Palmerston A Biography David Brown

Publication date:
15 May 2012
Yale University Press
584 pages: 235 x 156mm
30 b-w illus.
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A grand and fascinating figure in Victorian politics, the charismatic Lord Palmerston (1784-1865) presided over a period of great political and social change. He served as foreign secretary for fifteen years and prime minister for nine, engaged in struggles with everyone from the Duke of Wellington to Lord John Russell to Queen Victoria and Prince Albert, engineered the defeat of the Russians in the Crimean War, and played a major role in the development of liberalism and the Liberal Party.

This comprehensive biography, informed by unprecedented research in the statesman's personal archives, gives full weight not only to Palmerston's foreign policy achievements, but also to his domestic political activity, political thought, life as a landlord, and private life and affairs. Through the lens of the period, the book pinpoints for the first time the nature and extent of Palmerston's contributions to the making of modern Britain.

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Read an extract from Palmerston by David Brown on Yale's blog

David Brown is senior lecturer in modern history, University of Strathclyde. He lives in Glasgow.

"Brown is a superb writer and his Palmerston ought to be required reading for all students of 19th-century political history."—Amanda Foreman, Financial Times

"Rich, thoughtful... rewarding... surely the definitive life"—Ferdinand Mount, Times Literary Supplement

"Brown's scrupulous research recreates the vitality of the Whig governing tradition in its Victorian heyday. He brings alive Palmerston's mental landscape... This will be the standard biography of the man."—Rohan McWilliam, History Today

"The book contains much of value, and I emerged from it... closer to understanding this extraordinary man."—Paul Johnson, Spectator

"A hefty, statesman like life of the 19th-century prime minister."—Joy Lo Dico, The Independent on Sunday

"Brown has done a wonderful job capturing the life of a truly remarkable man."— The Good Book Guide