Disraeli: The Victorian Dandy Who Became Prime Minister
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Disraeli: The Victorian Dandy Who Became Prime Minister

3.14 of 5 stars 3.14  ·  rating details  ·  43 ratings  ·  12 reviews
To Thomas Carlyle he was "not worth his weight in cold bacon," but, to Queen Victoria, Benjamin Disraeli was "the kindest Minister" she had ever had and a "dear and devoted friend." In this masterly biography by England's "outstanding popular historian" (A.N. Wilson), Christopher Hibbert reveals the personal life of one of the most fascinating men of the nineteenth century...more
Hardcover, 432 pages
Published May 30th 2006 by Palgrave Macmillan Trade (first published 2004)
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Rebecca
I have a certain affection for Victorian history, and kept coming up against Disraeli as a personage of the age. I thought perhaps I should learn a little bit more about him.

I have now read an entire book on the guy, and I still feel like I don't know anything about him.

I have no idea what Hibbert's goal was in writing this book. As far as I know, it's not inaccurate, and it's not unreadable on a sentence level. But it's just...pointless. He somehow miraculously drains any interest from his subj...more
Adriana
Disappointing. I have thoroughly enjoyed other books by Hibbert, and Disraeli is a fascinating figure, but this book was mainly focused on his personal life, and reads more like a series of invitation lists for the hundreds of dinners he attended...it doesn't even quote any of his speeches in Parliament!
Bradley
I will have to read another biography in order to get beneath the surface of Benjamin Disraeli. This author was fascinated with Disraeli's personal life: travel, house parties and dining with the great and good. He shows almost no interest in Disraeli's political life. The Suez Canal purchase, the Act that made Victoria Empress of India and the various cabinets he served in and led are nothing more than incidental. Often it's not possible to tell whether he is in or out of office at a particular...more
Kurtbg
I was interested in a bio on Disraeli and picked this up at Borders before it became the economic dodo. It was the only one there so I grabbed it. Let me say that this is not a bio on Mr. D. This book seems to cover correspondence between Disraeli and various people, and occasionally letters talking about Disraeli. The books is set in a chronological order and tries to give a continuity to him.

This books gives me the impression that he was a son-of a respected writer which gave him access to a b...more
Andy
What an incredibly strange man - I guess I would have been among his detractors in his day. His flamboyent dress, cavalier attitude toward debt, and sheer egotism would have offended. But he was undeniably brilliant - with a WF Buckley-esqe productivity. He wrote a score of decent novels, gave multi-hour speeches without notes, mastered the arcana of British Administration without seeming really very interested in it. The Conservative Party leaders, as a group, couldn't stand him, but really had...more
Matt
It's hard to really describe how much I enjoyed this book. Hibbert gives a rich and enthralling portrayal of Disraeli the man. His flaws and strengths are fairly honestly discussed, and enabled me to view Disraeli with the kind of rich affection generally reserved for people you know and know well. I don't know that it will have the same impact on others, but I found this book fascinating from beginning to end, and I find myself quite moved having finished it. Overall a remarkable book, and a re...more
Jason
I knew little to nothing about Disraeli, other than he had been Prime Minister, so it was great to read a little more about him. This biography is a great introduction to the man. There is so much to him, that one biography that fully covers every interesting facet about him and the time in which he lived would fill a massive set of tomes, so I may have to get a few more bios to get further info.
Colin
This English politician (1804 - 1881) wrote novels, started as a Radical, ended as a Tory, and gave one of the greatest quotes about politics in a speech in the house of Commons, March 3rd 1845 . "A conservative government is an organized hypocrisy." This was not an insult, he himself being a Tory was a Conservative. A very complex man with a complex mind that loved irony and knew how to use it.
Megan
Might have been easier to follow if I had any previous knowledge of Victorian England, but the book doesn't give much background. Kind of disorganized, too.
Jonathan
Sort of the Bill Clinton of 19th-c Britain, except he wrote novels and was more flamboyant and was MP and PM many times.
Richard
Although a decent biography of the man himself, this book is ultimately disappointing, as it fails to adequately place Disraeli in the wider historical context. Although his personal life is detailed exquisitely, the details of his political career are glossed over. This often leaves the narrative feeling disconnected. A pity, as he was one of the most fascinating figures of the 19th century, and one of the major inspirations for my own (rather heterodox) conservatism.
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Christopher Hibbert, MC, FRSL, FRGS (5 March 1924 - 21 December 2008) was an English writer, historian and biographer. He was a Fellow of the Royal Society of Literature and the author of many books, including Disraeli, Edward VII, George IV, The Rise and Fall of the House of Medici, and Cavaliers and Roundheads.

Described by Professor Sir John Plumb as "a writer of the highest ability and in the N...more
More about Christopher Hibbert...
The House of Medici: Its Rise and Fall The Virgin Queen: Elizabeth I, Genius Of The Golden Age The Borgias and Their Enemies: 1431-1519 The Days of the French Revolution Queen Victoria: A Personal History

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