Baron Philippe

BY Joan Littlewood. Crown, $16.95. This book is presented as “The Autobiography of Baron Philippe de Rothschild,” and Ms. Littlewood’s part in it is never altogether clear, but regardless of how the collaboration actually worked, the result is entertaining. The Baron’s serious, lifelong project has been the rehabilitation and promotion of the MoutonRothschild vineyards, an enterprise involving more risks, squabbles, plots, and counterplots than a mere table winebibber would suspect. When not attending his vines the Baron has experimented, expensively, with theater and film and racing cars. He has survived the Nazis, translated Elizabethan poetry into French, and established a wine museum at Mouton. He has persistently chased, and usually caught, women. He has no complaints about lost money, and is as cheerfully unrepentant a rake as ever confessed in public. He is undoubtedly a man of phenomenal energy with a versatility of activities, and he is very good company.