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Disraeli

4.16  ·  Rating details ·  158 ratings  ·  18 reviews
Benjamin Disraeli, perhaps the best known & certainly the most colorful of Queen Victoria's Prime Ministers, has long merited a full-scale biography. This is it, the 1st since the official & monumental study by Monypenny & Buckle which appeared deecades ago. Blake deals with Disraeli's political style & above all with the legend that he was moved by a consistent philosophy ...more
Paperback, 830 pages
Published February 1st 1998 by Trafalgar Square Publishing (first published January 1st 1966)
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Average rating 4.16  · 
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Jean
I was trying to choose which biography of Disraeli to read. I settled on this book by Blake as it is considered the seminal biography of Benjamin Disraeli (1804-1881).

This book is well written and meticulously researched. I like having the documentation at the end of every chapter instead of it at the end of the book. Blake cover in depth Disraeli’s writing career as well as his life as a politician. The author discussed Disraeli’s faults as well as his strengths. I think Blake did a fairly good
...more
Mark
Sep 30, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Few prime ministers in British history have been as memorable as Benjamin Disraeli. The son of a prominent literary scholar, he enjoyed success as a novelist before turning to a career in politics, Though elected to the House of Commons at a relatively late age, the split in the Conservative Party over the repeal of the Corn Laws in 1846 (a split resulting in part from Disraeli’s active campaigning against the measure) catapulted him to the front rank of the party. After several brief periods in ...more
Mackenzie
Jan 28, 2009 rated it it was amazing
Blake is not too much in love with his subject, as David Cecil was with Melbourne; not too nasty/snarky, either, as Lytton Strachey was with Queen Victoria. Robert Blake's book is spectacular read, the kind of book that left me as interested in the author as in the subject.
Richard Thomas
The seminal biography of Disraeli. I read it on publication in parallel with Moneypenny and Buckle as part of my first degree work on politics in the Age of Gladstone and I was most impressed then by Blake's scholarship and judgement of an exotic figure in British political life in the 19th century. I don't think it has been supplanted by any subsequent biographies which need to be read in conjunction with Blake's book.
Gayla Bassham
This is far more entertaining than a biography of a Victorian prime minister has any right to be, enlivened by both the subject -- Disraeli was quite the character -- and the dry wit of the writer. I am almost provoked to pick up one of Disraeli's novels, but since I've barely scratched the surface of Trollope that project may have to wait.
Roy
Jul 25, 2011 added it
I bought this book around 1970 and never hsd thr time to read it but now that i am retired and only working as a casual I have read it . It is a heavy book to hold up when you have OA in your C. Spine but I did it . Did you know that it weights 3 lbs ? I may put it up for sale if the price is right .
Andrew
Mar 16, 2015 rated it it was amazing
This is probably one of the best biographies ever written. The awesome scale of Lord Blake's work & the meticulous research that informs it are nothing short of intimidating. I finished this book with the feeling that very few biographers will ever accomplish anything as rigorous as Blake's Disraeli.

Blake obviously admires his subject, but he doesn't fawn or tolerate Disraeli's penchant for revisionist, self-aggrandizing autobiography. What really sets this work apart is Blake's willingness to t
...more
Steven Critelli
Feb 01, 2013 rated it it was amazing
If you want to understand how great prose is written, read Robert Blake.
Hock Tjoa
Feb 09, 2011 rated it really liked it
Robert Blake's biography of the brilliant Conservative prime minister (several times, in competition with Gladstone) has remained the best one (hefty) volume of that master politician. Before the U.S. had Reagan or FDR, the U.K. had Disraeli. One can learn a great deal about Victorian politics and also about writing from this marvelous book.
Wgrissom
Dec 01, 2008 rated it really liked it
I remember reading this in high school, and really enjoying it.
William
Sep 28, 2008 rated it really liked it
Primarily a political biography. Sets out to answer the question "Was Disraeli just a chancer?", but never comes to a firm conclusion.
Bill
Oct 31, 2008 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: anyone
Brilliant but personally troubled man very interesting and pivotal in English history
Jeffrey
Apr 29, 2017 rated it really liked it
Robert Blake's Disraeli has been a wonderful reading experience for me. For the most part it is an extremely well-written biography. Blake wrote a compelling narrative, researched his topic exhaustively, rigorously cited his sources, and avoided excessive bias. The text is thoroughly footnoted -- something of a passe practice that I heartily wish would return. As a result of Blake's efforts I have learned so much about Victorian British history, world history, and obviously about Benjamin Disrae ...more
Allon Shevat
Far too long

Albeit the copious detail, I did not get a feel about who Disraeli was.
Imho this is because of the detail which blinds the reader to the big picture. Highly disappointing
Rebecca E
Dec 31, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Excellent

Cleverly and impartially written account of Benjamin Disraeli. A talented and complex man whose very human frailties endear him to the reader.
Vincent Lombardo
Jan 27, 2017 rated it it was ok
The positive: I learned a lot about Disraeli and his times. The negative: I had to slog through this book!
This is an exhaustive biography of Disraeli, and it is exhausting to read! Blake clearly loves Disraeli and everything that Disraeli wrote, and he quotes just about everything that Disraeli wrote at very great length. I found this book too long and repetitive, and the writing was often arcane. I also found the book difficult to appreciate at times since I do not have a good background in Br
...more
Ray
Sep 23, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: owned
Extremely factual in an eminently readable fashion. The book gives a steady progress of the boy to manhood, and his intimate relationship with the Queen. A real window into a romantic, historical time.
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Robert Norman William Blake, Baron Blake was an English historian. He is best known for his 1966 biography of Benjamin Disraeli, 1st Earl of Beaconsfield, and for The Conservative Party from Peel to Churchill, which grew out of his 1968 Ford lectures. He was created a life peer as Baron Blake, of Braydeston in the County of Norfolk.

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