sexual adventures than he could remember, and pay-offs to half his eventual tally of six countesses.

But there was still time for high jinks among the titled and wellheeled glitterati of St Moritz, where he was acknowledged as king of the screamingly dangerous Cresta Run; for a reputation back home as a brilliantly courageous jump jockey; and for a brief career, before the booze drew him into the hell of alcoholism, as one of Londons first, fashionable public relations men.

This is a racy, anecdotal, very readable and often highly amusing account of a life lived to the full. Its a Whos Who of the wealthy, royal and noble, as well as of characters and conmen, film stars and playboys of the 1950s, 1960s and 1970s.

It is the sexy, often earthy odyssey of a playboy aristocrat who makes no bones about spending three decades of his life in the single-minded pursuit of getting into bed every attractive woman who crossed his path.

Equally it is a piece of social history; perhaps the last fling of the titled (and nouveau) super-rich, a portrait of a world which has virtually disappeared.

Lord Kimberley, now 77, looks back on his life with amazing candour and a keen eye for anecdote, character and detail. And in a spirit which Don Giovanni would applaud, he says with vigour: And by God, I enjoyed every minute of it.

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