The Lion and the Unicorn: Gladstone vs. Disraeli

The Lion and the Unicorn: Gladstone vs. Disraeli

by Richard Aldous


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The vicious political struggle that electrified Victorian society, brilliantly re-created for a new generation.

William Gladstone and Benjamin Disraeli were the fiercest political rivals of the nineteenth century. Their intense mutual hatred was both ideologically driven and deeply personal. Their vitriolic duels, carried out over decades, lend profound insight into the social and political currents that dominated Victorian England. To Disraeli—a legendary dandy descended from Sephardic Jews—his antagonist was an "unprincipled maniac" characterized by an "extraordinary mixture of envy, vindictiveness, hypocrisy, and superstition." For the conservative aristocrat Gladstone, his rival was "the Grand Corrupter," whose destruction he plotted "day and night, week by week, month by month." In the tradition of Roy Jenkins and A. N. Wilson, Richard Aldous has written an outstanding political biography, giving us the first dual portrait of this intense and momentous rivalry. Aldous's vivid narrative style—by turns powerful, witty, and stirring—brings new life to the Gladstone and Disraeli story and confirms a perennial truth: in politics, everything is personal.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780393349634
Publisher: Norton, W. W. & Company, Inc.
Publication date: 09/17/2007
Pages: 368
Sales rank: 368,940
Product dimensions: 0.00(w) x 0.00(h) x (d)

About the Author

Richard Aldous is a professor of history at Bard College, where he holds the Eugene Meyer Chair. He is the author and editor of eleven books and is a contributor to television and radio on both sides of the Atlantic. Aldous’s writing appears regularly in the Wall Street Journal, the New York Times Book Review, and The American Interest, where he is a contributing editor. He lives in Red Hook, New York.

Table of Contents

Illustrations     ix
Preface     xiii
Prologue: The Funeral     1
The Dinner Party     9
Young Englishmen     23
Strangers     40
The Game     50
Thunder and Lightning     63
The Chancellor's Old Clothes     73
The Handshake     84
The Letters     95
Voyage of Discovery     108
In the Arboretum     128
The People's William     142
Cavemen     152
Up the Greasy Pole     165
Premier League     190
Die or Break Down     204
Volcanoes     218
An Artful Dodge     227
The Jewel Thief     240
The Other Guest     252
A Clash of Civilisations     266
Peace with Honour     279
Midlothian     290
Falconet     306
Epilogue: In Memoriam     320
Notes     327
Index     359

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