A brilliant account of the dramatic confrontation between the two “mighty opposites” of the Victorian age.
It was the most important duel in Victorian politics. From the mid-19th Century, parliamentary and political life in Britain would be dominated by their head-to-head confrontation. Each would seize the initiative at different times; blows would be traded and points scored. One would seemingly have an unassailable advantage only to see it retrieved by his foe. Even death failed to end the struggle; Disraeli’s political ghost continued to torment Gladstone, not least during the shocking Home Rule debates of 1886.
The Lion and the Unicorn is the story of this great rivalry; the challenge is how to tell it in a compelling way for a 21st Century audience. Part of the problem is that while one man appears to be the epitome of his times, the other is apparently the quintessence of ours. William Gladstone is often used to exemplify every undesirable feature of the Victorian age, most notably hypocrisy, self-righteousness and cant.
In a great feud that electrified the Victorian age, Gladstone and Disraeli set out their political and moral stalls in vivid opposition to each other, where, in addition, their abiding personal loathing personalized their disputes. The conflict between these two political giants would help to establish the modern parliamentary system.
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Richard Aldous lectures in modern history at University College, Dublin. He has written widely on political history, including his brilliantly reviewed life of Malcolm Sargent, Tunes of Glory.From Publishers Weekly:
Two titans, Disraeli and Gladstone, dominated English politics in the Victorian age. Each did multiple stints as prime minister and as leader of the Conservative (Disraeli) or Liberal (Gladstone) party. Political opposition shifted over the years to mutual personal disapproval and finally to rage-driven attack. Aldous (of University College, Dublin) traces the development of this seemingly pathological antagonism amid the policy disputes of the era. Both combatants displayed rhetorical skills unimaginable in a politician today. Both were writers, Gladstone of dull works on religion and on Homer, Disraeli of novels lampooning notable figures of his day, especially Gladstone. Aldous portrays both as possessing repellent character traits, such as Disraeli's vindictive mockery and Gladstone's moral hypocrisy. All these tangy ingredients make this joint biography highly appetizing, even if some readers may find issues like the Corn Laws, that so energized Gladstone and Disraeli, a bit faded. However, vexing issues of international trade, religion in public life and voting rights divide our nation as they did Victorian England. Aldous's smooth pacing and adroit writing bring a forgotten world back to life and demonstrate how two forceful if warring personalities can create a history that neither could have achieved acting alone. (Sept.)
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Book Description Hutchinson, London, 2006. Hard Cover. Book Condition: New. Dust Jacket Condition: New. First Edition. First Edition, first printing. Unread, perfect condition. Not price clipped or marked in any way. Jacket protected by clear removable mylar cover. Richard Aldous is Head of History & Archives at University College, Dublin. H writes for the Irish Times, and is a political analyst for RTE television. Praise for his previous book, Tunes of Glory: The Life of Malcolm Sargent, "Brilliant.a decisive contribution to Bristish Cultural History." Irish Times. Illustrated with two 8-page inserts of b&w photos and illustrations. Bookseller Inventory # 003942
Book Description Hutchinson, 2006. Hardcover. Book Condition: New. book. Bookseller Inventory # 91799562
Book Description Hutchinson, 2006. Hardcover. Book Condition: New. book. Bookseller Inventory # 0091799562