Balfour: The Last Grandee Hardcover – 15 Nov 2007
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Praise for Bonar Law:
'A fine biography, scholarly, wise and generous'(David Gilmour, Financial Times)
'This is an authoritative book . . . an essential work' (John Vincent, The Spectator)
'[The book] shows that Adams's proved ability to write general history is matched by his talent for biography' (John Grigg, The Times)
'Intelligent, lucid, immaculately researched' (Philip Ziegler, Daily Telegraph)
'A masterly life of a modest man' (Paul Addison)
An authoritative and comprehensive biography of the Conservative Prime Minister
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Top Customer Reviews
The problem with this book is the subject, Balfour himself. Whilst he was known to be excellent company and engaged in erudite and stimulating conversation, particularly with his intimates known as 'The Souls', his political career was far from sparkling. Balfour was vain, indecisive and chronically indolent so it is of little surprise that his extended period as leader of his party in the Commons under the premiership of Lord Salisbury was lacklustre in terms of solid achievement. Balfour's premiership was riven by a lack of leadership and an inability to resolve arguments on tariff reform; periodically calling for 'freedom of action' rather than resolving a party line. (Some readers may find this very reminiscent of John Major and the arguments on Europe.)
The most notable characteristic of Balfour's activity in the Lloyd George coalition was his tendency to write ambivalent and often ambiguous position papers that were then usually ignored, so that he was present at many events but actually contributed little. The odious 'Balfour Declaration' which within its few lines is immediately self contradictory is typical of his ambiguity. Again Balfour's intention, apart from placating his friends, was to resolve the local assimilation or non-assimilation question for the Jews, whereas the Declaration did the complete opposite and perpetuated the question for as long as a Zionist state of Israel exists.
A good book about an irritating and feckless politician.
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