British Political Leaders: A Biographical Dictionary

eBook Title for Download :British Political Leaders: A Biographical Dictionary (Format : chm , Language : English)

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From Library Journal

Laybourn (history, Univ. of Huddersfield, Yorkshire, England) has written many books on modern British political history (e.g., Modern Britain Since 1906). This tightly structured dictionary of political leaders begins with Walpole in 1721 and contains 366 entries, covering all prime ministers, chancellors of the exchequer, foreign and home secretaries up to Tony Blair's administration, and the four secretaries of state for the American Colonies. Family information is kept to a minimum; one learns from which seat the leader was elected and his or her political opinions and party and governmental roles but little family detail beyond the names of parents and spouses. Laybourn is mostly objective. The rise and fall of political parties and of British fortunes are reflected through the (generally) men in charge of the empire on which the sun once never set. Modern leaders get a little more ink than their predecessors. Perhaps too dry for public libraries but recommended for academic libraries, where the relatively short entries would best serve undergraduates. Robert Moore, Parexel, Waltham, MA Copyright 2001 Reed Business Information, Inc.


This volume offers serious Anglophiles 198 entries covering the British leaders who filled "the top four offices of state and the post of secretary of state for the colonies between 1730 and the present," the four top offices being prime minister, chancellor of the exchequer, foreign secretary, and home secretary. Arrangement of entries is alphabetical, either by name or by title depending on how the individual was best known. For example, Benjamin Disraeli is listed under his given name, not as the Earl of Beaconsfield. In cases where official titles have evolved over the centuries, the editors have, for the sake of consistency, used the modern title. Thus, all prime ministers are listed as such, even though the post was once referred to as First Lord of the Treasury.

Entries range in length from just under half of a page for Richard Ryder, home secretary from 1809 to 1812, to almost five pages for Tony Blair. Each individually signed biography concludes with a list of the main sources used in its preparation. For general background information, especially regarding lesser-known figures, the editors relied on The Dictionary of National Biography and Dod's Parliamentary Companion, among other standard British biography reference sources. A comprehensive bibliography appears at the end of the book. Also provided is a "Chronological List of Leaders by Cabinet Office." A small number of black-and-white illustrations accompanies the text.

The volume does an admirable job of pulling together concise biographies of Great Britain's leaders since the early decade of the sixteenth century and presenting them in straightforward prose. It will be a welcome addition to the reference collections of libraries serving researchers with deep interest in British history, politics, and government. However, libraries that do not see heavy traffic in this area may find that sources such as general encyclopedias will serve well enough. RBBCopyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved

Author(s) Book :Keith Laybourn
Publish Year :2001 Publisher :
You can check by ISBN10/ISBN13 : 1576070433/9781576070437
Pages :363

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