Gladstone: Volume II, 1865-1898

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9780807824863: Gladstone: Volume II, 1865-1898

William Ewart Gladstone was perhaps the greatest colossus of the Victorian Age. Along with his formidable rival, Benjamin Disraeli, he dominated Britain's political scene from the moment of his appointment as chancellor of the exchequer in Aberdeen's famous coalition ministry until his resignation as prime minister in March 1894, four years before his death. In the intervening years, he held the office of prime minister four times.

With this volume, Richard Shannon completes his magisterial biography of Gladstone. Tracing Gladstone's career from his rise to eminence in 1865 until his death in 1898, Shannon documents his emergence as the dominant personality in the Liberal Party, his activities as a statesman, and his decades-long battle with Disraeli.

In his analysis, Shannon pays particular attention to Gladstone's attempts to integrate his religion with his career. Profoundly influenced by his Anglican Christianity, Gladstone approached his causes with a missionary fervor, Shannon argues. This tenacity is perhaps best illustrated by Gladstone's unyielding support of Irish home rule—a position so at odds with Liberal policies that it caused many Liberals to ally themselves with the Conservatives, thereby instigating the decline of Gladstone's own party.

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From the Inside Flap:

The second and concluding volume of Richard Shannonˇs magisterial biography of Gladstone. It covers Gladstoneˇs emergence as Englandˇs dominant Liberal, his activities as a stateman, and his long clash with Disraeli.

Review:

Shannon offers us a Gladstone who is thoroughly complex, often infuriating, sometimes mysterious, but never ceasing to command our admiration.

American Historical Review

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