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David Lloyd George: The Great Outsider Paperback – 1 Mar 2012

4.1 out of 5 stars 33 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Paperback: 720 pages
  • Publisher: Abacus (1 Mar. 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 9780349121109
  • ISBN-13: 978-0349121109
  • ASIN: 0349121109
  • Product Dimensions: 13.2 x 4.4 x 19.6 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (33 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 13,000 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Product description

Review

'Some startlingly modern parallels . . . An entertaining and illuminating biography . . . When we come to the lurid drama at the end of 1916, Hattersley is excellent' --Geoffrey Wheatcroft, OBSERVER

'A vivid, comprehensive and timely account of the most remarkable political personality of the last century' --John Campbell, MAIL ON SUNDAY --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.

Book Description

* A brilliant biography of one of our greatest politicians, from the highly acclaimed Roy Hattersley, out now in paperback

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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Like most of Roy Hattersley's books, the research is escellent and the personalities begin t take shape very quickly. LG is a difficult person to come to terms with. One merely has to read his War Memoirs to realise that. But Hattersley skates carefully through the self-promotion and reveals the portrait of a self-confident politician with a less than scrupulous regard for others. Roy Jenkins declined to write a briography of LG for various reasons, but this author has no such qualms and it is a pleasure to read. Peter Rowland's Lloyd George is very detailed and in places difficult to come to grips with. This is not the case here. For any historian of the 20th century, it should be required reading.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This book has been a long time in the writing. However, reading it, I wonder why. Perhaps the least of its faults is that it has been inadequately proof-read. The number of typos are legion, in some cases several on every page. Sam Evans, for example, becomes Sam Ellis on a number of pages, Northwich Norwich, and so on, to the extent that these interfere with the flow of the narrative.

But this is a minor problem compared to the fact that Hattersley has clearly failed to do some basic research. His account of the 1894-6 Cymru Fydd conroversy, for example, collapses into nonsense when he describes Lloyd George's plans to secure the abolition of the South Wales Liberal Federation as follows:

'The Obstructive South Wales Liberal Federation would be superseded and engulfed by the Rhondda Liberal Association...'

This in all seriousness!! The Rhondda Liberal Association was a constituency association, which belonged to the South Wales Liberal Federation, not a similar, more nationalist body. How Hattersley has developed this idea is frankly beyond me, unless he hasn't thought to check any one of dozens of books on this subject. This speaks of sloppy writing, as well as sloppy thinking.

Equally, the identification of Mabon, MP for the Rhondda, as 'Anti-Nationalist' is to assume that only Lloyd George's version of nationalism was the correct one. Given that Lord Hattersley has been advised by Kenneth Morgan and John Graham Jones, one would expect better. Even if he had not been, there is the assumption that a writer would acquire a proper knowledge of his subject before putting pen to paper.
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Format: Hardcover
"The more things change, the more they stay the same". We see Lloyd George condemning the arms race and immoral wars, such as against the Boers - how would he have applied his razor-sharp scorn to the Iraq War? He campaigned for non-conformist teachers to be allowed to teach in Welsh schools , so presumably would have spoken against faith schools and for Welsh devolution, had he lived today. He foresaw how the embryonic labour party threatened the long-term survival of the liberal party and eventually advocated a "centrist" coalition with the Tories to effect constitutional change. The level of faction-fighting within the Liberal Party foreshadowed what may be about to happen again now. And then there were the issues of Irish independence and the power of the Lords to block legislation, eternal thorns in the flesh of Westminster.

Lloyd George got himself noticed by attacking people through breathtakingly rude yet witty insults, on a scale which would probably be quite unacceptable today. His "weathercock" attitude to many issues makes for confusing reading at times. He opposed votes for women on the practical grounds that this would give the Tories an unfair advantage until suffrage was extended to men without property. This illustrates the ultra-pragmatism which enabled him to negotiate with employers and unions to avert strikes, and bring peace to Ireland - yet always there was his tendency to give different parties different impressions - to the point of appearing to lie - so that "solutions" were too often short-lived.

We are told that LG "felt no loyalty to either institutions or individuals ...yet he remained true ... to a few ideas...
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I don't really like Lord (Roy) Hattersley. I've never met him and maybe I'm being irrational, but I don't really like Lord Hattersley. This book has not made me like him for, among other things, it exhibits his prejudices and it shows what may be his laziness.

I reckon that David Lloyd George disappointed Hattersley by not, eventually, going over to Labour. I also reckon that Hattersley doesn't approve of Lloyd George's sexual shenanigans. A certain po-faced, politically-correct, middle class, curtain-twitching faux disgust shows through Hattersley's writing. Jack Kennedy's close contemporaries knew full well that the president had always been obsessed with sex. Those contemporaries, in the main, disregarded Kennedy's peccadilloes for they realised that he was greater than his weaknesses. So did Lloyd George's close contemporaries for they realised that he, also, was greater than his weaknesses. Readers will have to make up their own minds about 'The Goat.'

Hattersley's - or somebody else's - laziness exhibits itself in the book by and through the numerous typographical and spelling errors. Somebody - Hattersley or somebody else - should have fixed these errors that are inexcusable in the spell-check age. Errors of fact are also worrying, for one never know that, if one spots one - Abraham Lincoln was not born at Louisville, but near Hodgenville, Kentucky - how many more there are. Not good for stars for an Amazon review.

But, but, but ...
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