The masterly biography of one of the most fascinating men of the nineteenth century, Benjamin Disraeli, concentrating on his long and interesting private life: written by, according to A. N. Wilson, ‘our outstanding popular historian’.
Superb politician, orator, writer and wit, Benjamin Disraeli was – according to Queen Victoria – ‘the kindest Minister’ she had ever had, who ‘reached the top of the greasy pole’ [in his own words] despite considerable antisemitism. He enjoyed many scandalous affairs before marrying a widow twelve years older than himself – an extremely eccentric woman to whom he remained deeply and touchingly devoted for the rest of his life.
Disraeli had never intended to be a politician. He had begun his astonishing career by working unenthusiastically in a lawyer’s office; he had tried unsuccessfully to found a newspaper; he had written a novel which lay unproductively in the publisher’s office. A conspicuous dandy, sprightly, attentive and witty, he was attractive to women, enjoying many liaisons until he contracted a venereal disease in a St James’s Street brothel.