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W&N History/Biography HB July £25.00 360pp 978 0 297 86097 6 ebook: £25.00 978 0 297 86098 3

‘Never complain, never explain’ Benjamin Disraeli

W&N Non-Fiction/Biography • July 2013

DOUGLAS HURD EDWARD YOUNG Disraeli, or, The Two Lives A lively and provocative reappraisal one of our most celebrated Prime Ministers. A superb politician, orator, writer and wit, Disraeli (1804–1881) was the most gifted parliamentarian of his time, who twice rose to become Prime Minister. Yet how was it that this bankrupt Jewish school dropout and bestselling novelist came to exert such a hold on the Victorian Conservative Party, a hold which continues to the present? Hurd and Young disentangle this and the many other paradoxes that characterised Disraeli’s life. Disraeli brought enough drama, wit and imagination to politics that, 200 years after his birth, our leaders still borrow from his quotations – such as ‘two nations’ or ‘the greasy pole’. But this, the authors passionately argue, points to the central problem that engulfs today’s politics: the book ends with a biting critique of the current political arena. Perhaps we have lost confidence in our politicians because they have lost confidence in themselves, and are too timid to say interesting things. At the heart of Disraeli’s beliefs lay the thought that imagination and courage are the indispensable components of political greatness. That conviction, rather than a particular bill, book, speech, treaty or quotation, is the real legacy of Benjamin Disraeli. Douglas Hurd was Secretary of State for Northern Ireland, Home Secretary and Foreign Secretary. He is the author of several novels and works of history including a highly acclaimed biography of Robert Peel.

Edward Young has worked as a speech writer for David Cameron and as Chief of Staff to the Conservative Party Chairman. Disraeli is his third book in collaboration with Lord Hurd.

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Location: London and Oxfordshire Available for Interview