Life of one of the greatest British Prime Ministers – by an author who knows the scene from his years as a senior Minister in Margaret Thatcher’s Cabinet.
Robert Peel, as much as any man in the nineteenth century, transformed Great Britain into a modern nation. He invented our police force, which became a model for the world. He steered through the Bill which allowed Catholics to sit in Parliament. He reorganised the criminal justice system. Above all he tackled poverty by repealing the Corn Laws. Thanks to Peel the most powerful trading nation chose free trade and opened the door for our globalised world of today.
Peel was not all politics. He built two great houses, filled them with famous pictures and was devoted to a beautiful wife. Many followers never forgave him for splitting his Party. But when in 1850 he was carried home after a fall from his horse crowds gathered outside, mainly of working people, to read the medical bulletins. When he died a few days later, factories closed, flags flew at half mast and thousands contributed small sums to memorials in his honour. He was the man who provided cheap bread and sacrificed his career for the welfare of ordinary people.
The book is rich in every respect -- Mark Stuart * THE SCOTSMAN * Hurd writes well, and the book has the merit of bringing Peel alive as a human being -- Jane Ridley * SUNDAY TELEGRAPH * Intelligent, rich reading with a lovely droll tone -- Duncan Fallowell * DAILY EXPRESS * This warm, sensible biography of Peel does a fine job of rescuing an important figure from relative obscurity -- Dominic Sandbrook * DAILY TELEGRAPH * [A] fascinating, eminently readable biography of Peel * ECONOMIST * The author has a good grasp of the period, he has done a great deal of homework, and he has shaped the story magnificently -- A. N. Wilson * DAILY MAIL * Hurd delivers a vivid and readable portrait of a semi-modern British titan. This biography is elegantly written -- Simon Sebag Montefiore * NEW STATESMAN * [An] impressive and entertaining biography -- John Stevens * THE TIMES *
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