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Gladstone: A Biography (Penguin Classic Biography) Paperback – 28 Jun 2001

4.0 out of 5 stars 2 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Paperback: 512 pages
  • Publisher: Penguin Books Ltd; New edition edition (28 Jun. 2001)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0141390786
  • ISBN-13: 978-0141390789
  • Product Dimensions: 13.4 x 3.7 x 21.5 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 1,041,124 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
  • See Complete Table of Contents

Product Description

Review

"* 'All who care for serious biography will find it absorbing' - THE TIMES * 'What an excellent book' - Sir Harold Nicolson * 'He writes with lucid grace; his judgement strikes me as almost impeccable' - THE SUNDAY TIMES * 'He was one of the giants of the age. Sir Philip Magnus has done full justice to his commanding personality' - DAILY MAIL"

About the Author

Sir Philip Magnus was a distinguished historian and is the biographer of Edmund Burke, Sir Walter Raleigh, Lord Kitchener and Edward VII, as well as Gladstone.


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Format: Hardcover
Published in 1954, this biography comes roughly half way between Gladstone’s death and the 1995 one volume biography by Roy Jenkins. What a fantastic and inspiring man Gladstone was. And what better introduction to the 19th century and the Victorian era than a biography of the Grand Old Man whose 89 years include 4 spells as Prime Minister (including one which began at the age of 82!) and interaction with most of the leading western statesman of the century including one of the few people who outlived him, Victoria herself.
To the dilemma of constructing a faithful yet interesting and readable biography Magnus provides a sensible blend of chronological narrative, discussion of issues and judgmental comment. The prose is eminently readable, condensing the mass of research material sensibly. The reader gains a satisfying summary of some of the great controversies along with a helpful sprinkling of atmospheric facts and detailed information. 1909, the opening page informs us, was the birth year of Lincoln, Darwin and Tennyson, in the first of many such helpful ambient references which help to set the material in it’s context.
The last premiership seems a bit rushed and occasionally the judgments seem a bit too opinionated and one ends with the feeling that there were aspects of Gladstone which Magnus did not fully understand. The attempt in the last few pages to weigh the legacy of Gladstone, if short is very helpful.
With excellent pace and prose Magnus has provided an excellent and readable biography which, when compared with Jenkins’ more recent, rather longer and somewhat inferior work, serves to prove that the long passage of time does not always allow for a more mature assessment of history.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Gladstone by Philip Magnus is a very good book detailing the life of the dominant political figure of the second half of the nineteenth century. It is well-written, detailed and informative, but it is unfortunately showing itself to be little dated as a work. It is also a little biased in favour of its subject when it really does not need to be as Gladstone is arguably the greatest Chancellor of the Exchequer in British history and one of the most brilliant figures of the Victorian age. All in all a very good book about one of the great British politicians who dominated the politics of the nation for nearly half a century and shaped the economic management of the country for generations.
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