David Lloyd George: The Great Outsider

Roy Hattersley

David Lloyd George: The Great Outsider

David Lloyd George was the authentic radical of British history who rose from his 'cottage bred' origins to become Prime Minister of Great Britain, acclaimed in 1918 as 'the man who won the war'. His career was built on charm, courage and energy. His contempt for the conventions of society made him 'The Great Outsider' who exploited the establishment but never wished to join it. As a young Liberal MP, he made his name with vitriolic attacks on his opponents and established his reputation as a man who pioneered old age pensions, sickness pay and unemployment benefit. Once the war was won, his attempts to maintain the coalition that he had created and convert it into a new party failed. After sixteen years in the cabinet, six of them as Prime Minister, he was out of office, destined to remain in the political wilderness. 3.9 out of 5 based on 8 reviews
David Lloyd George: The Great Outsider

Omniscore:

Classification Non-fiction
Genre Biography, History
Format Hardback
Pages 720
RRP £25.00
Date of Publication September 2010
ISBN 978-1408700976
Publisher Little, Brown
 

David Lloyd George was the authentic radical of British history who rose from his 'cottage bred' origins to become Prime Minister of Great Britain, acclaimed in 1918 as 'the man who won the war'. His career was built on charm, courage and energy. His contempt for the conventions of society made him 'The Great Outsider' who exploited the establishment but never wished to join it. As a young Liberal MP, he made his name with vitriolic attacks on his opponents and established his reputation as a man who pioneered old age pensions, sickness pay and unemployment benefit. Once the war was won, his attempts to maintain the coalition that he had created and convert it into a new party failed. After sixteen years in the cabinet, six of them as Prime Minister, he was out of office, destined to remain in the political wilderness.

Reviews

The New Statesman

Andrew Adonis

...Hattersley's judgements on Lloyd George are good and dispassionate throughout... [He] paints a splendid portrait of this genius of modern liberalism.

21/09/2010

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The Sunday Telegraph

Anthony Howard

Roy Hattersley’s new biography is the best and most balanced account of the rise and fall of [Lloyd George]… It may not be wholly equitable, but as a former cabinet minister who once had aspirations for his party’s leadership, he invests his narrative with an authority that forms a large part of its distinction.

26/09/2010

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The Independent

Edward Pearce

Of writing biographies of Lloyd George there is no end. However, at good but graceful length, Roy Hattersley may have written the book to wrap up argument. Another very intelligent politician, he stands at a cool distance but inside the arena, making sensible, ultimately melancholy, distinctions.

01/10/2010

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The Observer

Geoffrey Wheatcroft

Entertaining and illuminating... Maybe the most striking thing about this book is Hattersley's distaste for Lloyd George, which becomes clearer with every chapter - and is an ironical reflection on its origins. Hattersley was urged to write it by Roy Jenkins, who himself disliked Lloyd George "so heartily that he could not contemplate writing the book himself". One feels that Hattersley wants to admire Lloyd George as a provincial radical and the proto-apostle of the welfare state. And yet the closer he studies his life, the more conscious he is of the man's faults.

19/09/2010

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The Literary Review

Jane Ridley

It begins conventionally enough but, as it goes on, Hattersley becomes increasingly critical of his subject, making this a more interesting book… [He] sympathises with Lloyd George the people's champion, but he is bitter about the war leader.

01/09/2010

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The Spectator

Paul Johnson

I applaud Roy Hattersley’s courage in tackling this rebarbative subject and congratulate him on his success in making sense of Lloyd George’s early life up to his emergence as a major figure in parliament. Thereafter, however, he tends to lose his way in the trackless jungle of endless political crises during Lloyd George’s 16 years in office, festooned as they are with the undergrowth of his financial fecundity and the florid canopy of his love affairs. Hattersley emerges from this rainforest exhausted, to be faced with the remaining 23 years of Lloyd George’s life, for he was only 59 when he fell irrevocably from power in 1922, and thereafter nothing important happened.

18/09/2010

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The Sunday Times

Dominic Sandbrook

...he offers no new evidence, has no fresh insights and rarely pauses for analysis. After recounting his subject’s death, he summarises his career in just four sentences. Still, it is refreshing to read a book on Britain’s last Liberal prime minister that devotes more attention to his budget reforms than to his love life, and that skilfully re-creates a lost world in which church politics or women’s suffrage could bring thousands onto the streets.

12/09/2010

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The Guardian

Miranda Seymour

Hatttersley's book, while lucid, fluent and historically correct, falls short of perfection on several counts. Over-reliant on familiar material, it shows scant concern for possible angles from which new light might illuminate a complex individual … a sour-voiced biography that, sadly, promises more than it delivers.

02/10/2010

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