Why Spencer Perceval Had to Die: The Assassination of a British Prime Ministerby Andro Linklater
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At approximately 5:15pm on the afternoon of May 11, 1812, Spencer Perceval, the all-powerful Prime Minister of Great Britain, was fatally shot at short range in the lobby of Parliament. His assailant was John Bellingham, a man who blamed his government for not intervening when he was unjustly imprisoned in Russia. The killer made no effort to escape in the confusion; remarkably, he firmly believed he would not only be exonerated, but applauded, for his action. But he was not to enjoy relief; a week later, granted the briefest of trials that trampled his right to due process, he was hanged.
In A Political Killing, Andro Linklater examines Bellinghams motives against the dramatic events of his time with the eye of a skilled forensic examiner and the determination of the finest detective. Though small in stature and quiet by nature, few prime ministers have enjoyed Percevals power; he was also Chancellor of the Exchequer, and as such, in a time of economic disaster caused by the naval blockade against Napoleons France, which he endorsed, Perceval nonetheless made the decision to sustain Wellingtons army in Spain against Napoleon; sent troops to Ireland to compel the loyalty of dissident Catholics; and raised taxes to new heights to finance his activities. Bellinghams act opens a fascinating window onto the western world at the height of the Napoleonic Wars and the start of the War of 1812. At the same time, Linklater investigates, as nobody appears ever to have, the movements and connections of John Bellingham to answer the same questions that have been asked ever since JFKs assassination: Did he act alone? And if not, who aided him, and why?
- Bloomsbury USA
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Meet the Author
Andro Linklater is the author of Measuring America: How An Untamed Wilderness Shaped the United States and Fulfilled the Promise of Democracy, The Fabric of America: How Our Borders and Boundaries Shaped the Country and Forged Our National Identity, and An Artist in Treason: The Extraordinary Double Life of General James Wilkinson. He lives in England.
Andro Linklater was the author of Measuring America: How an Untamed Wilderness Shaped the United States and Fulfilled the Promise of Democracy as well as The Code of Love and several other books. He lived in England.
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