Douglas Hurd - Robert Peel - Orion Publishing Group
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    • ISBN:9781780225968
    • Publication date:31 Jan 2013

Robert Peel

By Douglas Hurd

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Life of one of the greatest British Prime Ministers - by an author who knows the scene from his years as a senior Minister in Margaret Thatcher's Cabinet.

Robert Peel, as much as any man in the nineteenth century, transformed Great Britain into a modern nation. He invented our police force, which became a model for the world. He steered through the Bill which allowed Catholics to sit in Parliament. He reorganised the criminal justice system. Above all he tackled poverty by repealing the Corn Laws. Thanks to Peel the most powerful trading nation chose free trade and opened the door for our globalised world of today.

Peel was not all politics. He built two great houses, filled them with famous pictures and was devoted to a beautiful wife.

Many followers never forgave him for splitting his Party. But when in 1850 he was carried home after a fall from his horse crowds gathered outside, mainly of working people, to read the medical bulletins. When he died a few days later, factories closed, flags flew at half mast and thousands contributed small sums to memorials in his honour. He was the man who provided cheap bread and sacrificed his career for the welfare of ordinary people.

Biographical Notes

Former diplomat, private secretary to Edward Heath (as Ldr of the Opposition and as PM); MP 1974-97. Served Margaret Thatcher as Secretary of State for Northern Ireland, as Home Secretary and as Foreign Secretary.

  • Other details

  • ISBN: 9780753823842
  • Publication date: 12 Jun 2008
  • Page count: 448
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Choose Your Weapons

Douglas Hurd

When writing his magnificent life of Robert Peel, Douglas Hurd found himself caught up again in a debate that has always fascinated him - the argument between the noisy popular liberal interventionist approach and the more conservative diplomatic approach concentrating on co-operation between other nations. The argument has run for two centuries - and is at the heart of heated discussion on both sides of the Atlantic today. Hurd concentrates on personalities and circumstances. He begins with the dramatic antagonism after Waterloo between Canning (liberal, populist, interventionist) and Castlereagh (institutions, compromise, real politics) - the last occasion on which ministerial colleagues fought a duel. A generation later comes Palmerston vs Aberdeen, from which Palmerston, the noisy interventionist, emerged the victor. Salisbury and then Edward Grey wrestled with the same dilemma in the context of imperialism (Salisbury) and the European balance of power (Grey). Finally Eden and Bevin, from wholly different backgrounds, combined with the Americans to create a post-war compromise, which served its purpose for half a century, but is coming apart today as the old questions resurface in new and savage forms in an era of terrorism and racial conflict.

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Disraeli

Douglas Hurd, Edward Young

Benjamin Disraeli was the most gifted parliamentarian of the nineteenth century. A superb orator, writer and wit, he twice rose to become Prime Minister, dazzling many with his famous epigrams along the way. But how much do we really know about the man behind the words? How did this bankrupt Jewish school dropout and trashy novelist reach the top of the Victorian Conservative Party? And why does his reputation continue to have such a hold over British politics today? In this engaging reassessment, Douglas Hurd and Edward Young explore the paradoxes at the centre of Disraeli's 'two lives': a dandy and gambler on the one hand, a devoted servant and favourite Prime Minister of the Queen on the other. A passionately ambitious politician, he intrigued and manoeuvred with unmatched skill to get to - in his own words - 'the top of the greasy pole', but he also developed a set of ideas to which he was devoted. His political achievements are never quite what they seem: he despised the idea of a more classless society, he never used the phrase 'One Nation', and although he passed the Second Reform Act he was no believer in democracy. By stripping away the many myths which surround his career, Douglas Hurd and Edward Young bring alive the true genius of Disraeli in this wonderfully entertaining exploration of his life.

Douglas Hurd

Former diplomat, private secretary to Edward Heath (as Ldr of the Opposition and as PM); MP 1974-97. Served Margaret Thatcher as Secretary of State for Northern Ireland, as Home Secretary and as Foreign Secretary. As a writer is the (co-)author of many thrillers including IMAGE IN THE WATER, his MEMOIRS in 2003 and other non-fiction titles.

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Edward Young

Edward Young gained a first-class degree in history from Clare College, Cambridge, and won a Mellon Scholarship to Yale where he studied history and international relations as part of the Grand Strategy Program. He has since worked as a speechwriter for David Cameron and as Chief of Staff to the Conservative Party Chairman. He currently works at Brunswick Group LLC. Disraeli is Edward's third book in collaboration with Lord Hurd, having worked as a research assistant for his biography of Sir Robert Peel, and co-authoring Choose Your Weapons, a history of British foreign policy.

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What Might Have Been?

Introduced and Edited by Andrew Roberts

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An Interview

Simon Sebag Montefiore

Simon Sebag Montefiore explains to Danuta Kean why he is fascinated with Stalin.

Visit

Simon Sebag Montefiore's Website

Click here to visit the official website of Simon Sebag Montefiore, watch interviews with the award-winning author and read extracts from his best-selling non-fiction.

Hugh Sebag-Montefiore

Barrister and journalist (currently attached to the Mail on Sunday). His family owned Bletchley Park ? where the Enigma code was broken ? until they sold it to the British government in 1937.

Simon Sebag Montefiore

Simon Sebag Montefiore read history at Gonville and Caius College, Cambridge, where he received his Doctorate of Philosophy. His books are published in over forty languages. CATHERINE THE GREAT AND POTEMKIN was shortlisted for the Samuel Johnson Prize. STALIN: THE COURT OF THE RED TSAR won the History Book of the Year Prize, British Book Awards. YOUNG STALIN won the Costa Biography Award (UK), the LA Times Book Prize for Biography (USA), Le Grand Prix de la Biographie Politique (France) and the Kreisky Prize for Political Literature (Austria). JERUSALEM: THE BIOGRAPHY won the Jewish Book of the Year Prize (USA). He is also the author of two acclaimed novels, SASHENKA and ONE NIGHT IN WINTER. Dr Montefiore's next major history book will be THE ROMANOVS: RISE AND FALL, 1613-1917. He has presented BBC television series on the Holy Cities of Jerusalem, Rome and Istanbul. A Fellow of the Royal Society of Literature and Visiting Professor at Buckingham University, he lives in London with his wife, the novelist Santa Montefiore, and their two children. Visit his website for more information www.simonsebagmontefiore.com, join on Facebook https://www.facebook.com/pages/Simon-Sebag-Montefiore and follow him on Twitter https://twitter.com/simonmontefiore.

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Stalin

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There have been many biographies of Stalin, but the court that surrounded him is untravelled ground. Simon Sebag-Montefiore, acclaimed biographer of Catherine the Great?s lover, prime minister and general, Potemkin, has unearthed the vast underpinning that sustained Stalin. Not only ministers such as Molotov or secret service chiefs such as Beria, but men and women whose loyalty he trusted only until the next purge. Here is the Stalin story from the inside, full of revelations. How the death of Stalin's wife was hushed up - was it suicide? How the Soviet leaders and their families lived and partied inside the Kremlin walls. What happened on the first day of war with Germany in 1941. The fullest account of the meeting between Stalin, Roosevelt and Churchill that settled the fate of the axis powers. And how the Great Terror in which 10 million died actually happened.Robert Service (St Antony's, Oxford), former head of Russian history at the School of Slavonic Studies, U. of London: 'Simon Sebag Montefiore has pulled it off. His book succeeds in giving us an intimate picture of daily life in the Kremlin under Stalin. The arrests and killings are not ignored; indeed Montefiore supplies extra chapters and verses on the process by which the Soviet dictator moved against his enemies real and potential. An abundance of the sources are wholly new. The result is a gripping account. Stalin was a vengeful conspirator and a murderous leader. But he was also 'normal' in many ways. He was convivial, solicitous and even flirtatious. When he wanted, he could be quite a charmer. This duality has long been under-appreciated, but it helps to explain why Stalin was admired as well as feared by his associates - and indeed why his power endured. This is a fundamental theme and it is one of Montefiore's that he handles it with excitement and cogency.'