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Curzon Paperback – 3 Apr 2003

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Paperback, 3 Apr 2003
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Product details

  • Paperback: 708 pages
  • Publisher: John Murray; New edition edition (3 April 2003)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0719555477
  • ISBN-13: 978-0719555473
  • Product Dimensions: 15.7 x 4 x 23.2 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 1,286,122 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
  • See Complete Table of Contents

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Product Description


"An impeccably researched and written biography" (THE SUNDAY TELEGRAPH 20030413)

"A biography as definitive as such a work can ever be . . . a splendid book" (Evening Standard 20030413)

"Magnificent" (Oxford Times 20030620)

"One of the best biographies of our time . . . a book of outstanding excellence" (New Statesman 20030620)

About the Author

David Gilmour's books include the award-winning biographies, The Last Leopard: a Life of Giuseppe di Lampedusa and The Long Recessional: The Imperial Life of Rudyard Kipling. He is also the author of Cities of Spain and several works on the politics of Spain and the Middle East. A Fellow of the Royal Society of Literature and a former Fellow of St Antony's College, Oxford, he is a contributor to The Spectator, the Financial Times and the New York Review of Books.

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By ks chaturvedi on 23 Jun. 2014
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Curzon^ by David Gilmour is an outstanding biography. Although India was fortunate enough to have very brilliant and competent Governor Generals like Hastings, William Bentics , Lord Dalhousie and after 1858 very outstanding and knowledgeable Viceroys like Lord Canning Lord Mayo, Lor5d Landsdowne, and Lord Lyttens,George Nathaniel Curzon definitely occupied this place. He was appointed Viceroy of India(under British Raj) which was the Golden period of the Raj. Mr Curzon became very famous in India and India got best governance under him. Only Partition of Bengal was a solitary incident of his period. He was right choice of Salisbury and Queen Victoria who game him few piece of advice before he departed to India. He used to say ^ Let India be my judge^ and it was right that India judged him best Viceroy .When there was difference of opinion in Cabinet regarding who is Superior between Commander in chief and Viceroy , he decided to resign.

David Gilmur has well researched his subject and worked very hard to make this biography a outstanding one. I have got second hand copy. The paper is very god and enduring. It is very fascinating, simple and full of facts.I have enjoyed it fully. It was very unfortunate that this genius could not be Prime Minister of Great Britain. Great Britain LOST Ireland It lost its power and pulp in Great War during his time. If anybody is interested in Great period of British Raj, he should read this biography.
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Elgar on 4 Jan. 2011
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Curzon by David Gilmour is very thorough and detailled account of the life of the greatest of the Indian Viceroys. Not a book to be skimmed through lightly but for anyone interested in trying to understand this complex personality, it is probably the most objective and informative biography available.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Thoroughly researched, well written biography of this driven man.
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6 of 11 people found the following review helpful By Two Tone on 16 Oct. 2005
Format: Paperback
I read this after reading Charles Allen's recent book on the 1905 expedition to Tibet, which portrays both Younghusband & Curzon as arrogant self-aggrandising imperialists and I left with the same overall impression after this, although perhaps I would withdraw the self-aggrandising (of Curzon at least).
Judged by this excellent biography, Curzon was an intelligent and somewhat more sympathetic individual than history has judged him but it's not at all surprising after reading this that he never made it to Prime Minister or that he deserved to be; he seems to have been one of those luckless individuals who have neither insight into others nor perceptions of his own impact on them and thus spent much of his career upsetting people even when he was right. Or perhaps he just never learnt to care.
My only small complaint is that it's sometimes difficult to place Curzon in the context of contemporary developments within Bristish politics (eg the Tariff Reform camapaign which tore apart the Unionist party etc) but I suppose at 700 pages its long enough already.
The publishers use the word "definitive" of this biography which seems fair if only because I can't imagine that he's a significant enought figure for anyone to bother again.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)

Amazon.com: 6 reviews
13 of 14 people found the following review helpful
An elegant and detailed biography 23 July 1998
By A Customer - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
Lord Curzon was a major figure in British politics at the turn of the century. Immensely accomplished as well as ambitious, he served in several of the highest postions in government, including as Foreign Secretary and Viceroy of India. It is Gilmour's achievement that he manages to convey the complexities of the man, his overweening ambition, his insecurities and also, his tremendous drive to succeed. This a greatly detailed biography, but it is at the same time also very readable. It does not bog down in the minutiae of detail, and keeps a very articulately expressed story-line going. A book of immense interest to those keen on the politics and social and cultural history of that era.
10 of 12 people found the following review helpful
An Impressive Work 22 Sept. 2003
By Stephen B. Selbst - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
David Gilmour has written an excellent biography of George Curzon, who, although little known to most Americans, was an important figure in English politics and government from the 1890s until the 1920s. The virtues of Gilmour's biography far outweigh its minor faults: the book is well-written and takes a balanced and comprehensive look at its subject.
That balance is important: Curzon was by all accounts a brilliant but highly difficult man who was often haughty with subordinates and quarrelsome with his peers. Gilmour makes no excuses for Curzon's often indefensible behavior, nor does he gloss over Curzon's regrettable tendencies in this regard.
Gilmour does a very good job overall reviewing Curzon's long life in English public affairs, starting with his career in the House of Commons, moving on to his years as Viceroy in India, then to his years in the House of Lords and then in Cabinet. Nor is Curzon's private life neglected. My sole criticism is that at times Gilmour assumes a relatively high level of background knowledge of English history and politics of the era. For example, many of the references to the passage or defeat of individual bills before Parliament were simply beyond my knowledge. For my part, that level of detail could have been omitted without interrupting the narrative flow. But although those sections were inherently less interesting to me, I still give high marks overall to this work.
10 of 13 people found the following review helpful
Superb biography of driven public servant 1 May 2000
By A Customer - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
George Curzon was born in the Victorian era with an extremely privileged family background. This excellent biography relates the multiple rises / falls in his career - I enjoyed the book because of the insightful account of the timeless contradictions of Curzon's character; he was born to an aristocratic family, yet worked incredibly hard all his life; he inspired great loyalty amongst those who worked with him, but thoughtless offense to other senior political figures contributed to missed opportunities; hopelessly out-dated on issues such as women's rights and empire, his views on foreign policy issues were well ahead of his time. David Gilmour gives a great overview of a life which started at the time of the Great Exhibition and ended just before Britain's humiliations of the Gold Standard in the 1930s. People who enjoyed Titan (Rockefeller) may well enjoy this account of a flawed but dynamically positive man.
6 of 8 people found the following review helpful
A Destiny at the Service of Imperial Greatness 23 Jan. 2004
By Serge J. Van Steenkiste - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover
David Gilmour renders a balanced portrait of George Curzon, a complex imperial statesman. Curzon was born and raised as an aristocrat at a time that the British Empire was at its apex in the decades before WWI. Unlike the rest of his family, Curzon was very ambitious and determined to leave his mark in history. Gilmour makes a judicious use of Curson's writings to show us how extraordinarily well-traveled Curzon was for a man of his time. Curzon had a first-hand knowledge of many foreign issues, his undeniable specialty, unlike such luminaries as Lloyd George, A. J. Balfour, to name a few. Curzon was a work alcoholic, self-centered person who sounded condescending at times and was unable to delegate much because of his very exacting standards. Furthermore, Curzon often did not display much emotional intelligence in his relationship with others, including his own family. Unsurprisingly, Curzon's peers and superiors in politics found him regularly unbearable in Parliament, during his viceroyalty in India and as a member of different cabinets in the last decade of his life. Chirol summarized it very well when he told Hardinge that Curzon had the knack of saying the wrong thing, or even, when he says the right thing, of saying it in the wrong way, is quite extraordinary. I can recall no instance of a man whose personal unpopularity has to the same extent neutralized his immense abilities and his power of rendering great services. Gilmour shows very clearly how Curzon could be well ahead of his time in fields such as foreign policy and protection of old monuments and at the same time be so backward in such areas as women's rights and his attitude to nationalism. Overworked for most of his life, Curzon died prematurely at the age of 66. However, Curzon left some built-to-last monuments to posterity: think for instance about the impressive restoration of at one time decrepit Taj Mahal in India, the negotiation of the Lausanne Treaty that formalized the existence of Modern Turkey or Remembrance Day, a fitting tribute to the Fallen Heroes.
Five Stars 31 Oct. 2014
By Bernadette Hackett - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
For those of you who enjoy the history of imperial Britain this is a great book.
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