‘A shrewd political biography and a sensitive portrait of one of our most enigmatic heroes.’ Simon Sebag Montefiore
‘One of the most enjoyable biographies for years…if you buy only one political biography this year, make it the one.’ John Major
‘A first-class work of history; informative, well written and captivating.’ The Times
‘What makes the book such an engrossing and stimulating read is the author’s passion for and understanding of politics.’ Sunday Times
‘A weighty and scholarly biography…the empathy, indeed the identification of subject with author, is remarkable. Hague deserves an accolade…he has written a serious, detailed and thoughtful study of one of Britain's greatest prime ministers.’ Shirley Williams, Guardian
‘Truly fine…The need for a distinguished, readable, single-volume work has long been recognised. William Hague has now triumphantly filled this gap.’ Scotsman
‘Narrated with a finely attuned sense of the politically dramatic.’ Andrew Roberts, Evening Standard
‘A reliable and readable account of an unusual politician and a tragic life.’ Spectator
‘A fascinating account.’ Christopher Foyle, Mail on Sunday
From the Back Cover
William Pitt The Younger was one of the most extraordinary figures in British history, who became Prime Minister in 1783 at the remarkable age of twenty-four. In this lively and authoritative biography, William Hague explains the dramatic events and exceptional abilities which allowed extreme youth to be combined with great power.
Pitt was derided as a ‘schoolboy’ when he took office. Yet within months he had outwitted his opponents, and he went on to dominate the political scene for twenty-two years (nineteen of them as Prime Minister). No British politician since has exercised such supremacy for so long.
Generally thought to be cold and aloof, Pitt was described by friends as the wittiest man they ever knew. William Hague succeeds in explaining Pitt’s actions and motives during a series of great national crises, including the trauma of the Napoleonic wars. He describes how a man dedicated to peace became Britain’s longest-serving war leader, how Pitt the liberal reformer became Pitt the author of repression, and how – though undisputed master of the nation’s finances – he died with vast personal debts.
With its rich cast of characters, and set against a backdrop of industrial revolution and global conflict, this is history at its most riveting.