A lively, authoritative biography of one of the towering figures in British history who became Prime Minister at the age of twenty-four, written by the youngest-ever leader of the Tory Party.
The younger William Pitt – known as the ‘schoolboy’ – began his days as Prime Minister in 1783, deeply underestimated and completely beleaguered. Yet he annihilated his opponents in the General Election the following year and dominated the governing of Britain for twenty-two years [nearly nineteen of them as Prime Minister]. No British politician since has exercised such supremacy for so long.
Pitt presided over dramatic changes in the country’s finances and trade, brought about the union with Ireland, and directed [and was ultimately consumed by] the years of debilitating war with France. Domestic crises included unrest in Ireland, deep division in the royal family and the madness of the King, and a full-scale naval mutiny. He enjoyed huge success, yet died at the nadir of his fortunes, struggling to maintain a government beset by a thin majority at home and military disaster abroad; he worked, worried and drank himself to death.
William Hague’s biography is comparable to Roy Jenkins’s recent bestselling life of Churchill – an eminent politician writing an outstanding Prime Ministerial life – and announces the arrival of a brilliant new historical writer.
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'[Hague] has written a serious, detailed and thoughtful study of one of Britain's greatest prime ministers' -- The GuardianFrom 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.
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Book Description Harper Collins, 2004. Hardcover. Book Condition: New. First Edition. Bookseller Inventory # DADAX0007147198