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Why Spencer Perceval Had to Die: The Assassination of a British Prime Minister Hardcover – 10 May 2012
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Andro Linklater's Why Spencer Perceval Had to Die is a beautifully written portrait of an overlooked prime minister and a fascinating account of his assassination during the Napoleonic Wars (Antony Beevor)
Enjoyable if ultimately eccentric survey ... He is entertaining on the temper of the times (Andrew Holgate, The Sunday Times Ireland)
Written with novelistic pace and the literary devices of a potboiler, the book is really two in one. The first, an overview of Perceval's neglected career, is sure-footed and worthy. The second, a breathlessly conspiratorial account of his death, is compulsively readable and wildly implausible (The Wall Street Journal)
Deftly sniffing out political machinations and murderous conspiracies, Linklater has written a richly atmospheric, engrossing and authoritative account of an assassination that, Linklater notes, shook the world 200 years ago as forcefully as JFK's assassination did in our time (Publishers Weekly)
Andro Linklater makes good use of the excellent copy that this story affords (Literary Review)
Fascinating ... as a popular account of a unique event in British history ... it stands up well (London Review of Books)
Linklater skilfully unpeels the onion of this enigma to identify the forces that led to the assassination ... an entertaining and deftly structured piece of historical detective work (Times Literary Supplement)
The facts revealed by letters, diaries and court records are fascinating enough. Linklater's book has more value than a historical whodunit. It helps us to understand the turbulent times and series of events that the author believes, inevitably, led to Perceval's assassination. It gives us a genuine understanding of the two key figures: the prime minister and his murderer (Sunday Express)
On the two hundredth anniversary of the assassination of Spencer Perceval - the only British Prime Minister ever to have suffered that fate - this is the riveting untold story of the murder, the murderer and the repercussions of his actSee all Product description
Top Customer Reviews
Spencer Perceval was Prime Minister during a turbulent time. After the French Revolution, Napoleon was waging war in Europe. A naval blockade had been imposed on France; the US and the French had their own embargos. Trade worldwide had slowed to a trickle and there was economic recession, unemployment, social distress and the threat of war. Perceval was a man of strong beliefs, who opposed the slave trade and believed in respectable public and private behaviour during the reign of a notoriously dissolute Prince Regent. Happily married with many children, Perceval was respected by his peers and loved by his family.
This book looks at the aftermath of the assassination, how it was perceived in the country, the trial of Bellingham and his reasons for wanting to kill the PM. We are taken from trading in Archangel, to slave traders in Liverpool, through the lives of both Bellingham and Perceval, examining who benefited from the removel of the Prime Minister, what motives there could be, looking at Luddites, radicals, Catholics and slave trade abolition along the way. This really is a very well written, informative and interesting read, which examines the consequences of Perceval's death and finishes by telling us what happened to all the people involved in the events surrounding the assassination. Lastly, I read the kindle edition of this book and the illustrations were included.
Percival was a contradictory character. He was doing all he could to end the slave trade, and apparently, his murder meant that forty thousand extra slaves were transported across the ocean each year. That alone is enough reason for condemning it. Yet the common people loathed him, and he was also hated by some very rich and ruthless men. Bellingham insisted, no doubt truthfully, that he acted alone. Yet if he had been allowed to live longer he might, like Oswald, have parted with some interesting information.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
An intriguing piece of British history that often gets overlooked.
Linklater delves at depth into the assassination of Spencer Percival who is shown as an interesting... Read more
At one point of the book the author says what it could be considered both a justification for the title and a bizarre epitaph to Spencer Perceval's life:
"Spencer... Read more
Saw a few moments of interview with the author in a BBC programme about Spencer Perceval, so went and got this book. Read morePublished 12 months ago by SDR
A very interesting book well written and of course, money well spent. The book arrived well within the date.Published 14 months ago by Amazon Customer
This is an excellent book, well-written and informative. It is not often that my own research is so much fun. Read morePublished 14 months ago by Susanna
Amazing that this incident in history is not better known. FascinatingPublished 21 months ago by Tredegar
This is a very in depth piece of work on a little know title. I found that the day was covered by those for and against slavery, a very devicive subject with many getting very rich... Read morePublished on 11 April 2015 by mr.ron0