Gladstone: A Biography

Gladstone: A Biography

by Roy Jenkins


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From the New York Times bestselling author of Churchill, a towering historical biography, available for the first time in paperback.

William Gladstone was, with Tennyson, Newman, Dickens, Carlyle, and Darwin, one of the stars of nineteenth-century British life. He spent sixty-three of his eighty-nine years in the House of Commons and was prime minister four times, a unique accomplishment. From his critical role in the formation of the Liberal Party to his preoccupation with the cause of Irish Home Rule, he was a commanding politician and statesman nonpareil. But Gladstone the man was much more: a classical scholar, a wide-ranging author, a vociferous participant in all the great theological debates of the day, a voracious reader, and an avid walker who chopped down trees for recreation. He was also a man obsessed with the idea of his own sinfulness, prone to self-flagellation and persistent in the practice of accosting prostitutes on the street and attempting to persuade them of the errors of their ways. This full and deep portrait of a complicated man offers a sweeping picture of a tumultuous century in British history, and is also a brilliant example of the biographer’s art.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780812966411
Publisher: Random House Publishing Group
Publication date: 11/12/2002
Edition description: Reprint
Pages: 768
Product dimensions: 6.10(w) x 9.20(h) x 2.02(d)

About the Author

Roy Jenkins was the author of 18 books, including Gladstone, which won the Whitbread Prize for Biography. Active in British politics for half a century, he entered the House of Commons in 1948 and subsequently served as Minister of Aviation, Home Secretary, and Chancellor of the Exchequer; he was also the President of the European Commission and Chancellor of Oxford University. He died in 2003.

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Excerpted from "Gladstone"
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Copyright © 2002 Roy Jenkins.
Excerpted by permission of Random House Publishing Group.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
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Gladstone 3 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 1 reviews.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I make it a policy not to read biographies by British authors - they tend to be dry, are overly and unnecessarily detailed, and utterly lack drama. I should have stayed with my policy. Jenkins book, while comprehensive, well-written and at times fascinating, utterly lacks context. Unless one is already intimately familiar with Gladstone and the vicissitudes of 19th century British politics (a passing familiarity will NOT suffice), the book will likely be, as the reviewer from Publishers Weekly says, impenetrable. Jenkins mentions event after event in the context of Parliamentary discussions thereon, but never mentions what happened in the event itself. He goes on and on about the peronalities of party figures but mentions not a word as to what the parties stood for. Jenkins wrote a good 20 page introduction for the American edition, but he should have written 20 pages of simple background and explanation into the text itself. With that, the book would have been phenomenally readable. Without it, it was a frustration.