Cover image for The compleat gentleman : the modern man's guide to chivalry
The compleat gentleman : the modern man's guide to chivalry
Miner, Brad.
Personal Author:
Publication Information:
Dallas : Spence Pub. Co., [2004]

Physical Description:
vii, 256 pages ; 24 cm
Format :


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Item Holds
BJ1601 .M55 2004 Adult Non-Fiction Non-Fiction Area
BJ1601 .M55 2004 Adult Non-Fiction Central Closed Stacks

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Reviews 3

Booklist Review

Miner wants gentlemanliness, or chivalry, revived, and since few now know what it is, he reviews its history and traits as he argues for it, beginning with the image of the knight on horseback. In reality, the mounted paladin became possible only with the invention of the stirrup, long after the supposed historical days of King Arthur. The Arthurian legends are crucial, however, because of the ethical dimensions of chivalry they portray in the personae of the knight as warrior, lover, and monk. As warrior, he is ready to fight for a good cause. As lover, he is faithful to one woman and courteous to all women. As monk, he attends above all to goodness. The gentleman subsumes all three roles and, furthermore, conducts himself with sprezzatura, that is, with discretion, restraint, and the artfulness that makes effort seem natural and easy. If actual men are incapable of living up to the ideal of the gentleman, only when men generally attempt to do so, Miner provocatively implies, can humane culture be fully realized. --Ray Olson Copyright 2004 Booklist

Publisher's Weekly Review

According to Miner, an executive editor at Bookspan, former literary editor of National Review and author of The Concise Conservative Encyclopedia, a true gentleman is a master of the art of sprezzatura. The term, as used by the Renaissance writer Castiglione, refers to a way of life characterized by discretion and decorum, nonchalance and gracefulness-or, as Miner defines it, the cool exemplified by the men in first class on the Titanic who went bravely to their deaths in evening clothes. Underneath this unflappable quality, which says is not determined by birth or class, resides a man who is at once a warrior (a readiness to face battle for a just cause), lover (he lets a woman be what she wants to be) and monk (a man possessing true knowledge). In erudite and witty prose, Miner explores these three facets of his concept of the gentleman through an engaging survey of knighthood, warfare and courtship, "compleat" with the title's archaic spelling. Beyond a liberal sprinkling of quotes from the likes of G.K. Chesterton and Edmund Burke, the author provides a learned romp through the worlds of Eleanor of Aquitaine, the Cathars (a medieval heretical sect) and Benedictine monasticism. Miner's theories are consistently entertaining, and seem pitched toward a defense of his conservative view of contemporary politics, including his endorsement (in the book) of the Iraq war. In fact, Miner believes that a pacifist can be a gentleman only if he is also a saint, and, in gentlemanlike fashion, he acknowledges his guilt about his C.O. status during the Vietnam War. BOMC alternate. (Mar.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

Library Journal Review

A writer and executive editor of Bookspan's Conservative Book Club, Miner (ed., The Concise Conservative Encyclopedia) takes readers on a romp through history as he examines the ideal of the gentleman, from the rise of the chivalric icon to present-day heroes exemplified by those who lost their lives helping others in the 9/11 tragedies. Be prepared for a bumpy but entertaining ride; Miner's writing style is associative and idiomatic, intertwined with anecdotes and storytelling and filled with parenthetical asides, opinions, and social commentary. He analyzes models of manhood from the last 1000 years-the knight, the gentleman, the warrior, the lover, and the monk-and claims that aspects of each remain pertinent to the modern chevalier. In the end, it is sprezzatura, that deceptively nonchalant self-control and elegant restraint, that characterizes the chivalric man. Unlike other recent volumes touching on the conduct of men, such as Leo Braudy's From Chivalry to Terrorism or Walter Newell's The Code of Man, Miner's book, despite his fabulous vocabulary, is more colloquial and humorous and less focused on prescriptions. Recommended for academic or large public libraries.-Lori Carabello, Ephrata P.L., PA (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.