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The Young Melbourne & Lord M [Paperback]

David Cecil
5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)

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Book Description

18 Oct 2001
Melbourne played a great part in the social and political history of England. As Prime Minister he introduced Queen Victoria to public life, but but he was himself one of the most curious and charming personalities in England's history, and one of the great masters of the art of conversation.


Product details

  • Paperback: 566 pages
  • Publisher: W&N (18 Oct 2001)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1842124978
  • ISBN-13: 978-1842124970
  • Product Dimensions: 13.8 x 21.6 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 653,261 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Product Description

From the Publisher

. “A vivid, well-linked story…..that builds up a cumulative picture of Melbourne from his spoiled and brilliant youth to his lonely, overclouded old age” Peter Quennell, Spectator

About the Author

Lord David Cecil, C.H., Hon L.L.D., Hon D.Litt, the younger son of the 4th Marquess of Salisbury, was born in 1902 and educated at Eton and Christ Church, Oxford. Formerly Goldsmith Professor of English Literature at Oxford, he was also a Trustee of the National Portrait Gallery, President of the Poetry Society, and Rede Lecturer at Cambridge University. He died in 1986.

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
18 of 18 people found the following review helpful
Format:Paperback
This was one of JFK's top ten books, that's a well-known fact. But what did President Kennedy find so alluring in a story of a man in a time when leading politicians were as amorous as they were glamorous? What was so appealing in a story of a man who lived for politics during the week and for women and good times at the weekend? Melbourne is certainly not one of Britain's great Prime Ministers. But this is one of the best prime ministerial biographies. Although it was written a long time ago, it's fresh and full of wit. It details how the old roué was frequently spurned by women - his wife ran off with Byron, Queen Victoria first doted on him, then later ignored him. What makes reading this book so enjoyable nearly 200 years after Melbourne was at the height of his powers is the writing. It pulls you into a world of intrigue, love, lust and power when Britannia ruled the waves and decisions made in London's ivory towers affected people around the world. I wonder what Cecil would have come up with writing about a truly great character. I've read many books about most of the important British PMs. In my opinion there have been better politicians, but few better political biographies.
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11 of 11 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars First rate. 3 Aug 2009
By Zola fan TOP 1000 REVIEWER VINE VOICE
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
I didn't know anything about Lord Melbourne before I read this and was hooked from the first page - it's not too scholastic and not too light either. The first reviewer says it all but I would like to add that the author portrays a very rounded character and brings to life the people and times in which Lord M lived. There's mention of all the scadalous celebrities such as Lord Byron and for me, helped place these people and the politics in historical context. I would highly recommend this book.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A wonderful view of Melbourne's life and times 5 Jan 2013
By Keen Reader TOP 100 REVIEWER
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
This is a book (or combination of two books, published as one volume) I have meant to get around to reading for quite some time; and I'm very glad I have finally done so. The figure of Melbourne has long been one of interest given his predominance in the early reign of Queen Victoria, so it is interesting to see that part of his life, together with all that had gone before, and that which came after, from the perspective of Melbourne himself; or from the perspective as he may have seen it, as written by an empathetic and understanding biographer.

David Cecil has written beautifully and touchingly of Melbourne's life, from his privileged but slightly unorthodox upbringing with his lively mother and rather dour father, to his marriage with the flighty and unstable Caroline, and their tangled relationship with Byron. From there, Melbourne moves onto the political stage, where he lives firstly on the fringes, drawn by the heart to Canning's policies, but untouched by much which passes before him in the changing world as the industrial age progresses, and Europe is thrown into turmoil by unrest and uprisings. Melbourne's pre-eminence as Prime Minister is written of beautifully, as is relationship with the young Queen Victoria, and the politics of the age, confusing and complex as they are, are here brought very clearly to the reader's understanding. Melbourne's slow decline and unhappy last few years are very touching, and it is easy to see how he lived too long to understand the world as it moved from a risque and hearty eighteenth century world of landlords and peers, to a more anxious, religious and uptight Victorian world of the nineteenth century.
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