Gentlemen of Uncertain Fortune (Hardcover)

How Younger Sons Made Their Way in Jane Austen's England

By Rory Muir

Yale University Press, 9780300244311, 384pp.

Publication Date: October 14, 2019

List Price: 35.00*
* Individual store prices may vary.


A portrait of Jane Austen’s England told through the career paths of younger sons—men of good family but small fortune

​In Regency England the eldest son usually inherited almost everything while his younger brothers, left with little inheritance, had to make a crucial decision: what should they do to make an independent living? Rory Muir weaves together the stories of many obscure and well-known young men, shedding light on an overlooked aspect of Regency society. This is the first scholarly yet accessible exploration of the lifestyle and prospects of these younger sons.

About the Author

Rory Muir is a visiting research fellow at the University of Adelaide and a renowned expert on British history. His books include Britain and the Defeat of Napoleon and his two-part biography of Wellington, which won the SAHR Templer Medal.

Praise For Gentlemen of Uncertain Fortune: How Younger Sons Made Their Way in Jane Austen's England

“Energetic and scholarly” — Paula Byrne, The Times

“Muir gives us plenty of detail — numbers recruited at different periods, premiums paid and salaries earned — he illuminates the hard facts with vignettes of actual lives lived” —Richard Francis, Spectator

“A readable book”— Jonathan Guthrie, Financial Times