Winner of the Whitbread Biography of the Year.
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.
Gladstone, by historian and eminent politician Roy Jenkins, is a full and deep portrait of a complicated man, offering a sweeping picture of a tumultuous century in British history, and is also a brilliant example of the biographer’s art.
As befits the heroic grandeur of its subject, this is an admirable proportioned and beautifully written book, by turns enthralling, moving and (sometimes) very funny . . . It is the best single volume biography of a Victorian statesman since Robert Blake's like of Disraeli. What higher praise can there be? -- David Cannadine * Observer * Roy Jenkins has written the definitive biography of William Ewart Gladstone, the 'Grand Old Man' of Victorian politics. Jenkins is a consummate biographer ... Gladstone is his chef-d'oeuvre. * Daily Express * The combination of author and subject makes Roy Jenkins's Gladstone irrestistible ... His biography is all you need to know about Gladstone including the things you never dared ask. * Independent * This biography matches one of Gladstone's own towering performances. * Sunday Times * Deliciously spiced with mordant wit, Gladstone can be read for sheer pleasure. But it is the wisdom as well as the wit that ensures this biography will live on. * Guardian * Jenkins is a master of irony ... This helps to make the book enormous fun to read, while it is also enlightening in any number of ways. -- John Grigg * Sunday Telegraph * Inspired by affection for his tremendous subject, the author has scaled the heights with panache ... [Jenkins's] evident delight in the man and his story carry the reader along as though on the crest of a wave. -- Claire Tomalin * Independent on Sunday * Roy Jenkins has written many good books. This is his best. It is beyond praise. -- Vernon Bogdanor * Evening Standard * A splendid biography, which deals justly and fairly with all the controversies of Gladstone's life ... It is a notable achievement and will not be easily superseded. * The Times *
Book experts at your service
What are you looking for?